We scheduled our trip to La Paz in time for a historical event, ACCEPT’s first time in Bolivia! It’s been a long time since we’ve been so excited for a show. For me, it kind of felt when I was young and going to my first metal gigs… It probably has to do with the fact that it was our first time seeing ACCEPT and we never thought we’d see them live one day!
We started the evening by doing some pre-drinking at a nearby bar. The promoter had told me a few days before that there was not going to be any alcohol at the venue, so of course we wanted to warm ourselves up before the gig! We found some beer called JUDAS, which seemed perfectly fitting for metal. In fact, this beer is quite the treacherous kind… it tastes like a nice bitter ale, but it’s 7% and it kicks in like hell. We had a few until we felt good, and then walked to the venue.
We thought we were going to miss a part of the first band, but surprise! When we arrived, there was still an hour of wait. I should have known, it’s always like this in South America haha… anyway, we started talking to some people that were waiting in line, and before we knew it – cans of beers started to come out! Some girl played ACCEPT songs from her cell phone, others were headbanging. We even saw a really drunken guy wanting to start fights with everyone, including the security guards. It was like a heavy metal sidewalk! We couldn’t resist and bought some more beer… the excitement was definitely in the air.
An hour and a half later, the doors opened. We entered and got searched intensely by scary looking army-clad policemen, which finally let us through after looking recklessly for drugs or weapons. The venue was weird, it was a real cinema and was covered with rug. (Imagine the rug burns from falling in the pit!) I think there were maybe 700 people inside. It was a weird crowd; you saw a lot of short haired boys, men in business suits, latinas – but also many real dirty headbangers.
To our great surprise, we were quite happy to learn that there were no opening bands, only ACCEPT. Unfortunately, they were missing their second guitarist Herman due to a bad fall that punctured one of his lungs and broke a few ribs… I’m sure it would have been better with two guitarists, but it was really good anyway!
The show started with Teutonic Terror, one of the best songs from their new album. Then, it went into Bucket Full of Hate, Starlight and Breaker. Mark, the new vocalist, seriously did a good job of fronting the band and replacing Udo. I think ACCEPT got really lucky by finding this guy! His vocals fitted perfectly with the old classics and he was really energetic, but thanks to the high altitude, he had to breathe in some oxygen from time to time. Crazy!
Anyway, after this, they played New World Coming from the last album, Restless and Wild (I went fucking insane for this one!), Monsterman from Metal Heart, Metal Heart (with a huge guitar solo), Amamos la Vida (a power ballad), Neon Nights, Bulletproof, Losers and Winners, Aiming High, Princess of the Dawn (with really long solos), Up to the Limit, and finally No Shelter.
François and myself both agreed that there were a bit too many solos, but that’s what bands from the late 70’s/early 80’s do – and I guess, that’s what people except, so it was fine. I just didn’t want to stop banging my head!!
The band finished with three encores, Fast as a Shark (ARGHHH!!!!!!), Pandemic (another song from their last album), and incontestably Balls to the Wall. As you can see, they played most of their classics, as well as more obscure songs; which fitted very well with the new songs. They even did their cool Judas Priest style guitar moves (as seen in the Balls to the Wall videoclip) which left me totally starstroked!!
After the gig, we found the same guys we drank beer with while waiting in line, and asked them what they were doing. They said they were going to the Manzana (“Apple”, a rock bar) to have a few beers. We followed them to a dark alley that was packed with sweaty metalheads, and entered a tiny bar blasting classics from Maiden, Halloween, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and of course, ACCEPT. We drank some more beer, and then stumbled back to our hostel, very much satisfied.
The next day, we went to ACCEPT’s hotel for an interview with the band, where I met one of my heroes…
Gaby also made it possible for me to interview Mark, the new vocalist. Here is the interview we did, full of fresh news from the band! Please remember that I was extremely hungover on that morning haha. Enjoy!
Now, more about La Paz, Bolivia: We’ve been here for around 10 days, and we really enjoy this city. It’s different from everywhere we’ve been; if you need something – anything – you can find it on the streets, sold by old women in traditional costumes. You can find anything from stockings to band-aids, fossils and tv’s.
The people here talk three languages mostly; Spanish, Aymara and Quechua. The women are kind of cold, but once you get to know them they open up a bit. Maybe they’re sick of tourists or something haha. Anyway, we saw a whole bunch of ’em at a demonstration a few days ago:
The city itself is located extremely high, at 3660 meters above sea level. It is on a plateau, surrounded by mountains. The rich people live lower, and the poor people live in the mountains – hoping one day to reach the bottom. We had a bit of problems with the altitude; sometimes we felt like we had a body flu with big headaches and loss of appetite. I personally had to take some medicine (Diamox) which made me almost blind after a day of use! I stopped using it right away and got my vision back in three days. Scary!
We visited one of the coolest parts of La Paz, the witches market! It’s actually a bunch of stores and stalls that sell goods for Aymara rituals.
You can find tons of things; amulets, good luck charms, candles that will bring back your libido, real stuffed frogs and…. the infamous llama fetuses! Apparently, they come from miscarriages or if somebody cuts open a llama for food and finds a fetus by mistake. They are burned and buried in the foundation of homes in Bolivia to bring luck to the household. I read that a good majority of construction workers don’t even want to work on a home if there were no fetus sacrificed!
We also found a metal shop, which was actually not too bad! They sold a good selection of underground and more popular metal records. They also had some patches, shirts and metal accessories:
As for food, as we were quite sensitive for a while (the water is undrinkable, and the hygiene is sketchy here), we cooked most of our meals. We did try a few things around though, of course!
Ok, that’s all for now! We’re staying in La Paz for 5 more days, and then going 1000 mts lower to Sucre. Should be easier hehe. Cheers!