Sunday, April 25, 2010

Concert Night

I got to this LA Times story about a dad taking his daughter to see Taylor Swift via Jezebel. I didn't even bother reading the Jezebel post; I was much more interested in the writer/dad's experience with his daughter. David Ulin writes in his lede paragraph "...Sophie, age 11, was singing every word along with her, waving a colored light stick back and forth above her head. Her grin was electric, her attention sharply focused; she wasn't missing anything."

The personal essay of the early-middle-age-parent-takes-child-to-concert could very well be some kind of sub-genre. Local newspapers must run a column like this at least every few years. I bet many a parent has blogged on the topic, too. Watching a child at a first concert of music of their choosing, it's like watching them take their first steps away from us, only this time there's no wobbling on chunky feet, no arms thrown out to the side like a young Frankenstein exploring the world of balance. We know what music will mean to our kids when they're 13, 15, 18, how personal and defining it could be, helping them find their way away from home.

Thinking about the LA Times story, I remembered a similar piece in The New Yorker, this one by David Remnick in The Talk of the Town. It was about taking his kids to see Hanson. I looked it up. It was from 1998, when Remnick's kids were "almost eight"; "practically five." Since the piece requires a subscription, I'll quote Remnick's conclusion.

"The most devastating thing about taking the boys to Hanson, of course, was to know how ephemeral the experience was. It's true that for once I'd made myself a hero in the household, and they thanked me about then thousand times. But soon Dad's presence will be neither required nor desired, and it will be on to, say, Marilyn Manson. Who is today's Alice Cooper, I think. I don't really want to go, but I'd give anything to be asked."

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