Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park 2014

I work close enough to the Auckland Domain that access to our street is affected by this so work got a notice with times etc for road closures, the two rehearsals, etc. We can't go to tonight's official show so along with several hundred others we decided to take in the dress rehearsal last night.

Attending the rehearsal meant the road closures weren't in full swing and we were able to park quite close to the Carleton Gore road entrance, which was handy for Tessa's knees as the route was largely flat and on grass. We went two hours early, just as the afternoon rehearsal was winding up. We had planned to have a picnic and then go to the convert area but when we saw that the crowds were already gathering we decided to take our picnic dinner down there with us.

They've kept the format that's served them so well but revamped the cast; gone are Frankie Stevens and Jackie Clarke and in there place were several younger musicians I didn't recognise but the younger audience members obviously did.

I can only remember seeing 3 or 4 smokers in the Domain, only one in the main audience sitting area, and caught a couple of whiffs of tobacco. Most of the audience were families of cast members and the majority of the cast were young dancers from, if I count right, 5 different dance schools or groups and a couple of (semi-)pro hip-hop crews so there were a lot of parents, and siblings there but even so it was refreshing to see how few people there were smoking. We parked just across the road from the park entrance and I did see a handful smoking on the street in the short time I was there.

Nothing fired off my smoking triggers as such before or during the concert although after we'd eaten and I took the dishes back to the car I had a minor "wouldn't it be nice ..." moment easily avoided. Then after the end of the show as we got back to the car I had a brief craving, again easily suppressed, probably coming from the psychological nostalgia as I would have smoked at this time in the past; especially if I'd gone a couple of hours at a smoke-free concert.

Once again a great night.  The rehearsal doesn't have the fireworks or the lighting of the Christmas tree and the real show tonight will have them and be even better,

[Update 5PM]

I just went for an exercise ride on my bike including a lap around the Domain. At 4:30, three hours before the planned start time,  the area where we were last night, close to the stage, was already filling up and people were starting to fill good positions on the crater walls. A lot of them had umbrellas up against the light rain that's already forming. As I left and rode down Carleton Gore Rd, they were towing away cars from the temporary mobility parking areas.