Incubus live in SA – Through the eyes of a die hard
by Navina Nadar
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a die-hard fan seeing one of their favourite bands live for the first time? If you are one of those people who’s already experienced that, you’ll know that there are absolutely no words. Just tear-filled eyes and heartfelt shrieks of glee that deafens the atmosphere all around you. When you’re a die-hard, it’s just you, present with the band. Everything else seems to fall away.
When I first became a fan of the alternative band Incubus, I never thought I’d ever get to see them live in SA. I came to terms with the fact that I might have to take out a personal loan and journey to the UK or US to see them live. Fast-forward 16 years later, and thanks to We Are Live, I didn’t have to take out a personal loan. I got to see a band I’ve held so dear to my heart live in SA – not once but twice. Yes, I bought tickets to both the Johannesburg and Cape Town shows. So for those that missed out on seeing their shows, here’s what it was like seeing them live (in Pretoria and Cape Town) – through the eyes of a die-hard.
Voortrekker Monument is one of my favourite event venues. It’s very similar to ‘Red Rocks’ in the US, which set the perfect backdrop for Incubus’s set. Lights dimmed, the crowd began to cheer. All members were visible on stage, except for one – lead vocalist, Brandon Boyd. He emerged to the sound of rollicking screams and the intro to ‘Glitterbomb” from the band’s current album release ‘8’. Suddenly, it hit me. I’ve waited for this moment my whole life. And it was finally happening! Overwhelmed with immense joy, tears streamed down my face as I belted out the words to ‘Circles.’ A surprising choice for their setlist, but fans of Morning View (like me) reveled in sheer elation.
The rest of their set included crowd favourites like ‘Anna Molly’, ‘Megalomaniac’, ‘Stellar’ and of course ‘Wish You Were Here’, which deftly transitioned into a cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’. They also included another cover in their set, which really got the crowd dancing – 80s pop classic ‘Need You Tonight’ by INXS.
I was in my element. Not only were their cover versions so good, but they also showcased Brandon’s range and how dynamic his vocals really are. At times, it really sounded like you were listening to their studio albums because there isn’t anything to fault the band on live – instrumentally and vocally. And I’m not being biased. Pretty sure anyone who saw them live would agree with me too.
The Pretoria crowd were treated to two encores ‘Drive’ and ‘Warning’ A lot of die-hards complained that their set wasn’t long enough and that they omitted tracks like ‘Dig’, ‘Love Hurts’, ‘Are You In’, ‘Absolution Calling’, ‘Trust Fall’ and ‘Adolescents’. The Cape Town crowd, however, was treated to a longer setlist than the Pretoria crowd. Some of the CT highlights included ‘I Miss You’ and ‘Echo’. Seeing ‘I Miss You’ live was a completely cathartic experience to me, because it is undoubtedly one of my favourite Incubus tracks. And Brandon’s vocals left me in complete awe.
Brandon might not be your quintessential “rock vocalist” archetype. He just looks the part. He might not even have the most commanding stage presence either. But when he presses the microphone to his lips, his vocals command your attention. He is all passion and musicality intertwined with a deep sense of love and appreciation for what he does. You can see that he doesn’t view himself as the “star” of the band. To him, Incubus exists as a collective, musical entity where he and his friends get to travel the world and live out their “high school rock band” daydreams.
I was fortunate enough to have met Brandon while I was in Cape Town too. He hosted an exhibit with all his art pieces at Gallery One11. And even meeting him in person confirmed that he is all about his work. His demeanor was self-effacing, gracious and polite and we exchanged some lovely words. I also got to express my love for the band and the impact they’ve had on me over the course of my life. This may not be a big deal to some of you reading this, but anyone who knows me personally knows that my love for Incubus is pretty much on the same fan girl level of Bieber fans. I’m just not overtly expressive – but my ovaries did go into overdrive.
Experiencing Incubus live and meeting Brandon felt like a dream – and I didn’t want to wake up. After seeing them live twice, I have to admit; I would definitely see them live again. And if they don’t ever return to SA, well I just might have to take out that personal loan.
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