Aug 042020

In a nearby thread, my close personal friend E Pluribus Gergely mentioned his regret over having missed The Specials‘ show in Philadelphia in June 2019. It was a rare show I didn’t regret missing, and better yet, I took my oldest son to the show with me. It was our first show together where he could be among the drinking-age crowd. Thinking about this made me realize that many of us are probably old enough now to have a great concert experience or two with our kids. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard stories direct from a few of you. And perhaps we were all once young enough to have had a cool (or not-so-cool, as I know is the case with Townsman andyr) experience of being taken to a real-life concert by our parents. Share away!

I was uplifted by the Specials’ show, and my son loved it, too, which raised my spirits even higher. He’d already developed a taste for third-generation ska, which I try not to be too didactic over, so it was important to get him closer to the real thing. Was this the full-blown reunited Specials I promised I’d hold out the rest of my life to see, at least a reunited Specials involving both Terry Hall and Jerry Dammers? No. (How does a guy like Dammers pay his bills after all these years seemingly doing almost nothing? What do I know about the daily lives of Dammers, Tom Verlaine, et al. That’s a topic for another day…)


  9 Responses to “Memorable Parent-Child Concert Experiences”

  1. BigSteve

    I assumed Dammers was surviving on songwriting royalties. He did write Ghost Town.

  2. I guess his songwriting pays some bills, and I read that Dammers DJs and leads a Sun Ra-type orchestra. Whether by choice or lack of financial resources, he is still missing more teeth than a hockey player.

  3. cherguevara

    The Spatial AKA.
    I don’t know how active this group is – I dig it, though.

  4. They sound great. The Arkestra schtick is very well executed. The horns have that same weird out of tune vibe that the Sun Ra units always have and…the outfits are really an upgrade over the usual Arkestra get ups.

    I would love to see these guys.

  5. cherguevara

    Growing up in Germantown, my parents always regarded the Sun Ra folks (and Rufus Harley) as local kooks. Wish I’d been objective enough to see past that perspective. My (former) brother-in-law had a music shop, those guys used to come in, always broke, desperate for help before some gig, which only reinforced my parents’ bias.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    No wonderful parent/child rock experiences with my folks: they are classical music buffs, so I can share some positive chamber music experiences that we shared. My father, now in his mid-80’s, continues to sing in a choral group (now remotely) and I’ve been guilted in to attending those performances for years. Every now and then, there is a piece that really moves me, but the only benefit has been seeing how happy my father has been to have us in the audience. Which is a big something.

    Re. the Specials, Mr. Royale and I also caught that tour. Like you, Mod, I was really concerned about Terry’s presentation. Luckily for whatever reason, he did seem to thaw out and relax; I can’t say whether he was enjoying himself but he didn’t look so utterly ghostly. Sound-wise the show was great, and the old and new numbers were rollicking. I loved that the audience sung along. I’d recently read the bassist’s biography, so it was nice to see him as part of the tour, and clearly having a good time.

  7. I may have told this tale before on RTH.

    In October 1997 in Chicago, I took my 8 and 10 year old daughters to see the Beach Boys which then meant Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and Carl Wilson (who died 4 months later). The girls new all the Beach Boys hits from me and knew the Beach Boys from Full House. They loved the show, dancing in the aisles, and singing along. I loved the show also – it was my first time seeing the Beach Boys – and loved sharing it with them. Flash forward to 2012 and the Beach Boys Reunion tour with Brian Wilson, David Marks, and Al joining Mike and Bruce who were the remains of the touring Beach Boys at that point. The girls insisted we had to go. My son, who had been two years old in 1997 and therefore didn’t go to that first show had had to endure 15 years of his sisters reminiscing about what a great concert that had been; he definitely wanted to go this time.

    So, on a beautiful, sunny Father’s Day, mom, dad, and the three kids went to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia MD to see the last hurrah for the Beach Boys and it was fantastic. A great show – better than I ever could have expected musically – but again really special for sharing it with all the family. And now Matthew could share in the memories as well.

