Even though he’s the ripe ‘ol age of three, until last weekend my son (and thus also myself) had yet to experience attending a children’s concert. Of course, overachievers that we are, when the opportunity finally presented itself we decided to visit two in one weekend.
Two. Children’s concerts.
In the span of two days.
Recognizing that the last few concerts I’ve attended usually involve a fair bit of alcohol (on my part), as well as a a fair bit of “medicinal drug-smoke” in the arena (other concert goers), I was somewhat intrigued by what a clear-headed experience might be like.
Believe me, by the end of the 2nd day I wished I was under the influence.
Our first “concert” was actually more of a mini viewing event of Bob the Builder, hosted by the fine people at the Calgary Home and Design Show (which, incidentally, was fantastic!). We attended with my mom, my aunt, and my nephew in tow, and because we were there as invited guests, we had guaranteed seats in the first or second row. But of course, that wasn’t good enough for us … if we’re doing Bob the Builder, we’re doing him right! *editor’s note: of course we were not actually doing Bob the Builder. That would be ridiculous and immature for me to joke about. We were merely watching him in a totally g-rated stage performance. Though, if you think about it, Bob probably would be an enthusiastic lover. “Can we do it? Yes we can!”. Imagine that cheering you on in the middle of your nightly transgressions.*
So we showed up an hour early. Just to be safe.
Annnnd … scored front-row seats, suckahs! Woot woot!
|"Uhhh ... you guys know the concert isn't until tomorrow, right?"|
|Yup, this is how we roll in OUR house|
There’s no such thing as being too early in my family.
We waited, and ate lunch, and watched the sound check, and waited some more. Gradually the rest of the seats began to fill and we knew “The Moment of Bob” was almost near.
|The boys were so excited for the picture they decided to wrestle joyfully.|
And when that moment came … all the kids damn near shit themselves with excitement.
|Three people actually pooped themselves when Bob walked out. And two of them were even children.|
My shy boy chose to sit ‘er out the first little while, content to just watch and observe.
|"Soon, my pretty. Soon"|
|Keelan, caught between some strange version of "Hear no evil, speak no evil"|
|"Can we build it? You're mother-effing RIGHTS we can!"|
At the end of it all, we got a chance to meet The Legend himself. While Avery couldn’t be bothered with the exceptionally-large man standing near her, the boys were a bit more hesitant to pose beside him. Actually, terrified would be a better term.
"We have stood in line for ten minutes to take this freaking picture so DAMNIT, WE'RE TAKING THIS PICTURE" I finally hissed while shoving them forward.
|"Bobbbbbb, stop! Tee hee! Stop, you cad, you're making me blush!"|
The photo op wound up looking like one of those weirdly-stiff and expressionless pics you see from the 1800s, save for Bob and myself.
|Gotta love suspicious children|
And that was it. Our first kids’ concert. Not bad, not bad at all.
Thinking about the upcoming day, I coached myself. It’ll be great, Andra! Look how much fun everyone had at the Bob the Builder concert … you’re actually paying for this next one, so it’ll be even better! You can totally do this (and then my new-found inner-Bob agreed “Yes, we can!”).
So on to Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon we went, this time with my friend and her daughter, Z.
On the drive over, Carmen and I made the decision to forgo purchasing any concert memorabilia. Our kids don’t need it we said. It’s a waste of money we said. The concert is gift enough we said.
And I’m proud to say we stuck by this. Truthfully.
Problem was, apparently no other parent had had the same discussion. And while the 3 year old (Mace) was oblivious to this fact, the precocious 4 year old (Z) was not.
“Mommm, can we buy a Toopy doll?” she quietly asked, eyes widening as she took in the spectacle of Toopys, Binoos, and glowing star wands around her.
“No Z, we can’t. I’m sorry” responded Carmen while Mace began shouting “Hey mom, look! That boy has a Toopy doll, and that boy has a Toopy doll and that girl has a Binoo one! Isn’t that neat?!”. Saying a little prayer that my son hadn’t put two-and-two together yet, we hustled into the theatre, our friends close on our heels and embroiled in a now-heated discussion about not buying stuffed animals.
Holy. eff. I thought, as our eyes beheld the auditorium for the first time.
|Three levels of Hell|
It was three levels packed full of kids, as far as the eye could see. Kids standing on seats, kids crying, kids running up and down the aisles with already-weary parents following behind them shouting “Ethan, are you saying you need to go to the bathroom? Ethan? Ethan, wait up! Ethan, stop! Ethan?”. Heavily-pregnant mothers were carefully lowering themselves into seats, while shell-shocked fathers stood nearby, surveying the chaos as hundreds upon hundreds of Toopy and Binoo toys waved to-and-fro by overeager 4 year olds. And above it all, rolling and boiling and filling the cavernous room, was Noise. I know no other way in which to describe it except with a capital N. Lots and lots of Noise.
And while Z took note of each and every toy in her close proximity, and Mason continued to marvel at the huge coincidence that every other child had brought the exact same Toopy doll from home, the lights went down. At last I thought, sinking into my seat in and prepared to let the magic of the show take me away.
The show began. The Noise and chaos … continued.
From beginning to end, there was an overall din that ebbed and flowed depending on who was on stage, but was always Loud. And I get it. Preschoolers are a noisy bunch. But honestly, the freedom of expression those children felt in that auditorium that day was unheard of.
|"I gave up my job at McDonald's for THIS gig?"|
“Der’s Binoo! It Binoo! Binoo and Toopy!! Hiiiiiiiiiiii, Binoo! Hiiiii! Mommy, he not heeear me! Mommy! ”
"I hafta peeeeeee! I hafta peeeeeee!”
The actors continued on as though nothing were amiss. Even when one of the microphones crapped out in the middle of the performance, rendering the singer voiceless, the show went on. It must go on, or those hundreds of kids would’ve rushed the stage.
The final 10 minutes were a mix of squiggling bodies, waving arms and feet, anguish-ridden screams and a variety of horrific odours. Carmen and I watched as family after family bailed early, dragging their moaning and overtired offspring up the narrow aisles to the relative sanctuary of their minivans. We stayed until the end, not because our children wanted to (by that point, both Mason and Z were ready to go home), but because we could not tear ourselves away from the madhouse before our very eyes. It was horrifying and intoxicating all in one.
As we left the concert, Z was still tearful about not receiving a toy, and Mason had suddenly (finally) clued in: “Hey, wait a minute mom. Mom, wait! Look! They’re buying those toys here! They didn’t bring them from home, they bought them here! Can I get one mom? Can I? Mom? Mom!”.
And there you have it. Our first experience at a children’s concert series in a nutshell (ok, a very large nutshell).
Even though this happened over a week ago, after writing this post and reliving the memories I still feel like I need a drink. *shudder*
Have you made it to a children’s concert yet? If so, which one and how was it?