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Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Monday, August 29, 2005

 

Like mother, like daughter, like concerts

Last weekend marked a special occasion in my life as a mother. Last weekend I dropped off my two-year-old daughter at her very first concert, Dora the Explorer Pirate Adventure Live!

I have always loved going to concerts. The first concert I went to was Andy Gibb. I was in fifth grade, the year was 1978, and Gibb’s album Shadow Dancing had just been released. I wore out my aunt’s turntable and my grandmother’s nerves playing the album over and over again. I’ll be forever grateful to my aunt Mary for taking me to see him live in concert at Chicago’s Navy Pier. I don’t remember much of the show, but I remember how excited I felt and I remember the energy of the crowd. It was the biggest rush I had ever experienced in my life; I was hooked.

I’ve been attending concerts ever since that fateful day. I don’t know the exact number I’ve attended; I’ve never kept count. For a time in high school I saved ticket stubs, and if I still have the tattered envelope that contained them, in it I would find my Metallica ticket stubs, my Van Halen ticket stubs, my AC/DC ticket stubs including my AC/DC backstage pass, and many other ticket stubs from my days as a high school student who was mainly into heavy metal, sometimes into classic rock and punk, and always into a live show, no matter what the band.

So there I was last Saturday—25 years since my first concert—picking out the outfit my daughter would wear to her first concert. It was a momentous event, and the outfit had to be perfect. I chose her white Dora the Princess t-shirt with the matching lime green skort. Lime green socks and white mary janes completed the ensemble. As I dressed her I tried to remember what I wore to my first concert but I couldn’t.

What I do remember is what I wore the next day: my Andy Gibb concert t-shirt.

When I was growing up, it was standard procedure for any elementary, junior high, or high school student who attended a concert to wear a concert t-shirt from the event the next day at school. Doing so either confirmed what everybody already knew—that you were cool—or, if you normally were a less-than-popular kid, it gave you a day during which you were granted temporary cool status by the rest of the student body.

From being at the show and seeing my idols up on stage to wearing my concert t-shirts in a desperate attempt at coolness, everything about concerts has always been exciting to me. And whether the concert was Andy Gibb, the Dead Milkmen, or Nick Cave, I’ve enjoyed them all; the thrill has always been there. Every concert was an experience I wouldn’t trade. I want my daughter to have the same appreciation I do for music and for concert-going as an event. I want her to experience the thrill, too.

I took a picture of my daughter and husband when I dropped them off at the show. He is holding her, a bewildered-looking but happy little girl clutching a sippy cup. As I watched my firstborn child making her way through the throng of preschool-age concert goers and their parents, I could barely hold back my tears of pride and joy. And when my husband ran back to the car and asked, “Do you have any cash?” I knew I had come full circle in my life as an enthusiastic concert goer. The hand that so many times was on the receiving end of my mom’s crumpled twenties now handed over my last $40. Like mother, like daughter, I realized.

Smiling through my tears I shouted to my husband, “Don’t forget to get her a t-shirt!”