Monday, June 13, 2016

Turn Up the Crazy*

I love an outdoor theater!

I attended a “Panic! at the Disco” concert with my 14 and 28 year old daughters this weekend in Corpus Christi, and what a different experience this was from my younger concert going days!  

First of all, I was not allowed to go to rock or pop concerts when I was 14.  Even at 16 and 17, I had to make up really good, verifiable stories about where I was and what I was doing so my parents would not find out.  Not only are the vast majority of parents today allowing concert going, and buying the tickets (including VIP tickets for “meet and greets” ahead of time, omg) but they are attending and standing patiently in the back like some posh butler-chauffeurs.**

The band came out exactly when it was scheduled to.  Is this normal today or is Panic! just very prompt?  My 14 year old didn’t understand the question. I realize that  in the 80’s and 90’s, my peak concert-going years, that most of the band members I was trying to see were extremely drunk or high or unconscious and had to be woken up or sobered up before they could play.  I‘m not suggesting that Brendon Urie and his bandmates should develop any bad habits, but even the ancient Eagles were 20 minutes late to the stage a few years ago when I saw them in San Antonio***.  There is something to be said for a little anticipation.

There is no dancing.  I have pondered this crazy phenomenon among kids today many times before, but I think I uncovered the root cause at this concert:  the smartphone.  Kids will clap a little, do the fist pump in the air, and some slight head nodding, but honestly, they barely move. I have video to prove it, and that’s how I realized what is going on here.  Most of my videos are all jiggly, because I can’t stand still.  These kids don’t move because they are always conscious of the video quality they want to produce. As someone who has documented her whole life, I kind of relate, but my videos are still jiggly.  But there is hope, as this wiki on How to dance at a rock concert or mosh pit shows us. 

There was a lot of shrieking, but the crowd never needed quieting down. It was ear splitting shrieking. It could have been The Beatles or The Monkees up there on stage.  But the amazing thing about it was that it stops on cue.  It’s like only 3-5 seconds of noise-making is allowed at the beginning and at the end of each song.  I was absolutely fascinated by this and caught it on video.  It's like: Woo-ho. Full stop. Quiet. 5 seconds max of cheering your band.  The band needs to move on to the next song, and the kids have to hear every word. 

It wasn’t very loud.  Today’s generation of kids are going to keep their hearing a lot longer than my generation.  The mom standing next to me at the back of “The Pit” and I carried on several conversations around what a civilized mosh pit it was and what polite fans they were. Not one body was catapulted out of the pit during the whole set. My ears did start ringing during a half decent drum solo, though. 

No one was smoking or drinking.  I saw a few cloudy vapers and maybe 5 or 6 beer drinkers, but that’s it.  The kids were all high on the music. Isn’t that sweet?  I did catch a whiff of weed once at the very beginning of the show.  The other mom and I looked at each other there in the back of the pit and smirked a little, knowingly. 

It's more about the band members and song lyrics and less about the music and the beat. Zoe worships the Panic! band members and she knows every word to every song.  I was not in love with Angus Young or Steve Perry****, and by no means could I even understand every word they sang.  It was more about the beat and the music and the way it made you feel, and the dancing. 

One thing was definitely the same:  The lead singer wore leather pants. 

There were 3 bands in the line-up:  “Swimming With Bears” which I have never heard of and probably no one got to see because it took over an hour to get into the Concrete Street Amphitheater, was up first, then Panic! and finally “Weezer.”  We left before Weezer was supposed to come on stage precisely, I assumed, at 9:35 pm, as advertised. Supposedly though, they and the crowd were a little more older and rowdier. It poured rain about halfway through, “so that made it even more awesome,” my nephew texted me the next day. 

I typed most of this blog post into my smartphone while Panic! performed a couple songs from albums Zoe doesn't have, therefore I'd never heard. All in all, I think I made very good use of my time, and Zoe was over the moon thrilled. While I had a great time at most of the concerts I went to in my younger days, like most parents, I want my kids to do as I say, not necessarily as I did.  Panic! at the Disco was enjoyable enough for all of us. 

Zoe happy and sweaty at the end of Panic's set

*Lyrics from Victorious, a Panic! song with a video that is way crazier than the concert was
**Just call me "Mr. Belvedere," if you're as old as I am, or "Jesse," if you watch the Disney channel.    
***So happy I got to see Don Henley before he passed away. 
****AC/DC and Journey 

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