There is a scene from the TV show "Freaks and Geeks" in which the gang heads out to see "Laser Floyd" at the Laser Dome, but they are aghast to find out that the Pink Floyd soundtrack they were expecting had been switched to southern rock hits. Set in 1980, this was a particularly evocative series for me, as I graduated from high school that year. And I went to see Laser Floyd a good many times "back in the day." With a bunch of other geeks.
That's why it was so exciting to get a chance to relive some of that experience when the local planetarium up the hill decided to bring Laserium back. I flinched initially at the notion, imagining that the reality of my circumstances would leave me wanting something more than shiny lights zipping about a round ceiling. It was the urging of my wife and friends that I decided to take a chance and try to bring back this little shard of my youth. Would it disappoint? Would they play "Ghost Riders In The Sky" with dancing cactus and lariat twirling cowboys etched in laser light?
As it turned out, we decided to begin our day with "Laser Holidays," a collection of seasonal hits accompanied with a selection of dancing colors and shapes, including some unfortunately cheesy animations that left nothing to the imagination: Santa Claus waving to us from the ceiling of the planetarium? Is this what I was going to get when the lights went down and "Dark Side of the Moon" started up?
I made my way over to the Laserist's booth. I told Danny, our laserist, how much I had enjoyed the show. I kept my mild discontent to myself as he explained that the holiday show wasn't his best, since he had only had a few rehearsals to get it down. He suggested that his Floyd would be much more impressive. When we came back a few hours later, we were not disappointed.
Just sitting in a big room with an excellent sound system listening to "Dark Side of the Moon" would have been a treat, but Danny had obviously brought all his twenty-seven years of Laserium experience to this show. It was 1980 all over again. The multi-colored pattern that served as a moving cloud of light was punctuated by a coil of yellow that danced to the sax solo of "Money" was a particular highlight. When the final mumblings of "Dark Side" faded out, I was content. Then came the rushing wind that I recognized as the opening of "One of These Days" from "Meddle." Danny pulled out all the stops for this one, and as encores go, it filled my nostalgia cup to the brim. I'm glad that it's pretty dark inside the planetarium so only I could enjoy the goofy grin that spread across my face.
Who knows, I might even come back for southern rock night.