Lessons from a (really big!) rock concert...

lessons for clara

Dearest Clara, Your father and I make great effort to get out and about, but somehow, making it to big concerts doesn’t often make the cut.  We must have gone to hundreds of musical performances, but only about a handful of huge shows that take up an entire stadium.  There’s no one reason specifically, but I think it has to do with our preference to be part of a smaller group that can offer greater connections, and being part of a crowd of tens of thousands is just too much for us.  Or maybe it’s because that as we get older, we tend to prefer more predictability, a set start time, a chair to sit on . . . But this week we had the opportunity to get out of our usual routine, and it helped me remember the sheer wonder and spectacle than can be behind a big show.  It was still tremendous to be part of such an energy that reverberated among 20,000 people, with lights, and dancing, and a sense of community with others that know and love the same music.  When you combine great music with fantastic showmanship, the result is unforgettable.

I can’t say that we will be adjusting our schedule to see these types of shows any more often than is our usual cadence, but here is what I’ll keep in mind for the next one:

  • Think hard about those high heels: During my more carefree collegiate days, I don’t recall an event that I didn’t have heels on, and I don’t recall being all that bothered by it.  But now, nearly seven hours in heels, to include three hours of dancing and a 45 minute walk, made me wish I had brought a slightly bigger bag to hide those flats in.  All the same, if I had to go back, I’d still probably choose the heels.  I feel like they were appropriate for the artist we were seeing, and it made the night feel all the more special to get a little decked out---and they made your father look twice.
  • Bring ear plugs: I know, I know, I really sound like I’m getting old.  But trust me, your hearing is something to protect, as are all of your senses, limbs and head.  You might not even think that you need them because you’re sitting far away.  We certainly were supposed to be, and got last minute seats (allocated dance space?) on the main floor, and that bass will make you reconsider.  Earplugs are tiny items, just pack them---I guarantee that you’ll still be able to hear the music---and the bass---just fine.
  • Big concerts are best for big groups: We went just the two of us unexpectedly and we had a wonderful time, but sometimes, when a concert is really big, it’s because the artist is loved by many.  So many of the things that are part of the show, the interminable waiting for the show to start, yelling out the words to your favorite songs, reminiscing about favorite parts of the show, are best enjoyed as a group.  But don’t let not having a big group prevent you from going!
  • Get in the spirit: Dress up . . . listen to the music before leaving . . . Big concerts are occasions, and chances are you had to book tickets in advance and for a fair amount of money.  Enjoy the full experience of the show, and that starts way before the singer starts singing.
  • Book a taxi cab to meet you two blocks away:  When you leave a stadium full of 20,000 people, you’ll never get a cab, and public transportation isn’t any easier.  If you’re lucky enough to walk, do it (see first bullet).  Don’t underestimate how tired you’ll be after the show and better safe than sorry.  Book a cab to meet you a couple of blocks away from the venue in advance, that way your ride will be warm and waiting once you’re ready to go home.
  • Make time for icons: Some artists are just one of a kind---they might have a unique sound, they might have been around for years, their music spanning generations; they might just be spectacular performers.  You’ll figure out who they are pretty quickly.  But if it’s someone that you think your kids will ask you about one day, make the time and set aside the money to go see that.  There is something to be said for being part of that experience---all legends leave us eventually so make sure you got the chance to see the ones that influenced you.

All my love,