Being “in the moment” is not easy.
Tonight I will miss seeing Switchfoot live for the first time since October 2010. I need a concert fund.
Some form of Jon Foreman ( SF, Fiction Family with Sean Watkins at TWLOHA, other…) comes to Philadelphia at least once a year, and my daughter and I have seen him every time (except that free summer outdoor appearance when we both had coksackie). We are both so so disappointed. Seeing Switchfoot is just So. Much. Fun.
They are a superlative live band, owing to almost constant touring. They just play so well. And at some point during the night, Jon Foreman will make his way through the crowd– he obviously loves to do this. If climbing is involved, all the better. If you’re disappointed that you got stuck up in the balcony, be assured that Mr. Foreman will be passing your way during the evening.
I was born shy, introverted and self-conscious. I struggled through every day of public school; I felt like my life depended on not being noticed. But now, as a middle aged, homeschooling, evangelical Christian mom, I have thrown off self-consciousness.
There are few things I enjoy more than being immersed in a tight crowd of strangers, up against the stage for a live performance seeing a really good band
A few years ago, I finally realized that at a rock show, no one is looking at me, no one can hear me no matter how loud I sing with the band, and I should just enjoy it. I can forget myself, and just have fun.
I like to politely but firmly worm my way to the front, as close to the stage as possible. There I must stand , holding my place, for the rest of the night. So I might be standing there for 4 hours, because it may be two hours before the band I came to see appears. At a general admission show, moving means losing your spot.
At a good live show, the real, actual, authentic music, played by the real authors of that music, is happening right in front of me. I’m IN the experience along with the band and the people around me. If you are close to the stage, the band members can see you. Maybe they talk to you from onstage. They play for the bunch of you, for tonight a circle of close friends singing the same language. You, the band, and the other crowd members around you are all having an absolute blast together.
It’s a rare chance to be in the moment. It’s hard to be in the moment as an adult, isn’t it? Children are able to be fully present in the now. We lose that ability as we mature. It’s one thing I wish I hadn’t lost. My mind is always preoccupied with ten things other than what I’m doing now.
Concert-going takes a lot of energy. For me, it’s an expenditure way outside my energy envelope. But all that effort focuses my mind and helps put me into the immediacy of the experience. Then there is the enormous level of sound. It all helps to blast me into the right now. To experience this fun thing right now to the utmost.
Here’s a disclaimer. I owe my Switchfoot fandom to my daughter Lucy, who is the real and foremost Switchfoot fan. And the real Jon Foreman fan. Without her discerning ears I would never have discovered them!
And by the way, Lucy is by far my favorite live performer, and my most-often concert partner.
But I do seem to love a live show more than my kids. At times, most of them would rather hang in the back. As an art school kid I saw bands like Adam Ant, the Pretenders, the B-52s, Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, Robert Fripp, Bowie and Roxy Music; and clubbing, saw locals like The Speedies, The Tights, Eugene Chadbourne (and his rake), Pearl Harbor and the Explosions, Bunnydrums, and many I’ve forgotten. Those were the days when real punk was just done, and was morphing into new wave. Those were my old days.
I didn’t have nearly so much fun in those old days. I enjoyed it a lot, but I squandered chances to get up close, dance, jump up and down and yell.
In the last few years, I’ve seen Switchfoot (4x), Fiction Family, the B-52s, Kevin Max, Danzig, Needtobreathe, Relient K, Family Force 5 (2x), Muse, John Mark McMillan, and we’re about to see The Lone Bellow for the third time. (My ticket is a birthday gift.)
Some notable items from my recent resume:
With my daughter Eva I saw Danzig with a migraine. I hope to see more with Eva, without migraine.
I danced with Kevin Max. Story: Very small space, very small audience, and he couldn’t help seeing me. I had a migraine and I yawned, even though I was having the time of my life. In the middle of the song, he says,” Don’t go to sleep baby!”, jumps down to the floor and starts dancing with me while he’s singing Stranded 72.5. So much fun.
Most of the people we’ve seen, except for the mega- successful, have been kind enough to come out after the show to talk to us. We’ve enjoyed meeting The Lone Bellow members: Kanene Pipkin, Zach Williams and Brian Elmquist, Soul Glow Activatur and Chapstique of Family Force 5, Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Drew Shirley of Switchfoot, Kevin Max (who thanked us personally about 5 times at that tiny venue), Sean Watkins of Fiction Family and Nickel Creek. Without exception, all were very kind. They’re just very talented regular people, after all.
I’m thankful I have had a chance to learn to relax –in public! Now I’ll be looking for other ways to forget myself and enjoy.
Next: my daughter Eva is taking me to see NIN this summer!
UPDATE: I guess we’re eclectic. My daughter Lucy has just gifted me with tickets to see Nickel Creek next Friday! We two will be in the orchestra section of the Tower Theater. This is, of course, a really special event because they broke up in 2009 and are doing a limited tour, probably never to be a unit again. It’s a chance to see three artists who’ve gone on to great solo things…together.
Then, on May 9, a bunch of us will see The Aquabats, which is predicted to be super fun!
And there’s still Nine Inch Nails to see with Eva, who is also making me a gift of the tix.
I have great kids!