Completing the Pink Circle

24 Jun

In 1994, I saw Pink Floyd at the football stadium of Vanderbilt University. I had been to concerts before, but this was an entirely new experience. Hours before the concert, people tailgated with buffets of food, drink and an assortment of hallucinogenics. It was a circus that my friend and I bounced through like kids in a candy store.

Once we entered the stadium, we found our seats in front of the stage. It was during the time that you actually had to go to the music store and stand in line for tickets. Luckily, we were able to be at the front of the line. The crowd buzzed as the stage towered in front of us. It was my first stadium concert, and I could not believe the enormity of it all. Then, the show started.

I am not sure if it was the music, the lights or the libations, but the show was magical. All of the great songs were played as giant pigs danced over the stage and the huge disco ball made the stadium sparkle. We were emersed in the guitar solos and the enigmatic lyrics. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the evening, but I walked out of the stadium having seen the best concert of my life.

Since 1994, I have been to more concerts than I can remember. It is hard to describe my musical tastes, so I will do it this way. I once saw Luciano Pavarotti and AC/DC in the same building during the same week. In short, I will go to any concert (including last night’s performance by Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw). I am a concert junkie. Each time, I get the same feelings – the anticipating the concert as it grows closer; the drive to the venue; merging with the crowd as people walk in the same direction; standing in line to enter the building; feeling the buzz of the crowd as people walk through the concourse; seeing the stage for the first time as I find my seats; standing as the lights go down and the show is about to begin. The entire experience gets me jazzed up.

However, my feelings do not stay that way. While performances have their high points, it does not sustain me for the entire show. There becomes a lull when I wind down and begin to wonder when it will be over. I have seen legends and people who have been forgotten, but not one of them has provided me with the feeling I got from Pink Floyd. Each time I leave a concert, I am glad that I went but am unfulfilled just the same.

However, this week something strange happened. I went to a concert that I was truly excited to see. I felt all of the things that I describe above. Except, this time the feeling did not go away, and the concert lived up to everything that I hoped.

Roger Waters performed The Wall, a concert that I have always wanted to see. For those who do not know, Rogers Waters was an original member of Pink Floyd, and The Wall was one of their landmark albums. He had split from them by the time the 1994 concert took place but has continued to perform some of the same music.

The concert was an orgy of sound, lights and imagery as the crew built the giant wall across the stage to have it collapse at the end. Songs like “Comfortably Numb” and “Another Brick in the Wall” had me on my feet the entire time. Once again, I do not have the vocabulary to describe the show, but I left the arena realizing that I had been to the best concert of my life. After 18 years, I completed the Pink circle and saw all of the surviving members of the band.

As we walked out, I replayed the concert in my mind before a quick reminder brought me back to earth. The concert was very political, and, while I usually don’t like politics mixed with my entertainment, I knew going in that would be the case. Waters created an entire concert around the fact that money should be spent to fight hunger rather than fight armies. It is a noble sentiment.

However, as we walked out, a handicapped man had a cooler and was yelling, “Water and cold drinks for a dollar.” For those in other parts of the world, “cold drinks” is the southern term for pop or soda. When we declined, he said, “Remember what you paid inside.”

That’s when my buzz went away. How can a performer denounce wasted money that could go for hunger when tickets to his show cost $250 a piece and a beer cost $7? I wasn’t sure, so I went back and bought a dollar water but paid $5. That’s when the buzz returned.

3 Responses to “Completing the Pink Circle”

  1. paintlater June 25, 2012 at 02:17 #

    Great post! I love Pink Floyd too and have often considered painting a series around Dark Side of the Moon. I find as I get older my tastes are widening but I still love the old albums. Cheers

    • surroundedbyimbeciles June 25, 2012 at 03:47 #

      I think a series based on their music would be awesome. I would like to see how it inspires your artistic imagery.

  2. alanstix June 25, 2012 at 07:30 #

    Reblogged this on Pinkfloydiana.

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