When I was in 8th grade, I went to the local Catholic high school to see a band called 805. Not “Eight Hundred Five” or “Eight Zero Five” but “Eight O Five.” I had seen a couple of big rock concerts by then – the Doobie Brothers comes to mind – but this was the first loud rock band I had ever seen right up close.
805 gave me my first case of tinnitus, such that my ears rang for hours afterward and didn’t stop until I was fast asleep . But that isn’t even what was most memorable about the show; instead, it was the flash pods they used.
The band started with Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9,” a song which, until the time of this writing, I had always assumed was titled “Carnival Nine.” Sometime during the song, with the stage lights low, we teens were blinded by two huge explosions of light, and when we finally were able to see again, many seconds later, the singer was standing between flaming torches and had a boa constrictor around his neck.
Ha! That’s totally awesome! My friends and I, who were utterly sober, had just had our minds blown by this band thanks to the light show. A few years later, when I formed a rock band with friends, the flash pod effect became central, as we sought to blind our audience temporarily to blow their minds. Frankly, making them deaf for a few moments would have been more considerate, but that’s just my opinion.
How many bands have I seen since the 1970s and completely forgotten, while 805 remains a vivid memory? Probably hundreds. Thanks to the internet, you too can see a little of 805, (and I encourage you to try finding them using some other search engine than Google).
Alas, I have found no video footage of the flames and boa constrictor.