Tony Pierce went to see Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” concert last night and it brought back memories of Pink Floyd’s original “The Wall” tour. The show was sold out for a week in February 1980 at the Sports Arena.
With no money to my name and a mother who was not a fan of the album and certainly not my obsession with it (I listened to it daily in its double-platter entirety for months), I tried my best to win tickets on radio show giveaways, but failed. So entirely desperate to see what was uncategorically The Rock ‘N Roll Event Of My Lifetime I even contemplated burgling a neighbor or worse robbing someone of their tickets outside the venue.
Fortunately I went neither of those felonious routes, and instead on Wednesday, February 13 — the last day of Floyd’s LA stay I pretended I wasn’t feeling well immediately after dinner, went to bed fully clothed, and after about a year-long 30 minutes of laying there, I stuffed clothes under the covers to simulate a body sleeping, snuck out the window, pausing while straddled half in and half out to not give a fuck if my mom decided to check-in on me and discover my escape. Then I went down to the garage, got on my battered BMX bike and pedaled out from the slums of Beverly Hills in the general direction of downtown via Olympic Boulevard, with neither a golden ticket nor knowing precisely where the Sports Arena was.
Come to think of it, from a cycling perspective that trip could qualify as my first-ever bike commute.
Anyway. When I finally arrived, sweaty, adrenaline filled and out of breath, the place looked and felt deserted with only a few people outside the entrance I was nearest, and I was gripped in horror that I’d screwed up and come all this way a day late. Then as if in reassuring answer “In the Flesh?” exploded from within the arena and I knew the concert was both going on and had only just started.
So ya thought ya might like to go to the show…
Increasingly and frantically desperate would be an understated way of describing how I spent the time basically pedaling around the arena begging a succession of rejecting gatekeepers that getting inside was a matter of life or death until finally finding a somewhat sympathic ear.
“I don’t even need a seat! Please just let me stand somewhere inside!”I implored.
I say the person was “somewhat sympathetic” because he didn’t let me in for free. I had to fork over the seven bucks I had in my pocket — and my bike.
I gave both over without hesitation.
And in I went. The moment I burst through the outer doors I was greeted with the acoustics of “Mother” and I almost cried. In fact I did, but for a different reason as I was immediately approached by a security guard wanting to see my ticket.
Instead, I showed him the performance of my young life, channeling that tearful relief into total sorrow as I turned on the waterworks and bemoaned losing my ticket and only being able to get in because the person outside made me give him all my money — and my bike.
Mother will they tear your little boy apart?
Miraculously, it worked. Embarrassed by my outburst, the guard led me to an access tunnel and told me to calm down. I did, a little. Then he looked around before telling me to go in but insisted that I couldn’t sit in a seat.
“If I find your crybaby butt planted anywhere it shouldn’t be I’m throwing you out!”
I nodded my head off in understanding and gratitude and when he looked the other way I did my best not to bolt headlong down the tunnel to experience what was indeed The Rock ‘N Roll Event Of My Lifetime.
Afterwards, given the amount of second-hand marijuana smoke I inhaled there’s little in the way of specifics regarding the looooong walk home other than I don’t recall my feet touching the ground and in getting back to the apartment not long before dawn I still didn’t give a fuck if my mom had discovered my absence. Slipping the screen off the window and sliding it open, I peered inside the darkened room and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The door was closed. The clothes I’d stuffed under the covers still there.
Sure enough, the next morning I was awakened with my mom’s typically gruff and no-nonsense call to get up, but that was it. Though completely exhausted, I rose in triumph that the entirely AWOL evening excursion had been a total success. I had torn down several walls to see “The Wall.”
When my mom got home from work that afternoon you know what she found me listening intently to on the old Admiral hi-fi. Rolling her eyes, I turned the volume down and told her that my bike had been stolen. I pretended to be appropriately upset, then I turned up the volume and climbed back into the album with visions of the mindblowing concert in my head.