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Last weekend, I took Kelsea and Uber-Cool Will to a rock concert.
Yes, I really did.
Uber-Cool Will’s parents had taken them to the Moody Blues at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the beginning of the summer, but I’m not sure you can call that a rock concert. I was surprised that the Moody Blues were still alive, much less still playing. They had a good time, but it wasn’t exactly rocking, and they were more impressed with how much secondhand funny smoke they thought they were inhaling.
In other words, this was Kelsea’s first rock concert. She didn’t really want me to go, because who wants to go to your first rock concert with your Mom? But there was no way I was letting two 14-year old loose in Denver’s Pepsi Center all by themselves. And so it was take me, or don’t go at all – her choice. She chose to take me.
I have never been a huge fan of concerts. The combination of extreme noise, too many people, expensive tickets, and bands that are often disappointing when they haven’t been mixed and spliced and torqued within an inch of their life have never added up to a fabulous experience for me. I could probably count the number of rock concerts I’ve been to on one hand. And having come off of a blissed-out weekend of otherworldliness at Cottonwood Hot Springs, I was even less in the mood.
But Kelsea was super excited and couldn’t wait, so there was no way I was letting my lackluster enthusiasm color her world. I dressed in my cool clothes, and the three of us were off. Our goal?
The Foo Fighters.
I turned Kelsea onto the Foo Fighters during the Excellent Adventure Roadtrip. It took her a while to warm up to them, but now she loves them, especially because she adores the late Kurt Cobain, and Dave Grohl used to be Nirvana’s drummer, so being in the same space with Dave was as close as she could come to being in a room with Kurt. I just liked a few of their songs.
We were totally in the nosebleed seats, but it was all I could afford. While the Pepsi Center claimed to be sold out, there were definitely some empty seats when things were getting started. Perhaps that’s because we started promptly at 7:00 pm with an unanounced warm-up band: Mariachi el Bronx.
We found a mariachi band, in full sombrero regalia, to be an odd choice for an opening act for a quintessential rock concert. But a bit of research shows that Mariachi el Bronx, hailing from Los Angeles, is actually a punk band disguised as a mariachi band. Sometimes they play punk (as “The Bronx”) and sometimes they mix mariachi and punk – they consider both to be part of the soundtrack of Southern California. We got pure foot-dancing mariachi and some bafflement, but I truly enjoyed them.
The second warm-up act (do they usually have two? I have no idea) was Cage the Elephant. If you too are unfamiliar with this band, their style is considered “slacker funk-punk”.
Who knew? All I can say is, there was an enormous amount of screaming and hair shaking, combined with some flailing. Honestly, it was the first experience in a long time that I could say truly made me feel old. Totally not my thing. I found myself dreading the rest of the evening, wondering how I was going to be able to sit through another two hours of noise, and trying to find my zen.
Kelsea and Uber-Cool Will had, in the meantime, moved to the empty row ahead of me, so as not to be completely associated with an adult, and to feel more like they were on their own. Fine by me. I could still poke either one of them whenever I felt like it.
And then the Foo Fighters took the stage. As I said, I liked a couple of their songs, but Cage the Elephant had really dampened my enthusiasm. I am happy to say though, that it didn’t take long for my attitude to turn around. They put on a phenomenal show. Dave has a gorgeous voice, the drummer, Taylor Hawkins, is one of the best I’ve ever heard, and they were fully as powerful and amazing live as in the studio.
They played for 2 hours and 40 minutes, incorporating only a small break for introductions, and a small break (complete with backstage cam and bottles of champagne) prior to their encores, which included several solo acoustic numbers by Dave. And by the way, Dave is handsome as the devil and I am totally in love with him in an iconic sort of way.
So I had a blast, and wished I had paid for floor tickets, and am ready to abandon my life and follow the Foo Fighters. And Kelsea is ready to come with me.
She rocked it. She stood up during Cage the Elephant and started dancing, and never sat down. Not once in 3 and a 1/2 hours. I am proud to see that I have taught her how to scream “wooooooo” from our many years at rodeos, and she wooooed with the finest. In fact, her voice was practically gone by the time we left. (Mine was gone the next day.)
She admired the instruments. She thought the musicians were hot. She sang along with more of the songs than I ever thought she knew. She smiled. She glowed. She was in her element. The Foo Fighters are justifiably proud of their identity as a true rock band, and Kelsea is justifiably proud of her own identity as a rock connoisseur. A true rocker.
It was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’m so glad I got to witness this joyful side of her, and that I could treat her to this experience. And I had a pretty darn good time too.