Sunday, March 14, 2010

Start Wearing Purple

A weird, wild dream come true: Gogol Bordello playing live in Ukraine. The band is based out of New York, but the lead singer is from a town outside of Kiev. His family, descendants of gypsies, fled after Chernobyl and endured refugee camps for seven years. Quite a history. He also plays Alex, the translator, in the movie 'Everything is Illuminated.' Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Eugene Hutz:

As you can probably imagine, he puts on a wild show. We bumbled our way through buying tickets in advance, apparently making the lady in the box office pretty irritated, because I ended up with literally the worst seat in the stadium. We had to get our native coordinator from ILP on our cell phone to explain to the ticket-seller what we wanted. Not our finest moment.

The show was in Kiev's huge indoor stadium, Palats Sportu. All sorts of cool Ukrainian kids milled around with wild hair and grungy t-shirts, a respite from the polished boots and Prada shoes seen everywhere else. A band with an accordion greeted concert-goers outside, and people paused to dance before entering the enormous stadium.

The cheapest tickets we could find entitled us to both a chair and standing room in the back of the floor space. I figured out that the ticket-seller must not have liked us very much, because I counted chairs to my assigned seat and found myself all the way in front of the stadium, up against the front wall, behind a huge pillar. The stage was not even visible. The only seat as bad as mine was the one mirrored on the opposite side. Except mine had a big nail sticking out of the seat, so I win. We also noticed that the stadium was only half-full. Thank you, ticket-vendor!

The opening bands were crummy, so another teacher and I went to find the bathrooms. They weren't squatter toilets, but there were such dirty footprints on the seats anyway, that they were impossible to sit on without fearing disease. We ended up talking to three Ukrainian girls who were smoking in the already-disgusting bathroom (I love stereotypes), until we heard Gogol Bordello's most-loved song come on. We politely ran out of the bathroom, bolted down the halls, and back into the stadium. The place was completely transformed. Everybody was out of their seats, dancing on the floor, dancing on the stairs, dancing in the aisles, dancing with friends, dancing with strangers. Jessica and I tried to run through to find our friends, but the crowd had become impossibly thick and tangled. We gave up and made eye-contact friends with the strangers around us, dancing a sort of wild dance to the beat that surged through the people. For that one song, I swear we all understood each other.

1 comment:

  1. All this time I thought it said; Stars Wearing Purple. I like my version better. You are an Educator AH.


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