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The Riptide Movement's Diary From Delhi
Drummer Gar Byrne's firsthand account of his band's unforgettable trip to India...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 31 Oct 2012
Sitting at a set of lights all wide eyed and bewildered looking at a kid of about four banging his little hands off the window looking for some cash, Mal puts his hand in his pocket and rolls down the window, hands him 500 rupees, roughly seven euro. If only you could see the face on this kid, it was like he won the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! Suddenly it dawns on him how much money it is and he’s gone! The car gets swarmed by kids all banging on the window, in the distance we can see the kid giving the money to his parents, his mother picks him up and twirls him around and his father gets down on his knees to pray to Allah or Ganesh or Shiva! Who knows? But Mal made their day/week/month/year.
Get picked up by Katie from the Irish Embassy for our first gig in Café Morrison. We go and get set up sound check, delighted to be playing. Gigging in a different country puts you in a better position then being a tourist, the locals let you in, they treat you better, music connects everyone. Foreign, black, white, gay, straight, religion, it doesn’t matter. Only the song matters. We buy four kurtas traditional Indian gowns worn on special occasions and weddings for the festival on Sunday in a shop next to the venue.
Show time. We get on stage to a pretty full bar, not knowing how our music will go down. So we jump into the unknown and open with 'Warming Up The Band'. They go bananas before running amuck for the whole gig.
Picked up by Katie and brought on a shoot with photographer Angad, an absolute gent who brings us into Connaught Place in Old Delhi. Katie left us with him and within ten seconds some bloke is cleaning Gerry’s ears out with a needle. As you do.
Two days before Mal had commented that “these fuckers would live in your ear if they could” and they’re now literally making a living from Gerry’s ears! Old Delhi is in bits, it reminds me of The Book of Eli.
We venture into a sitar shop, where the guy is hand-making an instrument as his daddy before him and his daddy before him and... There’s pictures of John, Paul, George and Ringo standing exactly where we are back in 1967.