Zamani Flamenco at Qwest Field: A Somewhat Lengthy Account of Flamenco, Reduced Calorie Beverages, and the World’s Most Pungent French Fries
posted in performance on august 6th, 2009
So. For those of you who have fallen behind on your Zamani Flamenco Internet Stalking, here’s the latest: last night we played a pre-game show for the sold-out Seattle Sounders FC vs FC Barcelona game at Qwest field. This had the potential to be either very cool (i.e. free swag, widespread adulation, after-game hot tub parties with bikini-clad fangirls) or outright mayhem (i.e. Barcelonés soccer hooligans coming at us with broken bottles for playing a too-uptempo fandangos).
As it turns out, it was cool. Not very cool, but pretty cool all the same. Swag there was—we all got Sounders/FCB match scarves – and, though I didn’t catch any bikinis, there were plenty of enthusiastic fans. "Plenty" being in the neighborhood of 67,000. The organizers also threw in tickets to the game and VIP parking passes (I knew this last bit was important, but I only realized how important it was once we got there).
Most importantly, though, the gig was a lot of fun. We were set up under the "Bud Light" tent (more on this later) and pretty much had free reign to do what we wanted. We played in the "pavilion" at the entrance to the stadium (after the ticket gates), so once people were in the park they were free to linger, find their seats, or go get some garlic fries (more on these later, too).
This meant that our audience was by and large transient (erm, in the sense of "on the move" – not "homeless"). At any given time, though, there were anywhere between 25 to 50 people gathered around. And of course, some people just walked by. This was a good thing, though: it meant that the people who made up our audience were actually interested enough to spend a few minutes and check out what we were up to.
Which few minutes, by the way, almost invariably involved a picture. We weren’t allowed to shoot video, but there were lots of fans doing it. And lots of still shots. Our own fearless friend Aaron Miller (a.k.a. Mr. Marta) took some shots from my camera (which follow); the perspicacious Tom Wallace was also there with his camera (i.e. a real camera) – I’ll hopefully post some of those soon.
All this talk of photos, however, brings me to the "Bud Light" tent. Behold:
Now, I won’t badmouth the Bud Light folks – they’re the reason we got paid – but I fear to think what will happen when all those good sports fans download these pics from their cameras a fortnight hence. This is the dialogue I imagine: "What are these pics from?" "The Sounders Barcelona match." "Oh yeah – that flamenco group. What were they called?" "I dunno – Bud Light Flamenco?"
I’m pretty sure that’s the way it will go down. I know these things. Perhaps we might discuss a name change … erm … ew – or maybe not. Here, here are some more pics to chase that nasty image from your mind:
Oddly enough, a good number of people actually wanted pictures with us after our show, too ( two guys with a full size Spanish flag were particularly hilarious). Despite this widespread digital voyeurism, however, there were at least a few people that seemed to appreciate the art of what we were doing. During our alegria, for instance, Dani spotted an older fellow who was actually singing along with the cante. As in, he knew all the words. We had some other folks doing palmas too (though not always all that well) and lots of cheering (some jaleo-esque, some pure sports fan – but whatever, it was all good).
In any case, it all made for a fun time. We wrapped our set up about 15 minutes before the start of the match, stowed our gear, and made our way to our seats. If you’re curious, here’s what a full stadium looks like from where we were sitting:
Close to the field we were not, but given what we paid for the tickets (i.e. nothing) there were no complaints from us. The trek to our seats, however, brings me to the topic of garlic fries. We smelled them as we were making our way up the creepily bovine ramp to the upper reaches. After we were all situated, Dani, Marta, Mr. Marta and I headed down to investigate this savory temptation. All I have to say is that they were not so much "garlic fries" as "garlic with fries." I’m no stranger to the clove, but these things were not for the weak spirited.
The fries, however, I mention only for this: Zanbaka noted (on our trek up) that we always seem to play at places that serve garlic fries: first the Northside Grill, then Kristos Eastlake, and now Qwest Field. Another name change possibility, perhaps? It would be odd, yes, but I gotta say I like the ring of it better than the other one.
By way of wrapping things up, if you don’t know already, the Sounders got completely trounced by Barcelona. This was not unexpected – Barcelona is said to be the best team in the world at the moment. It was a noble effort, though, and, massacre that it was, I was glad to be there to see it.
Now enough marathon-blog-post-reading: go play!