46664 Poster On November 29th 2003 the five hours long benefit concert 46664 took place in Cape Town under the patronage of Nelson Mandela (News). The concert is considered as the start of an entire campagne expected to call attention to the AIDS epidemic in Africa and to bring in cash donations in order to try to gain control over this epidemic. Numerous African artists and international top-acts attended the event, among these also Bono and The Edge who were involved with four songs: American Prayer, 46664 (Long Walk To Freedom), One / Unchained Melody and Amandla. On April 19th 2004 a double DVD and three CDs of the concert have been released. A studio CD is planned as well.

46664 Setlist and Pictures | 46664 DVD/CD Release

We are proud to present you a backstage report of the 46664 concert: Horst Zwipp is the manager of Chris Thompson (used to be with Manfred Mann's Earth Band) who was live on stage with Queen and others at the 46664 concert. Horst Zwipp accompanied Thompson during the rehearsals and witnessed the concert live from the backstage area. He wrote a few lines about his adventures and experiences and his view of the rehearsals and the concert for In addition to that he made several pictures available to us. A huge thanks to Horst Zwipp! And many thanks to Christine Rains for the translation!

Report by Horst Zwipp:

Thursday, 25.11.2003

I was already honoured to attend the huge event of The World Liberty Concert held at the famous Bridge of Arnheim with Chris Thompson and Alan Parsons Project. A concert celebrating the 50ieth anniversary of the end of World War II. But compared to that event, what's taking place here in Cape Town is of totally different dimensions. 

A different dimension what logistics, organization, the media, the performers, the continent and the purpose of the event are concerned. By saying this, I don't intend to detract from the tragical proportions of World War II. Not at all. But the truth is, for years we've now been fighting a war of yet immeasurable proportions: AIDS. This concert is supposed to help, on the one hand to collect urgently needed funds for the up to this point seemingly hopeless fight and on the other hand to make the deathly threat of this disease a topic to be aware of again. And this is the task that the performing artists, politics, industry tycoons and VIPs from everywhere in the world want to tackle, not only on this magical 29. November 2003 here in Cape Town.

The rehearsals have already been going for 3 weeks now. In the first week they took place in London and in the second and third week they are now taking place in Cape Town. A huge repertoire of songs has to be rehearsed, of course, as the so-called Houseband is assembled of members of the SAS Band. And they have to rehearse very intensely, because every performing artist is going to play live on stage. That's not exactly a traditional thing to do. Some singers already rehearsed together with the band in London and here in Cape Town as well, while artists like, e.g. Beyoncé Knowles, Anastacia etc. will only start rehearsing with the band on Thursday or Friday before the concert.

These are the members of the Houseband:

Keyboards, Guitar: Spike Edney (Queen, Bon Jovi etc.) 
Bass: Steve Stroud (Cliff Richard etc.) 
Guitar: Jamie Moses (Pretenders, Paul Young etc.) 
Drums: Eric Singer (Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Kiss etc.) 
Saxophon: Steve Hamilton (Blur etc.) 
Trumpet: Andy Bush (Roxy Music etc.) 
Background Vocals: Zoe Nicholas (Pink Floyd, Georg Michael, etc.) 
Soundengineer: Simon Hart (Pink Floyd, Foreigner etc.) 

As a consequence, Chris Thompson's role at this concert isn't to be underestimated. He functions as:
- vocal trainer of most of the singers,
- partially replaces these singers at the exhausting rehearsals,
- stands on stage as background singer most of the time and,
- takes the lead part of the song "The Show Must Go On" together with Queen.

A little anecdote from the rehearsals at Cyclops Studio on Thursday:

The band was rehearsing a song of the Corgys that used to be a hit in the 70ies: "Everybody Loves Sometimes", the new single by Zucchero. When Zucchero arrived he arranged his keyboard, discussed some fine tuning with Spike Edney and started playing. First take. Zucchero is sitting at the keyboard, plays the first chords, and suddenly Chris Thompson's voice strikes up to his left. I had to force myself not to burst out laughing when I noticed Zucchero suddenly turning his head to the man who was obviously singing there and when I saw the admiration in Zucchero's eyes. There was no sign of envy at all. A little later the two were completely lost in deep conversation and singing, rehearsing the song again to themselves. Without a band, just so. Absorbed by the moment.

