A Reflection: Experiencing My Daughter’s First Live Concert
If there's anything i'm particularly proud of when it comes to my daughter, it's her passion for music. The kid has always had an ear for it, was dancing before she was walking or talking, and was enrolled in baby music classes before she was two years old (by the way, did you know Aaron Lewis' mom, yes AFL from Staind, has a music program in Western MA where I lived when my daughter was born - story for another day I guess).
Anyway, those who listen to my show regularly know that my girl loves, and I mean LOVES, AJR. She was first introduced to them at age 2 back in 2018 when WRRV was promoting their show in Middletown at the Orange County Fair (and you know they played for us at Sessions earlier that year, right?). So, it's been a few years of "Alexa, play AJR" in my house.
We bought a virtual ticket to their "One Spectacular Night" show in December, and rocked out in our living room to our favorites, and got to hear a few new tracks off their upcoming album OK Orchestra. Speaking of the album, when it came out in March we stayed up EXTRA late to give it a listen as soon as it was released.
Fast forward to Spring, when they announced tour dates for 2022 we jumped on the fan club pre sale and scored tickets for the May 2022 show at Forrest Hills Stadium in Queens. Our year plus countdown to the concert began, and to a five and a half year old, this seemed like eternity (I was reminded of this daily).
Then my girl had the highlight of her little life when she got a shout out from the guys during our digital WRRV sessions - lucky!
Now it's July and i'm scrolling Instagram in the studio and see a tease for more AJR concert dates, including some for 2021, and i'm all about it. Turns out they added more shows, including one, on September 23rd in Albany, the day before her 6th birthday.
Enter mom of the year mode.
Knew I had to get her those tickets, went in again with the fan club pre sale and ended up with orchestra seats, score.
So our concert was last Thursday night at the Times Union Center, after a last minute (talking night before) venue change from down the street at the Palace Theater. Decked out in her homemade AJR fan-girl shirt we made the trip to Albany and checked into our hotel down the street from the venue.
We rocked out to AJR as we walked to the venue, and my girl turned into a full concert professional, making a bee-line for the merch table as soon as we got through security and COVID compliance checks.
We found our seats, less than 20 rows from the stage, and she turned to me and said "this is the best day ever" - then announced to the entire section of concert-goers that it was her birthday and she was going to "marry Ryan from AJR." She became an immediate superstar and I was living for every moment.
After the two openers, it was almost time for AJR to hit the stage, and WAY beyond her normal bed time, and you could tell she was pumped. Wide eyes, looking around, taking in the sights of her first real 'rock show.'
House lights and music went down, stage lights and monitors went up, she stood up on her chair and started screaming at the top of her lungs while I just sat back and watched, the excitement of seeing your absolute favorite band for the very first time, through my daughters eyes.
She knew every word, to every song, yes, even the curses...and the people in the seats around us kept commenting on her love for these guys and how much fun she was having. At one point she was up on someone's shoulders and managed to crowd surf a few rows up in hopes of getting their attention, but then returned to me with a smile when it didn't happen.
When they announced the final song of the set she immediately started pouting, telling me they forgot about 'way less sad' (she's good, and pays attention for sure) and I explained to her what an encore was. I watched her through the last few songs of the encore, and the incredible finale, and just took in those moments, and even though we were surrounded by thousands of other people, for a few minutes, it felt like it was just us. She picked up some confetti from the finale and we took a picture in front of the stage.
We walked back to our hotel in silence, I could tell she was processing.
"I can't believe this day happened, mom, i'm so sad it's over" - that's what I heard as she collapsed into the bed, and it was all I needed to hear.
I guess the moral of the story is that I feel really lucky to have been able to give her this experience, as I have so many incredible memories from all of the concerts I went to with my parents growing up. I'm glad my parents passed down to me their love for music, and that thankfully, I was able to pass it along to my girl.