Monday, December 19, 2011

The best Christmas concert I ever saw

Not too long after I moved to America, a friend and I went to Lexington, Kentucky, one weekend looking for a surplus store. We parked our car and immediately got lost. While walking around we found ourselves walking past a long, long line outside Rupp Arena. We started asking people in the line where the surplus store was. No one knew but one guy suddenly turned to me and offered me a pair of tickets, saying, “here’s tickets for the concert. I have to go home, it’s an emergency.”

My friend tried to take the tickets but this guy would only hand them to me. In retrospect, I suspect he thought the concert would "blow my mind." Well, it did. "Back in the day" Anna looked like this. Needless to say, I had no idea who or what Pink Floyd was. The guy I was with made a big deal about the tickets, laughing and saying “you have no idea who this is or what's going on inside.” It was true that I didn’t know what I was in for, but I knew from the lines and the size of the arena that this was the biggest and easily the strangest crowd I had ever been in. 

Most shocking to me, even more so than being in the fifth row for a Pink Floyd concert, was the guy standing next to me. He was smoking marijuana throughout the entire concert! Being from Thailand I knew what marijuana was, but I didn’t know how openly it was smoked at Pink Floyd concerts.

I don’t remember the concert very well because the whole time I was watching I could not stop thinking about marijuana, especially because the guy next to me kept offering me some even though I wasn’t old enough to drink. For years afterwards I didn’t go to rock concerts because I thought I would get arrested and deported!

It was the loudest concert I’ve ever been to. It was also (inflation adjusted) the most expensive ticket I’ve ever used. I remember it as being a $100 ticket which, for a fifth row seat in 1987, sounds about right (further internet research confirms that it was the most expensive concert ticket of 1987). All I remember is that $100 was more than I made in a week working half-time as a lab assistant at the University of Kentucky.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I told a friend about this concert that I finally realized what a big deal it was. How big a deal? The picture (below) is from the show I saw! In fact, Wikipedia has a long article about this tour, including a list of all the songs they played!  The concert was in early November of 1987, so it wasn’t really a Christmas concert, but I think of it as my best Christmas concert ever because it had the best Christmas lights I’ve ever seen. 

We never did find the surplus store.