When Chris Thompson starts singing, the reactions are always similar to that. That's also how he got to singing the song The Show Must Go On with Queen live on stage. This is one of the most difficult songs that the late Freddie Mercury wrote and Chris Thompson is very aware of that. You can't copy or even replace Freddie Mercury and Chris Thompson doesn't have that in mind. He gives his soul to this song as in to bow in front of one of the greatest rock singers of all time.

The entire performance Chris Thompson has to tackle here is, of course, a pretty tough task and requires absolute discipline for the body, the mind and the soul. I also profit from this, because I have the pleasure to assist Mister Thompson with his early morning jogging and stretching. In other words - I run breathless after him and make a half way decent figure only when it comes to the Tai-Jhi exercises. I'm just glad for myself and every Capetonian that he doesn't make me practise his vocal exercises he does with the help of his infamous scale-opera-cassette.

If you have once in your life been able to watch and, exspecially, hear Brian May play a guitar live about 3 metres away from you in an ordinary rehearsal room you'll forget everything you've heard so far about the definition rock guitar. This man and this play are simply incredible. Incredibly virtuous, incredibly loud, incredibly present, incredibly ..... simply any superlative fits. Incredible.

Somehow, observing the beautiful young lady that plays the violin so well is also amusing. I smile at her, she smiles back, we start chatting, very uplifting, very normal, and Roger Taylor of Queen comes by and introduces us, something (Embarrassment? Self-consciousness?) we hadn't even thought about: Sharon Corr - Horst Zwipp. Sharon Corr? Of the Corrs? Well great, you educated music man. But in a rehearsal room everything is basically reduced to the essential. And that feels good, because in these hours the only thing that counts here is the music itself. And nothing else. I'm looking forward to Beyoncé on Friday. And to Anastacia.

Another person I was also immensly impressed with was Johnny Clegg. Unfortunately, the battery of my digicam died, that's why there aren't any pictures of him. I always thought of Johnny Clegg as an African because of his songs and his accent. I was wrong. He's a white South African and has a charisma that is very rare to find in my agenda. During his rehearsals, a choir of about 40 people accompanied him, consisting of female and male Africans of any age.

When the voices of such a choir strike up, when you look into those eyes filled with zest for life, full of hope, when you see the rhythmical body movements and you can feel the vibes, then, yes, then you really begin to see daylight, and you immediately begin to contemplate. About many things. About important things. And about things that aren't really that important, in our success oriented, rushed, European life.

Here, in these magical hours, days and weeks in Cape Town, the saying that music crosses borders, unites people and nations, becomes true. Here people and nations celebrate a community that's tangeable and touchable with both, hands and heart.

I'm proud of taking part in this event. I'm proud of working here, I'm proud of having the possibility to help out here. To be a small part of a big picture. Tomorrow (Wednesday) the rehearsals will continue. Only at 5 pm, though. However, that will be the first time they'll be held at the Green Point Stadium itself. And with Peter Gabriel among others. And, as I just heard, also already with Beyoncé Knowles. During the day, however, we'll work and organize. And we'll do jogging and stretching. There could be worse.

Saturday. 29.11.2003 - The day of the show

The artists' village is simply gigantic. The innumerable amount of tents in Bedouine style with neat carpets, African luminary etc. create an atmosphere of breathtaking beauty. Somehow there's tension everywhere. Understandably. It's not long before showdown, and everything is in a bustle. Brian May is tuning his guitar (he indeed does it himself), Zucchero is calming himself down with his digicam, the girls of the Corrs are sitting together smoking cigarettes, Sir Bob Geldof is restlessly walking back and forth between the tents, Peter Gabriel is playing with his child, and Beyoncé is storming the tent city with a brigade of 15 people.

And Bono? The Edge? Suddenly they're in the catering tent and would hardly stick out if they weren't permanently surrounded by a bunch of people. They are very likeable people, how I'm bound to find out later.

