A friend's roommate was too sick to use her free tickets to a show at the millennium hall last night, so we decided to go after dinner. The tickets listed the singers, but since neither of us read Amharic, we had to trust the photos that this show was more Teddy Afro than Mel Torme. Besides, it was a chance for me to see the Millennium Hall, the big place built in record time by Sheik Al-Hamoudi for the Millennium concert by the Black Eyed Peas. I was interested because from the outside it looked like what we call in Michigan a "pole barn."
Much to my surprise, the inside looked like... a pole barn. I was a giant hollow space with a high, high ceiling and a balcony at the back. There was a concrete floor and square bars scattered around for ordering beer or water. There was once little vendor stand selling those glow-in-the-dark things you see at concerts. The most popular items at this concert, though, were the little glow-in-the-dark crosses, a first for any concert I'd been to.
After figuring out the beverage-buying system (buy a coupon, trade the coupon for beer, thus adding one more job to every purchase) I stood around and gaped at the airplane-hangar-esque enormity of the place. There were probably a couple of thousand people in there, and the place looked empty. Eventually the band came on, a jeans, white T-shirt, and dreadlocks assortment. The show consisted of various singers coming out to play with the band. The longer we stayed, the harder the audience cheered for each successive singer, none of whom I was familiar with. It was a strange experience to be amid such fervent fans when the singers were nobody to me. It was also odd to be in that position while watching the singers strutting and smirking, soaking up the adoration when I didn't get it and at times my reaction was "meh."
In the end there were enough fun, bouncy songs to make the experience enjoyable. And watching the crowd was as much fun. We were the only Ferenges I saw all night, and everyone was 100% friendly to us: saying hello, dancing in a circle with us, nodding and smiling in an encouraging way, probably thinking "oh, is *that* why they call that dance the "white man's overbite?"