But the real culture shock was musical. Because apart from the 90 minutes of choral Christmas celebration superbly directed by James Brash, yesterday was Beefheart day.
Safe As Milk, Lick My Decals Off, Mirror Man, Clear Spot, Spotlight Kid and of course Trout Mask Replica - I played and am playing them all.
But as I do, I'm musing about the nature of such a great talent. Because Don Van Vliet was, much of the time, a total shit.
By his own admission, he studied brain-washing techniques. He abused his Magic Band members, including greats such as Ry Cooder, physically and mentally. He signed them on contracts which meant they earned nothing for entire tours. He rehearsed them unmercifully. He starved them. And kept them in a state of virtual imprisonment.
But the results, on record and on stage, were sensational, a sound which was unique and inimitable: the range of that voice, the rhythmic innovation, the Delta blues, the soul, folk, rock, free jazz - "the centre cannot hold/mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".
I missed his tour in 1968, but made up for it in 1972 - London, Leicester, Coventry and Warwick on successive nights. Ed Mirimba, Rockette Morton, Zoot Horn Rollo, Alex St Clair Snoofah. Wow. In May of that year, I stood in the mud in a small village in Lancashire called Bickershaw and watched him blow the crowd away. (That was Saturday night; Sunday night, the Dead did the same. They don't do festivals like that anymore.)
In 1978, the Captain released a live album entitled "I'm going to do what I wanna do".
I guess he did. And I'm grateful I was around some of the time.
Today's listening: the Captain, complete works.