The show begins, and the backstage area is thronging with everything that's able to walk. The backstage area is about as large in depth as the stage itself. Here you find numerous TV screens that allow you to monitor what's going on on stage, there are interview areas of several TV stations and so on. I'm standing in the backstage area when Peter Gabriel and his band leave the stage. Together we leave the stage area, heading towards the artists' village. Suddenly a bunch of security people place themselves in front of us, send us to a particular corner of the backstage area and make us wait there behind a crowd barrier. The minutes are passing, Peter Gabriel looks at me, puzzled, still wearing his headset. We both shrug our shoulders. Again we're ordered to walk over to another crowd barrier. Great excitement arises, everybody goes crazy. Slightly confused, we're still waiting behind the barrier for something to happen. The minutes are passing while we're watching the hectical bustle. Suddenly we are urged to leave the stage area immediately. Chaos. We do as we're told, and suddenly we realize what's going on. There's a black limousine with tinted windows, surrounded by bodyguards, standing right behind the stage. Nelson Mandela. Of course. Right next to the car there's a golf cart which will be used for driving Nelson Mandela onto stage, as he's got problems with his knees. The door opens, and he gets out. A smile is crossing his face as soon as he catches sight of us all. He waves at us. This man's charisma is incredible. Up to this moment, I have always had the opinion that everything concerning this man may be a little overrated. Far from the mark, Mr. Zwipp. This man is one of the last truly great men of this world. No doubt about it. I hope that we and, exspecially, Africa, will still have him among us for a long time.

The reaction to his appearance and his speech was more than rejoicing. That was justified. They call him Madiba here, which means as much as "Boss". And that's what he is. A gentle boss. Someone who cares. Even through the biggest tragical, personal misery. 27 years of incarcaration. Of which he spent 17 years on Robben Island in a 5 squaremetre small cell. Nelson Mandela - I admire you.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is up to challenging the enemy called AIDS. It has weighty allies e.g. America and Mr. Bush, Mr. Schrempp of Daimler Chrysler, Oprah Winfrey (who also attended the concert) and numerous artists. Exspecially Bono, who is a close friend of Nelson Mandela, and who has an immense and definite influence on world politics next to his musical power and its message. He's the one who calls in and also makes sure that what he calls in is received. He deserves more than gratitude. Anyone and everyone is knighted - why not Bono? At some point it will become unavoidable, and it shall be rightfully so.

The concert was extremely successful. From the musical, artistical and, exspecially, financial aspect due to the broadcasting privileges to more than 160 countries on earth. Not to mention the attention evoked: approximately 3 billion people world wide watched the concert on their TV screens. Just - will all that actually help? Will it really support the people in Africa efficiently, in their fight against AIDS? I seriously doubt it. It's not even a question whether something has to be done, but to be able to become really successful, you would have to have one person watch the other to make sure that condoms are indeed used to stop the epidemic. And, unfortunately, you can't do that.

There's a certain basic intelligence missing in Africa. And social intelligence. AIDS is mainly transmitted through intercourse. And intercourse is based on sex drive. And the people of this continent have definitely a much stronger and a much different drive than the people in Europe. In tough words: here, someone who wants to have intercourse has intercourse. Whether the partner desires it or not. And in that moment nobody thinks of prevention. These are tough words but it's the truth. And that's the actual problem. If you add to that the ineffable poverty and the fact that most people can actually only survive through sex and drugs (what a paradox that is!) it's easy to compare the spreading of this epidemic to the spreading of a forest fire.

Seeing kids here with "I HAVE AIDS" printed on their t-shirts indeed caused me to feel shocked, moved, depressed and horrified. Or getting to know a boy that was infected with HIV at birth and has been surviving longer than any other human infected with HIV. He is a very nice boy and attended the concert. Bono had invited him. But I don't have a clue how Bono got to know him. You can see him and me on one of the pictures. Anyway, I'll never forget the sparkle and happiness in his eyes when I went with him to get autographs of most of the artists. How can you be so happy knowing that you carry this deadly disease in you? I don't have the answer to that, but he gave me courage, and I thank him for that. My personal, supposed problems suddenly became so very small and meaningless.

I'm grateful that I was part of this important and magnificent event. And I'm grateful that I met people who possess true greatness through their humbleness. Humble in a life that can be very, very hard and unfair but also very beautiful. Even with the deadliest disease. Thanks to friends.

Horst Zwipp, Cape Town, 29.11.2003

Translated by Christine Rains

Brian May & Zucchero

Brian May & Zucchero


Chris Thompson & Zucchero

Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson & Horst Zwipp

Artists' village & Green Point Stadium

Artists' village

South African boy & Horst Zwipp

Anastacia & South African boy (Aftershow)
XML | Impressum | Topicon