My husband and I took our two oldest kids to their first real concert a few days ago. It was Paramore — haven’t heard of them? Well, look them up — it was great. But, the best part was being involved in what is sure to be a great memory for the kids.
I remember my first real concert — Chic, 1978, I was ten (you remember, Aahh Freak Out!). I went with my best friend and her dad. We stood on the chairs and danced and thought that it couldn’t get any better than that moment in time. Music plays such an important role in all our memories — good , sad, scared. Music is always there. I love those songs that when I hear them, I immediately go back to that time — to those memories. I can hear the sounds of my friends voices, I can smell the scents that were floating around (which in many cases was Obsession perfume mixed with draft which is the reason I can no longer stomach either one).
I was driving around recently and heard “Brown Eyed Girl” — there I was, sitting at that pub in Memphis with all my girlfriends, singing as loud as we could on any given Wednesday night. Never underestimate the power of an 80’s movie soundtrack. Those sounds make me long for parachute pants and mullets. I can always find a good 80’s movie on cable and when I do, most likely, “Melt With You” will be somewhere in the soundtrack. When I hear it — my thoughts go straight to every high school dance I ever attended. Then there’s always the more obscure sounds — like every time I hear a Grateful Dead song, I have an unrelenting need to twirl around with my head down and my hands waving in that weird circular pattern.
My mom told me of a story from her college days. The Beatles were playing a show nearby and somehow a group of girls found out what hotel they were staying at. When the girls arrived at the hotel they were, of course, turned away. The girls came up with an alternate plan. Unfortunately, it involved scaling a wall and my mother had NO athletic ability — at all. So, she went back to her dorm and, so the story goes, her friends wound up in John Lennon’s hotel room. I tried to convince my mother that her friends were lying to her, that this never actually happened. But, she always stood by the story — and always recounted it when a Beatles song was playing (with much longing to have been the girl who sat on John Lennon’s bed).
Music was there at some very important times in my life. Bryan Adams, “Everything I Do” was playing when I fell in love with my husband (I have it on a cassette although I haven’t owned a cassette player in a few years). I can’t hear Anthony Skinner sing “Tall Angels” without remembering my father’s funeral; or Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise” without remembering my mother’s funeral. Whatever the memories, music is always there. Weaving its way around, filling all my thoughts and senses.
When I was in college, my brother was touring with a popular singer. We took my grandmother to the concert — she was probably 82 at the time. We had to buy her ear plugs and we brought a cushioned seat for her to sit on. But she was there. Watching and listening (albeit with her hands over her ear plugged ears) and laughing — with us. We share music with people we love and people we don’t know.
So, taking my kids to their first real concert was a memory for me that I very selfishly created. I will always be a part of that story when they retell it to their friends, and their children, and their grandchildren. The downside to it all is that their favorite Paramore song is called Ignorance. So, every time they hear that song, it will remind them of their dear old mom — great.