The first item on my 101 things to do in 1001 days list was to attend a Nine Inch Nails concert. I’m proud to say I’ve already done this. Okay, so I already had the tickets when I wrote the list and therefore was nearly certain this was going to happen. But still…
David and I headed up to the city (Oklahoma City, to be precise, but if you live in Oklahoma it is merely “The City”) late Friday afternoon. After 30-40 minutes of traffic which had slowed to a one lane crawl due to road construction and made worse by idiots who think “left lane closed; merge right” doesn’t apply to them, we had just enough time for a quick dinner at Jason’s Deli in Norman.
We then arrived at the Skirvin Plaza hotel in downtown OKC around 7:30-ish and the concert was slated to begin at 8:00. We intended to take a cab rather than get our vehicle out of the valet parking and then trying to find a place to park. The head valet, Chuck (yes, we’ve been there a few times), asked if we needed our car and David told him we wanted a cab. He asked if we were here to see a show at the Civic Center, which is what we’ve always been there for on previous visits. I think he was both surprised and impressed when we told him we were there to see the Nine Inch Nails concert instead. He said if we could wait a couple of minutes we could take the hotel limo which is free other than a tip for the driver. Cool! I haven’t been in a limo in years and I must admit it was rather fun to arrive in front of the Ford Center in a long, black limo and be helped out by the driver. I think David hoped that his long hair and earrings might make all the goth kids out front wonder if he was a famous rock star or something.
Chris and five of his friends also had tickets for the concert and met us inside about 10 or 15 minutes later. While sitting there waiting for the warm-up band to begin I was just enjoying some people-watching when someone a couple of rows behind us called out, “David!”. Now, David is a very common name so he didn’t want to just assume someone was calling him. I mean, what were the chances that anyone we knew would be at a NIN concert? But then he heard it again and turned around. It was the daughter of one of his part-time employees. Liz had also been our waitress numerous times at our favorite restaurant. 8000 people in the place and someone we knew from Ada is sitting right behind us.
The warm-up band, A Place to Bury Strangers, did not impress me. I think Chris referred to their style of music as techno noise or something like that. Noise, is right. But the worst part was the blinding strobe light which I could still see with my eyes closed, head turned and hand over my eyes. It almost nauseated me and I was relieved when they quit that part.
Then NIN took the stage and the next two and a half hours zipped by in a blur of energy, excitement, thundering bass rhythms, and the most amazing light show…all lightly scented with the fragrance of pot being smoked by the guys in the row directly in front of us. Brought back memories of high school.
I had originally agreed to go to the concert simply in order to do something *different* and I really didn’t know what to expect. I figured there would be a lot more really weird people there but honestly, I’ve seen a lot stranger folks walking the streets of the French Quarter on a typical Sunday afternoon. We saw one person being escorted out by police just before the show began but otherwise I didn’t see any other disturbances.
I’d heard some NIN music before the concert, including the song David and I jokingly refer to as “our song” but not enough to really know if I would like a whole concert. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Yeah, the language isn’t the sort of thing I’d want young kids listening to, but there was so much screaming and singing along going on in the audience that I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying anyway. But those driving rock beats…that was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Despite having seats we didn’t sit for the entire concert. Who could sit through something like that? And speaking of screaming, the only downside to the whole thing was the amazingly loud and annoying girl behind us who kept screaming at an ear shattering level and shouting out, “Trent, I want to have your baby!”.
We ended up walking the few blocks back to the hotel, part of which was in the underground walkways in the area, because we couldn’t reach the limo driver. He had given us his card so we could call for a ride but for some reason he didn’t get our call until we were over half way back so we just walked. It was a beautiful evening anyway.
We then spent a couple of hours sitting at the bar of the piano lounge at our hotel, watching the Olympics and occasionally chatting with the bartenders and others at the bar, and enjoyed the blues music the pianist was playing and singing. It was an utterly perfect night and a great way to cross off the first item on my list.