  8. Many. My parents took me to see their favorite, Chicago in 1982, my first concert. The big one was Springsteen in 1984 (Dec 17). I was a new fan (and about to turn 14 that week). My dad and his buddy (a die-hard NJ Bruce fan) camped out for tickets and surprised me the next morning. Floor seats dead center by the sound board. They loaded me up with all the LPs and let me stew on them for the month until the show. Still maybe the best show I have ever seen. Little Steven came out to jam on Christmas songs as the encore. Later my brother and I took my dad to see ‘our’ favorite band, ZZ Top and gave HIM the discography on tape to listen to on the way to work for a month. Made him a lifelong fan. We still go to shows with my parents. the Steve Windwood / Steely Dan show was to be my dad’s 75 birthday present, now I guess it will be his 76th birthday due to the reschedule. Other memorable family shows: Hall & Oates 1985, Beach Boys 1985, Ultimate Oldies Concerts (various years), Moody Blues, Rolling Stones 1989, ZZ with Nugent (2000?), Dylan at Chastain Park, Steely Dan multiple shows. McCartney 1993. My kids are 7 and 11 but are not into music yet (I was all in by 10), so no shows.

  9. Happiness Stan

    Dad hated all music apart from Glen Miller, until I left home when he suddenly, and completely inexplicably, started listening to songs from popular musicals and sneaking out of the house, without telling mum, to get on a train, go to London and get cheapish seats for operas. Which was fine by her as she struggles with sopranos demonstrating their art as much as I do.

    I asked him, when I was nine it ten, to take me to see Wizzard, and on another occasion, Sparks when they came to town, but had a blunt refusal on both occasions. In 1974 the Eurovision Song Contest was held thirty miles from our house and again my request was declined. That was the year ABBA won with Waterloo, and it must have made him consider his decision afterwards as later in the year he and mum took my sisters and me to see Gary Glitter and the Glitter Band in the park, less than fifteen minutes walk from home. If they hadn’t I’d have found a way of getting there even if I’d had to leave home and climb the fence, which my friends and I practiced often anyway.

    I idolised the Leader then, although obviously it’s more difficult to view his art objectively through the prism of what we learned more than two decades later.

    I took our oldest to see the Stranglers and Echo and the Bunnymen at a music festival we were invited to so he could take his sci fi stuff along. He’s now a professional sculptor specialising in replica sci fi, so he’s got further with the career he always wanted than I did. He didn’t think much of them, although he did enjoy Three Bonzos and a Piano and the Wurzels. A few years later at the same event I asked if he was coming over to see the Buzzcocks, he looked blankly at me and asked why on earth he’d want to do that. He did admit on other occasions to enjoying 10cc and the Lightning Seeds, but he only usually stays for half a dozen songs. After Alison Moyet played, which he’d listened to in the tent as it’s quite a small site, he said the next morning whoever it was had done loads of cover versions. His girlfriend and I asked what he meant and he said he’d heard some of the songs but they sounded different to the records. She tried to explain to him the nature of live performance, but I’ve given up on him for now.

    On her eleventh birthday, I took our daughter and her best friend to see Duane Eddy at a leisure centre about twenty miles away, he was brilliant and since then she’s been prepared to let me take her to things without complaint. She’s now at drama school, so it doesn’t happen often, even when things are happening. Nell Bryden was supporting and the girls went and chatted to her during the interval. She did a number about watching the twin towers coming down as she’d been in the city when it happened, which was also the same hour on the same day our daughter’s friend was being born. Her dad rolled into the maternity unit and announced to her mum that World War Three was breaking out, which she didn’t seem to find reassuring. The girls bumped into her again after the show and asked her if she could get Duane Eddy to sign their tickets. She said something about doing better than that and marched off backstage to fetch him and drag him out to meet them, so there’ll always be a soft spot in my heart for that alone.

    A couple of weeks before lockdown I took our youngest to see John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett at a village hall in the middle of nowhere about an hour from us. He loved it, and we were chatting to them afterwards as well. There’s hope for that one.

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