As an outdoors person, one might expect me to have been pretty cold and miserable on any number of occasions, but the truth is that while I love to hike and camp in the colder months, the one time I was colder and wetter than any other in my life wasn’t in the wilderness at all, but at a rock concert.
It was April 29, 1994, and our friend Scott invited about seven of his friends, all Pink Floyd fans, to stay at his home in McKinney, Texas, and for all of us to attend a Pink Floyd Concert together at Texas Stadium in nearby Irving.
I must with some shame admit to being quite ill-prepared to deal with any kind of bad weather, which I should have been given that Texas Stadium was an open-top arena. By the time I was halfway to the Dallas metroplex, I was driving through sheets of pouring rain, thinking about all the rain gear sitting at home in my closet.
Once at Scott’s, the rain continued, but we all very wishfully thought it would clear up by concert time. In fact, the rain did stop in time for the concert’s start. We arrived at the stadium in three groups, and not all at the same time, so we didn’t all end up sitting together. I remember the concert started unceremoniously with the band’s lesser-known Astronomy Domine as their lead song. I also remember being very unimpressed with the show in general, since in spite of efforts to dress it up with lights and mechanical devices, the size of the stadium made the band members themselves, David Gilmore, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason (since it was long after the departure of Roger Waters), appear as tiny figures in the distance.
I also noted that in addition to the usual weed that was passed around, at least two people near us were snorting lines of cocaine, which to me doesn’t say “Pink Floyd fan,” but “drug addict.”
I’ve been to better concerts. Probably the best was Kansas, who we saw in 1982 at Lloyd Noble Arena in Norman, Oklahoma, which is much smaller. I could actually tell who was who, and the relatively smaller crowd created a better sense of intimacy between the performers and the fans.
Just about in the middle of the show at Texas Stadium, there was a flash and a peal of distant thunder, which of course was greeted by a peal of cheers. Before long, rain and more lightning started in earnest, creating an environment that was not only dangerous, it was soaking any of us who were seated (read: standing) on the stadium floor.
The concert continued. It seemed like it went on for another 45 minutes, yet my friends and I didn’t leave, nor did anyone around us. I suppose we were trying to be “die hard” fans, but in truth I was getting pretty miserable, drenched in cold spring rain, wearing nothing but a t-shirt and jeans with a hoodie. Within minutes it was all soaking wet and hanging low on my body.
After the concert finally ended, we started to make our way back to the car in drenching rain, much of the way wading in six-inch-deep rivers of ice cold parking lot drainage.
In the end, I found the whole experience a gigantic waste of time, and by the end of the night I had been colder and wetter than any time before or since.
An amusing sidebar to this entry is the fact that I recalled the entire thing from memory and wrote it all, and only then went home and looked it up in my journal, to discover that pretty much every recollection was accurate. I’ve still got it!