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NOTE: if you think there are a lot of photos here ... Ferhad Junior hogged the camera all weekend, and took over 1000 photos! It was hard enough to get him to cut them down to these ones, let alone getting him to cut them down any further. They're also in some random order that makes sense to the young giraffe, even if they don't make sense to the rest of us.
Ferhad Junior just had his GREATEST WEEKEND EVER! Regular readers of our site will know that Ferhad Junior is a HUGE Xavier Rudd fan, so you can imagine how excited our youngest giraffe was to have a Xavier Rudd Road Trip. It started on Friday night with a gig at Auckland's Powerstation, where we had to sneak Ferhad Junior in because he is under 18. Rebek is under 18 as well, but he's is quite, err, well fed, so he can usually get in without being asked for ID.
We saw Xavier play at the Powerstation a couple of years ago, and that was fantastic, but, to quote Ferhad Junior this gig was "totes amazeballs phantasmagorically awesomeness". We have seen Xavier play eight times before this (in New Zealand and Australia) and this was the best gig ever. It was his first time in New Zealand with a three piece band, and after so many years as a solo performer you could really tell he loved sharing the stage. Uncle Tio Moloantoa and Bobby Alu (who are both amazing) brought incredible energy to the stage, and the trio blasted the crowd off its feet.
As a huge Xavier fan, Ferhad Junior has wanted to learn the yidaki for a while, but wasn't sure about the cultural implications of an African learning such a sacred Aboriginal instrument. After Friday night watching Bobby Alu, he doesn't need to worry … as now he wants to be a drummer instead. Or a bass guitarist. The talent on that stage was staggering, so combine that with the deep awesomeness and strength of these three humans and it is no wonder that we animals (and our human) all had the best night we have had since, well, since seeing Xavier at the Kings Arms Tavern (yes, we smuggled Ferhad Junior in then as well) a couple of years ago.
Ferhad Junior learnt a new word at this gig; ironic. The last song of the night was Xavier's most powerful and deeply spiritual song, Spirit Bird. When we saw him play at the Waihi Beach Hotel a couple of years ago to a crowd of surfers and beach goers (Xavier and Ferhad Junior are both surfers), Ferhad Junior was horrified that the humans did not give this beautiful song the respect it deserved.
We animals and the other humans in the front few rows did, but the rest of the crowd yahooed and carried on like drunken idiots all through this beautiful song. It was so disrespectful that Ferhad Junior nearly died of embarrassment on behalf of such shameful humans.
At the Powerstation Ferhad Junior had expected to be horrified, once again, by the disrespect of the crowd as the gig was in a Big City, and for the first few lines he was right. But them someone called out "Show some respect" and the entire venue stopped talking and listened. Dover explained to Ferhad Junior that this was ironic; when a group of city dwellers showed more respect to a surfer, humanitarian, and environmental activist than a group of, well, surfers did.
Leaving Auckland for Taupo on Saturday morning, our human was pretty sure she knew the way, but decided to follow Daniel's directions. Daniel is our GPS. By the time our human realised that Daniel was lost, she was lost as well, so had to just follow him. Instead of taking us straight down Highway 1, Daniel made us turn left, and then turn left, and then turn left, and then turn left, and then turn left, then turn right, and then turn left … and we ended up coming into Cambridge from a really weird direction. Still, we drove on some lovely small roads, and saw places we'd never seen before, so it was certainly a scenic trip.
In Taupo we had tickets for Wanderlust, a world-wide festival of yoga, spirituality, and music whose website describes the event as an "all-out, ecstatic celebration", "weaving together an experience that surprises and delights". Their aim is to provide "an opportunity to unplug from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary", so we thought, yay, this will be a wonderful gathering together of good people, into yoga, and Mother Earth, and peace, and love, and respect. Let's go!
Xavier, Uncle Tio, and Bobby Alu were the headline act, and Ferhad Junior nearly exploded in apoplectic delight when he heard that Nahko Bear and the Medicine People would be there as well. We saw them supporting Xavier at Luna Park in Sydney in 2013, and they were also “totes amazeballs”. Ferhad Junior usually thinks girls are icky, but I think he developed little bit of a crush on Hope Medford for a while.
Nahko and his band played before Xavier and his band … and we wondered how much excitement one small giraffe (and the rest of us) could have in one day! And it wasn't just the music ... for two giraffes so concerned about conservation and the environment, it was a wonderful gathering of lovely humans dedicated to the same. Check out this funky artwork the humans did with stuff they gathered from the woods.
Of course, the music was what Ferhad Junior was most excited about ...
On Sunday morningwe spent a fabulous hour with Xavier Rudd and the sort of humans that Wanderlust attracts … truly enlightened people who cared about the planet, other people, and the future. Ferhad Junior had about two hours' worth of questions, but Kaz made him cull them down to just two. Which Xavier spent about 15 minutes answering, so Ferhad Junior was delighted.
After Xavier's set we had a quick chat with him (Ferhad Junior nearly DIED!) and mentioned that we were trying to fundraise for the Jamarri Cockatoo Sanctuary in Australia after seeing a call out for funds on Xavier's Facebook page. We asked him if he would sign some CDs for us that we could auction off, and he said he would love to. We also had a Set List that we had asked a roadie for the night before, because Ferhad Junior thought young people would think that was pretty cool. Unfortunately, we had left it back at our campsite, so after Xavier's talk we went back to get it, then had to go into town to buy some pens for him to sign the CDs, then we went back to the festival, and sweet talked our human into using more of her dole money (she's been looking for a job for over a year) to buy six CDs. It wasn't too hard … Rebek told her that her credit card is so many thousands of dollars overdrawn now, what's another hundred and twenty bucks? Bwa ha ha - she fell for it and bought the CDs! Silly human. But good news for the cockatoos!
We all have our paws and hooves crossed that Xavier will play at Wanderlust 2016. If he does, we'll be there!
Xavier closed the festival with a stunningly beautiful acoustic set, and thankfully it was more Good People like those who were at his morning talk that attended this session. A truly magical and spellbinding experience that touched the souls of every human there and, of course, two giraffes, a donkey, and a hedgehog; a breathtakingly beautiful way to finish off our amazing Xavier Rudd Road Trip weekend.
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