Saturday, March 20th 2010

Gig time came. We headed across the river, back through the wide streets of Novi Beograd, at first just us and then later joining ever increasing crowds of people on their way to the massive arena. It was going to be awesome.

We had two spare tickets. Someone at the hostel had put us in touch with someone they knew who was looking for a ticket. We'd spoken to this person, Nikola, on the phone, and he'd offered us 1000 dinar each for the tickets. Face value was 3000 so we decided we'd try to sell them at the venue and see if we got some more. When we were outside, with huge throngs of Balkan metallers swirling around, I slightly wondered if I should have taken Nikola's offer. I've never managed to tout tickets successfully even in London, so trying to cut deals in Serbia was not going to be easy.

In the end we sorted things out pretty quickly. There were plenty of people asking for tickets, and my only mistake was picking someone who was pretty wired and didn't speak English. We had a haphazard negotiation, a brief tussle when he tried to take the tickets from me without letting go of his cash, a short misunderstanding when he thought I was also selling my own ticket, and then the deal was sorted. We headed in before anyone else tried to forcibly buy our tickets from us.

The Lisbon crowd had been quite well managed, but here it was boisterous, and the security was heavy handed. The entrance to the cheap part of the arena was overcrowded, and it took us a long time to get in. At one point the security had started shoving people around, and I thought it was going to get violent. Luckily the moment passed, and we made it in. We missed all of Combichrist's set, but I'd seen a bit of them in Lisbon and I thought they were really, really poor, so I was not upset.

The gig was pretty much as awesome as the Lisbon show had been. The explosions were all well-timed this time, and I could see that it was all running smoothly. The only slight disappointments were that they didn't play "Liebe ist für alle da" or "Seemann", which had both been awesome in Lisbon. But it was still an incredible show. We were close enough to the front to get pretty hot from all the flamethrowers, and we weren't even in the "Fan Pit", the front third of the floor where tickets had been twice as expensive.

After the show we poured back out onto the streets of Novi Beograd. The next morning Sam got a train to Budapest for a few more days of travelling. I flew home, to another few days of 15 hour stints in the office. But it had definitely been worth coming.

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