Sean and I took Kate to her first-ever concert yesterday. We drove to Riversedge park near Somerset, Wisconsin to see Jack Johnson, who is one of our favourite musicians. Kate likes him, too, as he did the soundtrack for the Curious George movie. The concert was to start at 6:30 p.m. with Mason Jennings as the opening act, so we figured it was early enough for a two-year-old to attend. Part of what encouraged us to go ahead and buy the tickets was the fact that it was free for children under 5, which told us that this particular concert and venue were child-friendly. So, the three of us embarked on our little musical adventure, with Sean and I only mildly concerned that we might be asking for trouble.
We knew there would be people around us who would be smoking (both legal and illegal stuff), drinking, swearing, and behaving in a generally debaucherous manner, but we figured that the overall vibe, if you will, would be calm and peaceful considering who the main attraction was. I didn't love the fact that Kate would be breathing in some second-hand smoke, but I told myself that at least we would be outside and it is a very rare occasion that she is around it, so the benefits of listening to and watching live music outweighed the risks.
We were pretty much right on all of our assumptions, and Kate really seemed to enjoy herself. She started dancing (in her funky, Elaine Benes style of dance) as soon as the first band began playing! I wish I were so free. Kate had her arms up and was dancing with abandon, which is something that I've always wished I could do, but it's a rare moment when I bring myself to do it (publicly, that is). It's wonderful for me to see how free, joyful and unselfconscious Kate is; I hope she holds onto those things for a long time.
It turned out there were two opening acts and Jack Johnson didn't come to the stage until Kate's bedtime (around 8:30 p.m.), but we knew it would be a later than usual night for her, so we stayed to hear some of his music. Kate enjoyed sitting on her daddy's shoulders for a while, being held by me and swaying to the music together, and even doing a little more dancing on her own, but after four or five songs she started to get tired. I asked her if she wanted to lie down on the blanket we had spread out over the ground, and she said yes. So I made a little pillow out of her sweater and she lay down. I snuggled up beside her and we talked for a couple of minutes, nose-to-nose, until Jack started playing a song from the Curious George soundtrack, at which point Kate sat up and looked around at all of the adults around her who were singing and clapping and dancing to the music. She was too tired to get up, but it seemed like she was enjoying it.
Sean and I decided to pack up and leave before the concert was over, as times have changed and we had to get our little one home to bed. We also wanted to beat what was sure to be some seriously heavy traffic if we waited until the last song was over. So, off we went. We changed Kate into her pajamas when we got to our car (we actually had the forethought to bring Kate's p.j.'s with us), fighting off mosquitoes the whole time, and then we were on our way, feeling good about our experience. Our little love's first concert, and our first concert with her. I'm glad that it was Jack.