I absolutely love going to concerts, but a few weeks ago, if you had told me I’d be going to see Ethiopia’s biggest star live, I wouldn’t have believed you. It all came about so randomly…I had heard about the show from another volunteer and had been on the fence about going until I got a call from a friend, asking if I could buy him a ticket. That’s what decided it for me…I figured if I was going to figure out how to buy a ticket for someone else, I might as well get one for myself as well!
Two days before the concert I made my way to the Haile to buy our tickets and I learned they’d cost 120 birr…a little steep here, but the equivalent of 6.67 in American dollars – making this one of the cheapest shows I’ve been to!
Saturday came and the volunteers began to trickle in. My favourite part about that afternoon? Lacy telling me she needed to come to my house early so she could use my shower and shave her legs for Teddy : ) So she arrived, we got all dolled up, and headed out to meet up with the rest of the volunteers.
We met up with everyone for drinks and dinner at a restaurant around the corner from the stadium. The concert schedule said that a dj would start at 3:00, the opener would be on at 6:00, and Teddy would take the stage at 7:00. We planned to get to the stadium sometime between 5:30 and 6:00, but this is Peace Corps and we live in Ethiopia, so we didn’t make it there until 7:00.
That turned out not to be a problem because it took over two hours for Teddy Afro to begin. Those of you living in Ethiopia aren’t surprised by this fact! In the meantime, the dj played mostly American music (and yes, the Ethiopians knew more of the lyrics to popular American songs than I did – those of you living in America aren’t surprised by this fact!).
During this time, we stood in a crowd of hundreds (thousands?), thankful for the sprinkling rain that kept the temperature at a reasonable level. Occasionally the technicians would turn the lights on to tease the audience into thinking the show might be starting soon. We quickly started to believe the show would never actually begin…
But our fears were unfounded, and at 9:00, Teddy started his show. There was a massive surge as everyone rushed to the stage and I soon realized that I was the only white person I could see…I had been separated from the rest of my group. But for the first time in five months, the colour of my skin didn’t matter, I was just one of the masses, caught up in the awesomeness that is a Teddy Afro concert.
Teddy played for over an hour, had a brief intermission, and then returned to the stage for another hour. We thought he was finished, but no…then there was an encore. It was a never-ending show, but it was great. We finally got out of there around midnight and made our way back to my place, only to learn that my landlord had locked the gate. But don’t worry…we woke him up and he let us in : ) Izoh – and that’s how my night with Teddy Afro ended.