Seeing a Ghost

Yeah, Grandmaster Flash graced the ones and twos at Ghostbar this weekend. But who cares? The people there didn't seem to.

The dance floor crowd, the people who seem to know Flash, is responsive. They giddily thrust their hands in the air as Flash asks the crowd to show its appreciation for old-school hip-hop. For a moment, you forget that you're in Ghostbar. For a moment, you feel like you're witnessing something special.

Unfortunately, though—and, retrospectively, maybe this should have been expected—that feeling soon fades. With the selection of a single song—Lil Wayne's "Lollipop"—Flash's luster is gone. The next few minutes of his set signal further demise. His interaction with the crowd dwindles. His shared appreciation for old-school hip-hop with his audience seems forgotten. For the remainder of the evening, Flash's song selection isn't really all that different from what Ghostbar's own in-house DJ would surely be playing on this night. He even cuts and scratches on his digital turntable with less frequency.

Worse, he loses the crowd's attention. The once-crowded dance floor begins thinning out.

When the drinks cost this much, I guess "making it rain" is no big deal...
Hance Taplin
When the drinks cost this much, I guess "making it rain" is no big deal...

It's sad more than anything else. There's nothing necessarily memorable about the remainder of his two-hour performance. Sure, the crowds leaving Ghostbar at the end of this night may go home and—if they were among those who understood the historical significance of the guest of honor—brag to their friends that they got to see Grandmaster Flash perform live. But, in a way, they didn't get anything more out of the night than the ones who didn't pay attention to Flash's set got.

They, like those other unappreciative members of the audience, got a story. And that's it, really.

Yet there weren't any disgruntled parties sulking about and complaining about that fact. Again, that's quite unfortunate. In exchange for a story, no one minded that the performance they'd just seen was underwhelming at best. The crowds seemed content that, at the end of this night, they'd be able to tell their friends that, not only did they spend the night at Ghostbar, but they also spent the night seeing Grandmaster Flash.

Maybe that's the only reason people came to Ghostbar on this night: For the impression of a once-in-a-lifetime event, rather than the actual experience of one.

Oh well. After all, image is everything. And, keenly enough, the people behind Ghostbar know this.

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