The Concert that Changed My Life
Seeing Sigur Ros perform - despite the tornadoes
Anyone who has been to Nebraska knows how unstable our weather is. One minute there's nothing but blue skies, and suddenly - wham! - there's a tornado siren blaring and black clouds are hanging menacingly on the horizon.
The night of June 11th was no exception. My friends and I were packed into one friend's mom's minivan, on our way to Omaha to see the greatest band of all time: Sigur Ros. Sigur Ros is not your ordinary guitar-and-vocals group. Their lead singer (who is a guy) can hit notes higher than most sopranos. They have a brass quintet and string quartet accompanying them on many pieces, as well as awesome percussion and mallet accompaniments. Not to mention that this band hails from Iceland, so this might very well be our only chance to see them in concert. To put things simply, we were excited.
When we began our trip, there were a few clouds hanging tiredly in the gray sky. We were in a tornado watch until 10:00 pm, but it appeared that the storms the Weather Channel had predicted weren't shaping up. So we decided that it would be safe to make the 45 minute drive from our town to Omaha. On the way there, however, the clouds began to move faster. The air felt sticky as we stepped out of the car. The sky darkened. And, sure enough, just as we sat down to dinner the first of what would turn out to be a series of tornado warnings was issued. Sirens began howling. Seeing my stricken face, the restaurant host hurried to assure us that if a tornado was on its way, he would take us to the basement. We continued to eat.
Unfortunately, we finished with our meal before the tornado warning was over. Trying not to panic, I followed my friends out of the restaurant and down several blocks until we reached the grand Orpheum Theater. To my relief, when we reached the door, a woman directed us to the basement, the 'bowels of the theater' as she called it. Our group was joined by hundreds of avid Sigur Ros fans willing to brave the tornadoes just to watch their favorite band.
The warning was extended - twice - and after an hour and a half of sitting in the increasingly stuffy basement, wondering when the ceiling would fall on our heads, a worker arrived to tell us that it was now safe to come upstairs. As we assembled into lines according to our tickets, we began to hear a rumbling coming from a side hallway. Was there a broken water pipe? Had the tornado hit the theater after all? Suddenly, the door swung open and a man walked out, telling us to "make room for the band!" The band? The band was coming up? The rumbling became louder, and transformed into the distinct sound of drums being played. The performers emerged from their basement shelter, cutting a narrow path through the crowd of spectators, awed by their proximity to these astounding musicians. I found myself face-to-face with the lead singer, who was enthusiastically playing an old snare drum. As they disappeared up the stares, my friends and I looked at each other, amazed by what had just happened.
We had come to see the band perform, not betting on the tornado warnings or the flooded streets we had to cross on our way home. But everything we endured that night was worth it, for that single moment when we saw our band walking up those steps, playing their drums. Their impromptu performance inspired me even more than their stage performance. They turned a scary, stormy night into a night of magic and excitement. A night I would otherwise rather forget I will now cherish forever. This was a concert that changed my life.