"I'm going to wear my new DMB hat and tshirt to my birthday party so all my friends know I went to the Dave concert." (That was Kai.)
So I think we can count our last stop in Charlotte for the boys' first Dave Matthews Band concert as a success.
Everyone who knows us knows we are huge Dave fanatics, as evidenced here, here, and (the one that started it all) here. We look forward to our annual weekends away in Tampa and West Palm, and it's gotten to the point where friends don't even ask to tag along because, as one friend put it, it's like a "religious experience for you guys." So when the boys asked us last year to take them, we were very hesitant. Not only was it going to be expensive, but the shows are 3 hours long and let's be honest, this is not Lady Gaga or Justin Timberlake. There are no fireworks or costumes or dance routines. And what about all the drunk and/or high people? Were we going to have to spend most of the concert shielding their eyes or diverting their attention? And I will admit that we were not jumping at the idea of giving up one of our "Just Us" annual concerts. (I know, selfish parents.)
We decided that rather than take them to one of our sacred Florida shows, we would find one along the route of this trip. And although they were excited, we assured them beforehand that it was okay if they got bored or tired or didn't like the show; we would not be disappointed or give them a hard time. (In fact, we even told them we would give them our phones to play games!)
Well, did we completely underestimate these kids! Angry Birds was not requested even once.
Aidan Kai, who we were sure would be the least into it, begged for a hat and wore it the whole show (and has worn it with his pajamas for most of the 15 hour drive home today). He repeatedly asked for the binoculars and used them with a great intensity on his little chubby face. He would grab me or Daddy over to him and squeeze us, his face all scrunched up against ours, watching and swaying.
Ben actually had 2 of his 3 favorite songs played, and he recognized them and sang along with some of them. He insisted on standing the whole time to prove his pit worthiness. And at one point I spotted him doing some air guitar and air drums.
|I couldn't get as many pictures of Ben because he was over in his own "space" and didn't like to be bothered too much during the experience...ah, Mama's boy for sure.
Both of them woo-hooed and clapped and threw their arms up in the air when the songs were over. Those two actually stood the whole three hours, never once complaining about the noise, the lights, the seats, or the ridiculous heat.
And every single person around us was so over-the-top nice and accomodating: people would move over so they could see better, come over and tell the boys they had the "coolest parents," high five and fist bump them when a good song came on... "Your boys are rockstars," one guy declared as he walked past us on his way out.
The truth is it didn't matter to us whether they loved it as much as they did or not. They asked to go, and we wanted to "show them" what this was all about for us. All we care about is that they find things in life--be it a band, a sport, a cause--that they are passionate about, that brings them sheer joy, like this music does for us. And, hopefully, watching us and everyone around us grinning and dancing and hollering will have taught them a little bit more about that.
So because the band never plays the same setlist, you never know what you're going to hear (which is why so many of us go to multiple shows each year). And last year, I had so wanted to hear one particular song, but they didn't play it during any of the concerts we attended. Last night, it was the first song of the encore. And as we stood there, all huddled up, our boys jamming on the seats next to us, listening to the lyrics, we felt like it was the perfect grand finale for our trip:
"...See you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
So we pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We'll make the best of what's around
Turns out not where
but who you're with that really matters..."