Soda Stereo – Buenos Aires (River Plate) 20 Oct 2007

The author is breaking from the normal guide type posts for this article to describe a concert with the Latin American phenomenon that is Soda Stereo.

I have long been a fan of English & German (language) rock but seldom heard Spanish rock until I met my Mexican partner. This weekend she introduced me to it in person so to speak!

We went to our first rock concert on Saturday 20 Oct 2007 in the River Plate football (soccer) stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina to see a group called Soda Stereo. They are a huge Argentine rock band from the 80s, I would guess a similar same size for Latin America as Queen were for the UK. They split up a good few years ago but reformed for a 2 month Latin American tour this year.

The gig was absolutely amazing…crazy but amazing. The night before our concert I heard there were 70,000 people present, I think estimates for the Sat night were at 75,000 … they certainly filled the whole stadium and the pitch!! It took I would guess an hour to get everyone out at the end, I think it was the biggest group of people I’ve ever seen in one place!!

The music was awesome, the crowd was crazy. We may have been a bit naive; we booked tickets on the pitch (‘Campo’) and tried to get as far forward as we could at the start. Mainly because it was cheapest, but also it has the best view and atmosphere … but it is where the crowd jumps (like a mosh pit) and the younger ones rush and push and surge from the back to get to the stage; a fact unknown to me at the time of booking!

At one point we were moving side to side by I would guess 5m and back to front by 3-4m. The pressure on the body was intense, you had zero space around you which is just as well or you would fall over, I spent a lot of the time trying to protect Nieves with my back and arms; she is smaller than my 95Kg and 1.85m metre frame (210lbs and 6ft for the not metric among you). By the time we left I could hardly walk I was so tired, and stiff like I had run 10 Kms the next morning!! I found a couple of videos on you tube so you can see a bit of what it was like:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BXHY-EkDsE The actual show we were at, we are about half way to the stage (maybe 3/4) from the filming point, so it is across the top of our heads, the movement isn’t shown much in this one but shows about 15-20% of the crowd.

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR1ZO7PY0bE This is an older show but shows the type of movement you get in some shots around 1m 15 secs in.

This song (La Musica Ligera) is probably one of the biggest 2 or 3 they perform and the whole crowd knew the words – I knew the sounds ;). The volume of 75,000 people singing at once is astounding, I heard it in my chest and then when Gustavo Ceratti (the lead singer) gives the signal  get going properly with a quick sole about 1 min in the crowd erupts…I couldn’t have stayed on the ground if I tried and basically spent 5 mins just trying to stay upright and keep breath in my chest – a humbling experience!

All in all it was amazing fun, at the time quite intimidating and scary but fun all the same, in hindsight I think if I was prepared for it we may have stayed in the bouncing section but with the two of us trying to stay together it would have been impossible and dangerous, without some there to serve as a buffer I’m also positive Nieves (and the other people smaller than myself) would have been crushed due to the size difference but we both enjoyed it.

I’m sure the scenario described above isn’t new to some of you guys but for me it was a first and breathtaking (literally at times!!).

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