Too old for all-ages show
Getting over a bad virus. Lack of sleep. I so yearn to just drag myself home after work and lie the rest of the evening licking my wounds.
Then the dreaded call comes to me at work.
"Now Dad, don't say anything until I'm finished talking, OK?"
Never trust a conversation from a child that begins like that.
A band that the girls know through that great indoctrination vehicle, the Disney Channel, is coming to the Chameleon THIS VERY NIGHT.
It can be their upcoming birthday present, they'll pay for the tickets, let me name their first-born, etc. In short, they will do anything and it would mean sooooo much to them if I take them to the all-ages show. Of course, all their friends will be going.
I am this close to saying no, pleading my case, when I remember the ache and excitement of wanting to see a favorite band live.
I give in. Hurry, they say, buy the tickets online before it sells out. Every second counts.
I should have made them wait in line. In my day, that, too, was part of the concert experience.
But I call up the website. The processing and hidden charges add up to the cost of another ticket.
So we get there. I remember the nightclub has a bar upstairs. At least I can have a beer and relax, peer down now and then to make sure they are not rushing the stage or moshing.
"You're not going to be drinking, are you sir?" the doorman/bouncer says as I escort the girls inside. The way he says it, as if it's tantamount to child neglect, convinces me to mumble no.
The girls immediately distance themselves from me and search for all their groupie friends, which I find out later is one.
I saunter up to the bar and order a pint of root beer. I don't tip.
Moseying over to the side, I lean against the wall. I'll at least post my forlorn status on Facebook and read the clucks of sympathy sure to flood in.
Forced to look around, I notice with increasing discomfort that I am, by far, the oldest person in the nightclub.
Certainly there are other adults there with younger kids. But it's usually both mom and dad.
For the first time in my life, I feel a creeping paranoia and wonder if the other adults there are glancing nervously at the old man alone staring at the mob of pre-teens.
What do I do? Look away from the stage? Move to the music as if I'm merely an older fan? Sit on the floor and hope nobody sees me?
The girls had mentioned it in passing, but I become painfully aware that there are three other bands performing before the big act.
They're tolerable. One likes the weather here -- unusually warm for early April. One boy band from Oregon says Lancaster reminds them of their small town. Every one of them says Lan-CAS-ter.
Finally, R5 takes the stage. "R" because all five band members have first names that begin with "R." Clever.
The front man, Ross Lynch, also is the Austin in the Disney television show "Austin & Ally." His brother, bassist Riker Lynch, is in the TV show "Glee."
Surprisingly (horrifyingly?), I recognize five of the songs. Now you know who controls the car radio when the Crable family is on the road.
When Ross Lynch comments how hot he is, a friend of the girls suggests loudly that he take off his shirt. Oh God, it starts already?
Finally, it's over. But wait, what's this? The roadie announces to shrieks that R5 will be available in a few minutes to sign autographs. No hugs, no kisses, no posing for individual photos (thank God).
Afterward, finally home at 10:30, Hannah, after announcing that she still has homework, complains of being sore and thirsty and having a headache. They marvel at being hoarse from screaming for 3 hours.
My self-righteous lecture: "If you're going to be a rock 'n roll animal, roll with it."