Highway to hell


Yesterday we saw one of Vera’s friends play in a band. An all girl AC/DC cover band, who happened to be performing in a prison. This was definitely up there on the list of new experiences not to miss out on.

Prison, it turns out, is a scary place. I’ve not been to one before, which I guess is probably a good thing. We arrived, and explained we were here to see the band (clearly?), and we had to hand over our passports, mobile phones and camera. No actual search took place though, so I guessed that maybe this wasn’t the same sort of prison that you see in the movies, where I’d have been carrying crack cocaine for the inmates and some kind of cunning escape tools hidden, well, somewhere interesting.

What was pretty realistic looking were the walls and the barbed wire and the bars. The entry was a massive air lock style double door system, and when it closed behind you, well, you really felt locked in. Claustrophobia nagged.

We were taken to where the band was performing, through a maze of oppressive corridors, to a theatre like room, with rows of chairs. The prisoners were to sit in the chairs, no actual rocking out was going to be allowed. We were glamorously allowed backstage, to some rather dusty looking rooms, where a fine spread of salami sandwiches was provided. Beer, mysteriously, was not provided. Still, a free buffet in prison was not to be sniffed at.

The gig itself was pretty awesome, despite the having to sit down. We sat in the front two rows, which were allocated to non-prisoners, of which there were not many. Myself and Vera, the folks who arranged the actual gig and the sound engineer. It wasn’t actually open to the general public, for obvious reasons I assume. I’m not a massive AC/DC fan, but who couldn’t love watching some rock with five highly talented girls giving it their all whilst dressed in leather and fishnets?  

The guy who arranged the gig was quite an incredible character. A rocker from perhaps before the dawn of time, he had the classic rocker look down to a T. If Santa Claus had a brother, called Rocker Claus, this chap would have been he. He also rocked out for everyone, a one man mosh pit at the front of the stage. Virtual guitars were smashed in his hands. Imaginary stage dives were undertaken. Man, could he rock. Speaking to him after the gig was a quite surreal experience, as he mostly spoke German, but having spent a long time as a rocker in Liverpool in the sixties (fighting mods from what I could tell), whenever he did speak in English, it was with a broad scouse accent. Most odd.

After the gig the prisoners were all filed out. The cheering and standing ovation from the all male crowd, watching the all female act, was pretty impressive, although there was no apocalypse now stage invasion thing going on. No, it was all rather well behaved actually, and in fact I’ve never seen a room fill and empty in such an ordered fashion. Seeing a gig in prison has it’s benefits, although I’m not sure the incarcerated would entirely agree.

Everything was then packed away, the cars were loaded, and the prisoners who had been helping out were separated from the people who were allowed to leave, and put back inside the building and the key was turned, before we were escorted off the premises, through the giant double air lock, and back into society again. Fresh air tasted pretty good.

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