Bring it on. My kid’s 10 and I figure it’s high time he got his first rock concert under his belt. After all he’s a little metal head like his dad, and is pretty crazy about Green Day and My Chemical Romance. I’ve even gotten him into Black Sabbath and Radiohead.
But, aside from his recording-artist uncle, he hasn’t really been to a live show yet. We’re changing that.
How to start? My first criteria was that he fare better than I did for my first concert. I was in seventh grade and they gave out promotional tickets for the old Westchester Premier Theater. The performer was country-crooner-turned-casino-act “Mac Davis,”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZNWz00R3Ng&feature=related with comedian Gabe Kaplan â€” in his pre-Welcome Back Kotter days â€” as the opening act.
It got better after that. Linda Ronstadt was next, and before you knew it it was Santana, the Allman Brothers, Kiss, etc. By my last year of high school, we were at the old Palladium on 14th Street almost every weekend, watching everyone from Van Halen to Twisted Sister, and whoever else showed up to play that day.
Now it’s my son’s turn. And it’s just going to be our own thing, as the other half of our blending family â€” my girlfriend and her little boy â€” will hold down the homefront for the night. For the two of us, I think it’s good bonding time in a “coming-of-age” kind of way, although I suspect other divorced and single parents do these kinds of things as some sort of compensation for time lost or something. To me, it’s really just a great thing to share with my son.
So, the first thing I sought in planning it was advice. The “Family Education”:http://www.familyeducation.com/home website offered a list of suggestions on “what to keep in mind”:http://fun.familyeducation.com/music-performances/family-time/36505.html in such a situation. Some of it was common sense, some of it was silly. But it was advice nonetheless.
The next step was, where to go? I actually considered the Van Halen show at Madison Square Garden tonight. But the Garden was never great on acoustics, is kinda big, and it’s hard to get close to the stage. Besides, decent tickets for this show would’ve run me about $300 a pop. So, that was out. As it is, I had just missed a golden opportunity to take my boy to the Garden: My Chemical Romance wrapped up their tour there on May 9, about one week before I got the rock concert bug in my head. Smaller venues were okay, but they’re mostly just glorified bars which are fine for me, but not for a 10-year-old.
Ultimately, I narrowed it to three sites, including the Beacon Theater and the Jones Beach Theater. The third was “Radio City Music Hall,”:http://www.radiocity.com and that’s where we’re headed. That’s not to say that we may not pick up additional shows at Jones Beach or the Beacon later this summer.
Finally, what show to catch? Here’s what we picked: “Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band”:http://www.radiocity.com/events/ringo-starr.html at the end of next month. I mean, the guy’s a former Beatle, has fun on stage, and puts together a fun group of musicians every time he comes around. This year he’s playing with, among others, Edgar Winter, Billy Squier and Colin Hays from Men at Work. My son loves Winter’s classic, “Frankenstein,” and the rest of it will be kind of a trip for me, since I listened to some of those guys in my teens and 20s.
There are still all these tiny worries dancing around my head, from the show running too late, to someone blowing smoke in his face all night, to drunken behavior around us â€” all relatively minor issues to me in the larger scope of things. Mostly, I’m kind of excited myself to see any kind of show after several years without one.
So, how’d I do? I gotta think it’s gonna be a thrill for him to just be at a show, let alone for someone legendary like Ringo. I still have it in me to take him to something more hard-edged down the line, and particular would love one guitar hero or another, as my son is learning to play. But, for now, we’ll see how it goes with the Beatle.