Fire, Water & Music

A little while ago I was taking pictures at a corporate event taking place in a yacht club on the outskirts of Moscow. It was sort of a last-minute gig for me and I got there with only a vague idea of the day’s programme. I knew there would be a small regatta on the Moscow Canal and then a dinner with live music.  Little did I know how lively the live music would be!

A group of young musicians walked into the tensile structure where the guests were having dinner. It was a sort of a marching band, with everyone dressed like Will Smith in Men in Black. Inside a few drum tripods and cymbals were waiting, with a plastic sheet on the floor behind them. Probably because having walked on the grass, their shoes might be solid, I thought. They played their drums while their marched into position, with a faster and faster rhythm. And then they stopped playing.

Two guys on the left got rid of their drums and started getting things out of a nearby bag I hadn’t noticed before. First they donned some sort of gas mask and then they reached for what looked like guns, while the lights went out. All of a sudden I was thinking of a different movie: Point Break, where people all of a sudden don masks, get guns and rob everyone.

The lights stayed mostly off, but short flash-like bursts of light started to illuminated a pretty surreal scene. The inside of the “gas masks” was illuminated by green LEDs and the two guys on the left were actually grinding on old rusty rim wheels with circular saws, amid a shower of sparks.


Meanwhile the drums had gotten covered in water (to this day I am not sure exactly how that had happened) and when the players started pounding on them the water began to fly everywhere.

It was a delightful show, very entertaining and masterfully executed, with all the musicians drenched in water and with their eyes closed because of the sparks, but they never missed a beat.

What to me was very surprising (to the point that I was almost tempted to put this post in the “Culture Shock” category) is that all of the above was not happening on a stage, but rather just a meter or two from the tables where the guests were having dinner. Needless to say the closest one got mote than a few water drops on them. There was no firemen to be seen anywhere (in Europe with the hyper-stringent safety laws it would have probably been necessary to enlist a battalion of them for such a show!) and to me the level of nonchalance is symbolised by the light technician, who keeps on using his MacBook Pro, about half a meter behind the curtain of water and sparks.


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