Monday, July 23, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything - The P90's First Family Concert Experience

Dawes, at Long's Park in Lancaster, PA

I wrote a few months ago about how Mrs. P90 bought Newport Folk Fest tickets for my birthday and how we were going to take the whole family and how it would be an amazing first concert experience for the P90 girls. Well, about three weeks ago, we got cold feet and sold the tickets.

I was sad to sell the tickets. But considering the weekend would have cost us $2,000+ all said and done, I consoled myself by repeating “I’d rather regret not going, than regret going.”

A second consolation prize was that Dawes (one of the bands we were most excited to see), was playing a free show at a park about 1.5 hours away from our house.

Random – Dawes playing a free show at a park in Lancaster, PA. How did this happen? For my local readers, imagine Centennial Park. That’s pretty much about the size of this park, and the stage wasn’t a whole lot bigger. Either way, I give mad props to the Long’s Park Amphitheater Foundation.

So yesterday, we packed up the blue whale (pet name for the light blue Toyota Sienna that replaced the Arctic Blue Sport Wagon) and headed to Lancaster, PA. We got there about two hours before the show and were surprised to see a crowd had already gathered. We claimed a space near the stage and set off to find food and shade.

We killed some time at a playground and with 30 minutes till show time returned to our spot on the lawn. At this point, the three year-old turns to Mrs. P90 and asks “Is this almost over? I’m ready to go home.” The concept of a live band seems to have been lost on her and since there were roadies on stage and music playing, she though that was “the band.”

A few moments later, Dawes came on and the girls handled it well. They danced, they played, the three year-old climbed on Mrs. P90 and did what looked like a toddler version of crowd surfing. The eldest was bothered by the volume, but this is the girl that is afraid of the intercom in a store.  And she eventually rallied and even spent one song (Coming Back to a Man) on my shoulders up near the front of the stage.

But by the ninth or tenth song in the set the girls were losing their interest and their patience. Like the 21st century parents we are, we handed them our phones and they played with the Easy Bake Oven app.

Were we sickened that our daughters were playing with smart phones while one of the best bands around was playing in front of them? Yes. Were we doing everything we could to catch as many songs as possible? Yes. We have a new credo. We’re reclaiming our lives. We’ve bent to our children’s wills for long enough. They are now old enough to be agreeable and do some things we want to do.

As the band kicked into Peace in the Valley, the three-year old began climbing on Mrs. P90 and doing something which looked not unlike toddler moshing. And at this point, I saw what we refer to as “belligerEmy” flash across her face. I realized that while there may be Peace in the Valley, there would be no more peace on the lawn. We quickly gathered up our belongings and raced back to the blue whale as she cried because she wasn’t holding her blankie. A woman in the crowd even offered her a balloon animal dog to ease her pain. She would have none of it. A threshold had been crossed. We were in the downward spiral of a full on meltdown.

We pulled out of the lot as the band broke into “A Little Bit of Everything.” It would have been nice to hear the last few songs, but being a parent is priority one over being a music fan. And all things considered, I saw one of my favorite bands play eleven songs in the company of my three favorite people. I’d say that accounts for a little bit of everything.

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