Thursday, June 14, 2007
In the vicinity of our hotel – the Silk Road Lodge – is a number of large, heavy, over designed concrete buildings. One in particular always peak our interest because there are always lots of cars and taxis parked on the sidewalk outside. We thought it was a casino, and part of it may well be. I always thought it was a municipal building because of the large sculpture of a man carrying a horse (you know, to illustrate the power of the people).
Last night Ji, Nastya and I passed this building on our searched for a restaurant to have dinner. We noticed a few teenagers hanging out outside and music coming from the inside. This was the first time we’ve seen the lights on in the place so we decided to investigate. Nastya peered through the window but Ji and I went to the entrance. A woman at the door said something in Russian but we just gave her a blank look (it turns out she was collecting tickets). She then let out a “whatever” sigh and instructed the young security guard to let us in. We followed the sound of the music into what turned out to be an enormous concert hall. Two levels and packed with screaming teenagers, babies, middle-aged women and a grandmother or two. On stage was a young boy in jeans and shirt belting out a tune. His backup dancers – girls also in jeans and red t-shirts trying to keep in sync with the choreography. But he was just the opening act. After singing one last song, the MC came out and introduced the headliner. The crowd was screaming – the room got pitch black. Suddenly the music started and flashlight-wielding girls danced on stage. Then the singer, dressed in what looked like a Christmas tree-lights coat, joined them. With every gesture of a lit arm the crowd screamed. We stayed till the end of the song, then had enough. Now we know.