Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dave Chappelle Surprise in Downtown Portland

Rumors surfaced late Tuesday afternoon through tweets from Local35 that Dave Chappelle would do a live show, downtown at midnight. Chappelle told the staff he planned to go buy an amp to do a free live show at pioneer square at midnight. As the staff passed on the message things started to circle and the word spread like fire. As early as 10:00pm people had begun to gather at the square. The blogs and tweets continued to work furiously to convince all 18-30 yrs olds that Dave Chappelle would pull this crazy stunt possibly in an attempt to refuel a mysteriously evaporated career. Accounts of him entering local businesses, and encountering people on the street began to suggest he was telling everyone he saw.

I contributed wholeheartedly to spread the word and arranged to meet people at the square. We watched the KGW Live Cam from the apartment, refreshing once every minute. The crowd began to build so we decided it was time to head down. We arrived at about 11:45pm and ran into DJ Sacrilicous confirming earlier message board rumors that he would be in attendance. He told us about his new mix "The Scratchatory Tape" which had just dropped. Unfortunately, midnight came and went with little more than feeble attempts to rally the crowd into chant.

Many of my group decided to leave around 12:30; early morning commitments for most of them. I stuck around with DJ Sacrilicious, and just after 1am the entire crowd was shocked to see Dave Chappelle emerge out of the once drowsy audience and get up on the stage in front of nearly 4,000 exhilarated Portlanders.

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Dave fought for control of the crowd for the next hour. He had brought a very small battery powered amp, and called for the assistance of Pure Hype Entertainment's Pierre Stephane who would hold the amp up for the crowd for the next 65 minutes.

As Dave fought for control, by pleading for silence in attempt to tell us all "something very important" the lack of sound lost his message to a 75% majority of the crowd. Eventually he gets the crowd to settle for long enough for him to say "I learned today... that you can't tell a secret in Portland." The small portion of the crowd that could hear his "Duracell" powered amp burst into laughter, as the rest of the crowd felt left out and made their concerns heard with roars of demands to shift the speaker.

The woman that accompanied him on stage got an opportunity to play one song whit her acoustic guitar, but again the amp had trouble hitting more than 250 people. I heard him say, "I really didn't expect this many people." to which the Portland crowd patted themselves on the back with a fury of applause.

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Throughout his performance a few people came on stage with a much larger speaker system, and frantically searched for electricity for almost the entirety of his time on stage.Cords were hand off one by one through to the back of the crowd, where a few individuals on the stage were certain there were outlets. Eventually with the assistance of the police they were informed that the city turns off power to Pioneer Square at midnight.

Just after 2am he said goodbye and thank you, telling us the cops need us to vacate the square in an orderly fashion at. Chappelle attempted to leave the now -at capacity- stage and there was a bit of a struggle as people rushed him for autographs and to hand him notes and fliers. I got a few pictures and some decent video. Will upload video soon.