Thursday, August 05, 2004

Pink Floyd: The Wall

I saw on MSNBC (courtesy of AP) that The Wall is being made into a Broadway musical.

The Wall holds a special place in my heart, and not just because I like Pink Floyd and think that album was one of their best. No, it is because of a trip I took.

Long ago in the mists of time (OK it was the summer of 1995), I had just graduated from High School. That summer I did such fun and exciting things like working full-time in a warehouse packing orders, and working part-time at Best Buy. Most of my friends were busy doing similar things (that is, working).

Towards the end of summer, everyone started to get the feeling that the whole summer had practically slipped by and soon we would all be going our separate ways to college. We decided to all take some time-off work and take a road trip down to Gurnee, IL home of Six Flags/Great America, Chicago.

Now Six Flags Chicago is indeed one of the best amusement parks in the country, but it also happened to be just a few miles from my Aunt's house. Poor high school students can't pass up the ability to stay somewhere free.

Anyways, a few weeks later Gerard, Dan and myself were set to take off on a road trip. Now we all had cars of our own, but none that screamed 'Hey, I'm reliable enough to take on a 1,000 mile road trip'. So my mom was nice enough to let us take her 1993 Mitsubishi Galant. It was a pretty nice car for the time, with power everything, a peppy engine (perfect for being driven by 18 year old idiots), and comfy seats.

I think I picked everyone up, and away we went tooling down Hwy 52 on our way to Chicago. Now keep in mind this was a last minute trip. So what had escaped everyone's notice was that as nice as my Mom's car was, it did not have a CD player, only a tape player. Even though back then CD players were not yet standard equipment, it happened that virtually all the music I owned was on CD. With the exception of 2 tapes: Pink Floyd: The Wall and Guns N' Roses: Use Your Illusion 1.

Since no one else was aware of the lack of a CD player and/or my own lack of tapes, no one else brought anything to listen to. After the radio started fading out, we decided to listen to GNR, and popped in the tape. The tape player ate it. There went 50% of our music selection in one shot. For a while it actually looked like it might have succeeded in killing 100% of our music, by clogging up in the player and not being able to be removed, but with some persistence (and perhaps a bit of panic) the tape was removed.

That left us with one tape. Pink Floyd: The Wall.

Three things lead to what happened next:

1) If you have ever driven down I90 through rural Wisconsin, you have a good idea of the complete and utter lack of radio stations.

2) The tape player in the car had auto-reverse

3) The Wall is like 84 minutes long, so it barely fits on one extended length tape. There is virtually no silence on the ends of the sides.

The result was that we basically listened to The Wall over and over all the way to Chicago and back.

Since it was auto-reverse, with no silence at the end of a side, you couldn't really tell that the tape had started over. I mean you could, but not really if you weren't paying attention. So over and over, for 8 hours we listened to 'Another Brick in the Wall', 'Hey You', 'Young Lust', and 'Run like Hell'.

After that trip, I think all three of us could recite the full lyrics to The Wall. Even Gerard, who had never heard the album before.

To this day, whenever I hear some of the songs on The Wall, I can't help thinking back to that road trip.

No comments: