Which one's Pink?
I can finally check off a major item on my list of "Life's To-Dos." Friday night I saw Pink Floyd lead man Roger Waters perform, among other things, the entirety of The Dark Side of the Moon. The weather turned cold and rainy as the weekend approached and it was raining and in the low 50s when we got into Chicago. Mandy and I went to a local sushi bar and had a great dinner while we waited for the concert to start and the rest of our friends (Chad, Megan, and Josh). The rain stopped and a very cold breeze started up as we headed out to the concert area, parked, and waited by the gate. When everyone else showed up, we headed in, found a spot high up on a hill and beheld the genius of Floyd play the greats.
It was really surreal. I've been to a bunch of concerts (I actually saw REM and Wilco at the same venue with my sister, bro-in-law, Josh, and Jon several years back) and I can say I've been to a concert quite like this. For starters, the concert was outdoors and it was freezing. Up to this point I've been fortunant enough to be holding lawn seat tickets on days when it was sunny and warm. This was freezing. Second, and most important, is the concerts I go to are always being held by people who are still actively creating music. When I go to see The Lips, Coldplay, or Sigur Ros it's because they've recently come out with a new album and they're touring to help support it. Even a Steely Dan concert Jon and I attended was performed to support the album "Two Against Nature" (which won the Grammy for album of the year). Steely Dan was a band that was around during Floyd's prime, but they're still producing music. I've never been to a show where the exclusive purpose of attending is to hear the studio versions of the songs that are, in most cases, decades old. To his credit, Waters did perform a new song, but it seemed really out of place. He wasn't fooling anyone, let along himself. Everyone was there to hear Pink Floyd songs and that was it.
I'm glad I saw him, but in a strange way it wasn't because of the music. In fact it's difficult for me to even hear the music. I've heard Dark Side so many times, both for personal pleasure and for business (I used to run laser light shows), it's difficult for me to even hear the music anymore. I've heard it so many times that it blends into the ambiance as a kind of sonic background radiation.
The concert experience was an affirmation of love for the man who helped create the albums that first opened my eyes to wonders of music. Before I fell in love with Pink Floyd, I never really enjoyed music. I tolerated or laughed at it, but I never "got it." I never could get why anyone would want to venture into different genres or look forward to album releases - ideas that are now so prominent in my life, it would be hard for young me and old me to have a meaningful conversation about music. I primarily listened to Weird Al and the Moody Blues and loathed the radio.
For me and many others, The Dark Side of the Moon was the album that finally gave me a reason to explore music. Pink Floyd stands, and will forever stand, on a musical plateau not great than, but apart from other bands. While my interests have changed, and I have found bands that are, in different ways, better my respect for the band remains untouched. They will always be the greatest band, not because the music is better, but because of the profound effect they made on my life.
Despite the cold and the distance from the stage, it felt good to pay my respects to the man who played a large part in shaping my musical interests. And judging from the thousands of people joining me on the cold hilltop, I wasn't alone.