The Art of Concert Going: Leaving Your Kids With A Musical Legacy

December 9, 2013 in Jade

JW Jones performs at the Ottawa Bluesfest.

JW Jones performs at the Ottawa Bluesfest.

When was the last time you went to a live concert with one of your children?

Was it Dora Live or The Wiggles with your four-year old? Or perhaps you took your kids to the local Folk Festival. Maybe like me you have cool parents who buy tickets for a girls night out to see Sarah McLachlin or for the whole family, grandchildren included, to see Neil Young.

My dad in particular is really cool. He took me to see my first Stones concert in Toronto. He took me to the JVC jazz festival in France where I got to meet Herbie Hancock. While in France we also saw Eric Clapton with Phil Collins playing the drums.  My father and I spent the night camping outside the site of the SARS Concert in Toronto. We slept on the grass, under the stars and planned how we would get front row centre. And we did. That is one thing that my dad is good at. This past summer my sister and I decided to take him to the Ottawa Bluesfest to see B.B. King. It was our Father’s Day gift to him. It was an appropriate way to thank him for being such a great dad, after all, he taught us the art of concert-going.

The best things to carry in life are the gifts that we can carry forward.

I remember the best concert experience I have ever had. It was in the early 90′s when Robbie Krieger, guitarist from the Doors, came to Kingston to play a small venue called Stages. I spent most of my teen years fawning over Jim Morrison. I listened to my father’s records and postered my walls with images of Morrison and The Doors. Being under age meant a few things in my education of The Doors. It meant having my dad accompany me to the Oliver Stone movie about the Doors as it was rated restricted. I was mortified to be sitting beside him when the restricted material played but when I heard Krieger was coming to town I knew I had to go with my dad. First of all, I was underage and second, it only seemed right somehow. I will never forget that concert experience. Krieger played a simple couple of sets with just his band and moderate lighting. Not like the concert I saw last night….

Walking Travel

MGMT is my sons favourite band. Their music is an evolution from Acid Rock to Acid Pop Rock. The more I heard the strains of guitar licks and synthesizer sounds streaming from my son’s bedroom, in the car and his iPod the more I took a liking to the music. At times it is like Pink Floyd meets Frank Zappa. They pull you in with smooth rhythmic melodies that put you in a poetic mood, then they lay into the full rock sounds all the while fusing psychedelic inklings that are reminiscent of Quicksilver Messenger Service or The Grateful Dead.

The art of concert going is something I want now to pass on to my son.

My father got the ball rolling last year when he took my son to New Jersey to see the Rolling Stones play with Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga.

I stepped up to the plate last night and took my son and his friend to see MGMT and their incredible opening band Kuroma.

We had a truly amazing concert experience:

  • Freezing cold weather accompanied our wait in line to get in, and our wait in line for a cab after the show.
  • Getting on the guest list thanks to my awesome friend Bill.
  • Watching people of all ages squeeze in to every possible space and feeling the  energy of the crowd.
  • Buying t-shirts.
  • Bill leading us away from the mosh pit so we could watch the show from the balcony.
  • Dancing and singing along with the band and discovering great new music.
  • Having flashbacks of my youth while watching the girls in long skirts and flowers in their hair.
  • Watching plumes of smoke rise from the crowd and smelling that familiar floral scent that accompanies most concerts….
  • Watching the crowd surfers.
  • Reviewing the show with my son and his friend on the drive back home from Toronto.

Yes, we did a lot of watching. My son and his friend are just a little to young to participate with the activities of the crowd but they got an incredible lesson on what to expect at a concert.

What did I learn from the experience?

My son is growing too fast. Hanging out with him last night will probably be the last cool thing I get to do with him until he has kids of his own and I am buying the family tickets to see a concert.

I also feel that I left a good imprint in his memory. A page in the beginner’s guide to concert-going. The start of a musical legacy generated years ago by my piano playing Grandmother who passed on a love of music to my dad who then passed on that love to me, who is now generating that love for my own kids.

Take your kids to see live music. It is a great family tradition.