The two halves of my brain are at war with each other!

Sunday 2 September 2007

Not so long ago I described the sight of the reopened Millennium Dome at night from my house. Very unexpectedly, I have now been inside the Dome. Even less expectedly, it was to see one of those Prince gigs I mentioned. Yet even less expectedly again, I got in for free. Most unexpectedly of all, I was in one of the corporate boxes.
My lovely girlfriend had scammed two tickets from her work, which holds a corporate box at the Dome to shmooze valued clients. “That all sounds perfectly awesome,” you’re thinking, and you would be right if it weren’t for one little thing. I like Prince enough to enjoy listening to his stuff, but not enough to lift a finger to hear any more of it, and the whole thing happened at short notice, just when I was in a fairly severe bout of depression. This made me probably the only person in the crowd heading out to the Dome with a sense of nameless dread.
This emotional disconnect between feeling pointlessly terrible and being at an exciting concert was compounded by another contradiction. I’m prejudiced against big arena shows in the first place, but there’s nothing quite so un-rock’n’roll as being at a rock gig seated in a beige lounge suite with a champagne flute in one hand and a plate of spicy chicken wings in the other. Please don’t think I’m complaining about being waited on at a free concert, it’s just that it’s a little weird. Like in those sci-fi movies where the astronauts land on a strange planet and the aliens are a little too nice to them, it puts you on your guard.
Each corporate suite holds about a dozen people, so the girl and I didn’t have the place to ourselves. Luckily there were only a couple of valued clients in the room – most of the others were co-workers who had also scammed tickets – but that was enough to deter me from trying to gee myself up by getting quickly hammered and screaming “Hello peasants!” or “Play Sexy Motherfucker!” over the balcony. Worse still, I couldn’t get lost in a crowd and indulgently mope somewhere without being conspicuous.
At least I could agree with everyone else in the room about something (most of whom were enthusiastic young things who weren’t even born when Prince was having his first hits): in a classic “playing with the box the toy came in” moment, we all thought the coolest part of the night was the way the lighting crew had to spend the entire evening hanging ten metres above the stage, suspended by cables from the roof, to operate the spotlights.