As fate would have it, I found myself at the Eels show at Mao Livehouse a couple hours ago. Only the Eels never arrived. Or at least their instruments never arrived- and a band without instrument does not put on much of a show.
I was ticketed to fly to Beijing but after waiting inside a plane on the tarmac for two-and-a-half hours I hopped off it, grabbed a cab and tried to make my way to the Eels show at the new Mao Livehouse venue in Shanghai.
On the plane, we were told severe weather conditions in Beijing prevented our departure. Sitting and eating my pasta and mystery meat (well, not eating the latter) and trying to eat the thin yogurt with a spork, it did not take me long to jump up after China Eastern finally announced that passengers had a choice to depart... and cancel or exchange their flight.
With a rash of cancellations from Shanghai, the prices for tomorrow's flights to Beijing are all conspicuously high. Curiously, prices to neighboring Tianjin and Shijiazhuang- where one might have thought cancellations would also be in effect- were dirt cheap and I will apparently be taking a commuter route in the morning.
The afternoon trip to the airport had been quite a bit of trouble. First, I took the wrong subway on Line 10- Line 10, the airport subway, forks and only some of the trains actually make it to the airport. Next, I had to deal with security. Every time I go through airport security in China, they have a new set of rules. Last time, they confiscated by liquid bandages. This time, my alchohol swabs. Makes it pretty damn hard to be a prepared traveler.
I don't think this is unique to China- air travellers worldwide have a pretty shitty deal now. Society seems quite willing to compound the impact and fear created by terrorism.
When I got to the Eels show at around 11:15, there was a note on the big screen that stating the band would be taking the stage after midnight.
That proved to be optimistic; when the gear still hadn't arrived at 12:35, a tour staffer came out and announced that the band was there waiting the whole time but the concert would have to be canceled.
I'm curious to know if the equipment was supposed to arriving from Beijing, where the band played the other day; if so, the cancellation- while unfortunate- would have been out of the promoter's control. I know it was raining in Beijing but I haven't to find out anything more about it from the news
All in all, a shame. I like the Eels. It would have been fantastic to see them in Shanghai, China.
I feel for local promoters... they have to go through all the hassle and expense of bringing a band out from abroad for a relatively small number of performances, try to get them cleared through the authorities, wait till the last minute to start ticket sales in order to ensure that visas and/or the performance are approved... then something comes along like rain or whatever and throws a deep screw in the system.
Life is hard/ And so am I/ You'd better give me something/ So I don't die/ Novocaine for the soul Before I sputter out.