So Pink Floyd was gonna be in Cleveland, and Danny was agitated about it. I had access to a car, so he wanted to go with me. And, you know, he thought I’d like it. I thought I’d like it too. My exposure to Pink Floyd live at that point was _Delicate Sound of Thunder_, their concert album in support of _A Momentary Lapse of Reason_. There were some photos of the light show, but photos in a CD booklet cannot impress upon one the enormity of the proceedings. So I’m like, “Sure, Pink Floyd, yeah, cool.” We had to get in a lottery to get tickets. The lottery took place at Rolling Acres Mall. I remember we went to the mall, I drove, borrowing one of Dad’s cars. Or it coulda been Mom’s car. Doesn’t matter. We go in, I think by Sears, or was it JCPenny? Doesn’t matter. There was a big courtyard kind of area, not the fountain courtyard. Lots of grey-white tile and shit. Lines of people standing around. We got tickets. Cheap tickets. Shit-ass tickets, if we’re honest with ourselves. We were on the lower deck, way up under the upper deck. You could see about a quarter of the stage. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Danny was super excited about getting the tickets, and I was too, just not as much. The concert was still months (weeks?) away. So we waited around, living our lives. I didn’t think about it all that much, but Danny’s excitement never completely faded. Much reduced, yes, but still there. And then of course it ramped back up in the days leading to the concert.
Day of the concert arrives. I borrow the Barge Mobile. AKA my Dad’s ’73 Olds 98. Can’t remember if this was before or after Lollapalooza. I think before, but not positive. Anyway, it was the same car I drove to Lollapalooza ’93, if that tells you anything. I go over to Danny’s, he’s still living with his mom at that point. Despite being a drug-crazed lunatic, Danny’s Mom, god rest her soul, was really a sweet lady. Or so it seemed to me. It might have been different living with her. Whatever. The point is, she had packed us a fucking cooler (a full-size one) full of home-cooked food. And Danny’s Mom could fucking cook. I’ll never forget her chicken paprikash (although there wasn’t any of that in the cooler. It was more picnic food. And regular chicken. Cold, of course. I love cold chicken so much. But anyway.) So we threw the cooler in the trunk, and then we were fucking off. I drove to goddamn Cleveland, having never been there on my own before, without the help of GPS or anything. I had directions from Dad. 77 N to E 9th, right at the light. That was basically all I had. I’m amazed at the things I used to be able to do. Once we got to Cleveland proper on 77, the traffic backed up, and it was stop and go. We had left in plenty of time to allow for this, so no big deal. Anyway, all the cars are inching along, and I see a guy up ahead, a pedestrian, walking down between the lanes. I was in the middle lane, and he was walking on my drivers side. I was curious about this, and there was little else to do, so I watched him. He would occasionally pause at cars. When he got closer, I saw that he was a T-shirt vendor, selling Pink Floyd shirts, and they were awesome. I loved the design, and it seemed to me this would be a perfect souvenir. So I flagged the guy down when he got near, and bought a T-shirt. It cost me all my money, but it was such a sweet T-shirt that it was totally worth it. I don’t remember how much it was. $28, maybe? Doesn’t matter. So now I had no money, and a T-shirt. Five minutes later I realized that I’d spent all my parking money. Danny didn’t have any money. What the fuck were we going to do?
Finally got off the freeway and onto E 9th. There were parking lots all over the fucking place, but they were all paid lots. I pulled into one, there was a cop standing around. I asked him if there was anywhere to get free parking. He laughed in my face. No, I mean he literally cracked up laughing. There isn’t anywhere you can take the conversation from there, so I went driving around. Trying to think of an idea. I turned a corner, and there, unexpectedly, was the stadium, a block away. And right there by the corner, there was a parking spot. No meter. Just a fucking parking spot. And I got in that shit. It was incredible. I would not have been surprised if light beams from on high with the angelic chorus had shown the parking spot. It was totally that kind of vibe.
Anyway, so we’re parked. We sat there in amazement and enthused about our good fortune. I checked like crazy for a “No Parking” sign, some indication as to why this primo-ass spot was vacant, but there was nothing. It was just dumb luck. It was awesome.
Then we went to the show. On the way to our seats, we saw Matt Atkins, Trevor Sheridan, and a couple other kids from school, but we basically nodded as we passed and didn’t see them for the rest of the excursion. So we get in our seats. As forementioned, they sucked. I was resigned to it. I was like, “The light show isn’t as important as the music.” Danny was having none of it. He walked down to one of the support pillars, which are below the front edge of the upper deck. You could see the entire stage and the sky above. I had to admit this was a lot better than our seats.
The show began, and it blew me the fuck away. Nothing could have prepared me for the spectacle of it. Danny, for his part, was unsurprised. I now understood why he had been so excited. They led off with “Astronomy Domine” and it was fucking amazing.
A couple songs in, and I’ve become really attached to where I’m standing and my view of the show. Then a venue employee comes and says we have to sit down. So that’s it. Danny and I look at each other and shrug invisibly and resignedly. We look around, and there are two empty seats right in front of us. I mean, literally right next to us. Five feet away. I was reminded of the parking situation. Still no angelic chorus. We put our butts in these two empty seats right quick, and the venue employee left. Danny was on the end of the row, and I was next to him. On my other side there was a guy. He leaned over and said we could sit there, the seats were for his two friends who had ditched him. So we had king hella premier seats for the rest of the show. I loved it. As an added bonus, the dude didn’t talk to me for the rest of the show.
The show, as I’ve implied, was amazing. The highlight for me was the twenty-foot disco ball spinning over second base, and reflecting little moving pinpoints of light around the bowl of the stadium and onto the crowd. “Comfortably Numb” was the song. Those moments changed my life.
Then it was over. It was like four in the morning, since the show didn’t start before dark (it was summertime) and it was a really long show. Wait a minute. It couldn’t’ve been four in the morning. Although that’s the time I remember it being. Whatever. It was the middle of the night, okay? We found the car again no problem, it hadn’t been towed away or anything. I popped the trunk and we cracked the cooler. I’ll never forget sitting in the middle of downtown Cleveland, buildings towering over us, with a view of the old Municipal Stadium, sitting on the back of the Barge Mobile eating cold chicken. And Danny’s mom made it so it was fucking delicious. I can’t remember what we had to drink. We made a good meal of it, though. So sated, I drove home without further incident. And I had a bitchin’ shirt.
It was the best concert I’ll ever go to, and it was encapsulated in the best concert-going story I’ll ever tell. So that’s nice.