Several months back, I was roped into purchasing tickets to the impending Aerosmith concert. I was hesitant to finalize the booking, because Steven Tyler struck me as little more than an aged rockstar, who had reinvigorated his career by making creepy comments on American Idol. Nonetheless, my better half dissuaded me from making preemptive judgments and we bought two tickets to a concert that I would’ve overlooked on most days.
The concert venue was La Plata Stadium – almost a two hour journey from where I reside. Since public transport is notorious for taking longer than expected in Capital Federal, I left work at approximately 2pm to arrive at the bus station by 3:25pm.
Once we disembarked from the subte, we quietly hustled through the hawkers and shoppers of Retiero – an area characterized by a multitude of smells ranging from empanadas to sun-baked urine. It’s one of those places where English speakers (or accented Spanish-speakers) should keep quiet to avoid being noticed.
In Argentina, a visit to the bus station normally coincides with frantic running as you try to find out which platform your bus will be departing from. Your ticket gives you a vague window of ten possibilities and you are left stranded in uncertainty, waiting on a suspended TV screen to indicate the correct platform. Our number appeared on the screen and we shot away to platform 64, where we joined the queue behind about ten other people.
Time Traveling to La Plata
After becoming an expert at Blackberry’s answer to Arkanoid, we arrived in La Plata to a community trapped in a giant time capsule. The absence of ATMs put us in the precarious position of only having 40 Pesos (about $10) for lunch. Fortunately, almost all La Plata homeowners had converted their stoops into Chori Pan (Argentine hotdog) stands. We were forced to wash down our the crusty chori pans with warm Pepsi, because no one seemed to have any beer – a notable anomaly given that a major rock band was only a few hours from performing.
Entering the Stadium
La Plata Stadium serves as testament to the architectural heritage of Buenos Aires. Walking through the entrance, I was immediately taken by its magnitude and the intricate design of the roof. While admiring the stadium, I noticed that the stage had been invaded by a largely forgettable band attempting to imitate Steven Tyler. The departure of this ensemble of unoriginality was met by a uniform sigh of relief from the steadily growing crowd.
Aerosmith was scheduled to play at 10pm and they milked every minute to soak the crowd in anxiety. They covered the stage with a giant black sheet and performed their first song from behind this screen – leaving the entire audience in goose-necked desperation to sneak a peak at the infamous lead singer. After the first song, the giant sheet dropped and Tyler stormed straight into the next track with the intensity of a man half his age. Charisma is a rare gift and Tyler has it in such abundance that the band members of Cold Play must be questioning the fairness of the universe.
It was easy to see why the band has enjoyed such longevity. As the fulcrum of the show, Tyler shared the limelight by affording each musician a long solo. The show, which flashed by in seconds, served as a reminder that time is a relative concept.
Aerosmith played the traditional encore and the end of the show marked the commencement of a mad rush to exits. While crushed between a wall and the departing gut of an aging metal head, I had flashbacks to the German stadium stampede and this renewed my drive to get the hell out of there. We were eventually spat out of the exit tunnel with a relieved groan and we made our way to the bus stop. After a short fight about jumping the queue, we hopped onto the bus and returned to the city with a heightened appreciation for geriatric rock stars.