How I Almost Ruined the U2 Concert for My Family
How do you prep your 11 and 7 year olds for their first arena concert?
You brainwash them.
And you start early.
When my daughter was two years old, we listened to the live feed of the Vertigo tour and I began to explain the word “Bono.” Soon, she was answering “Bono” every time we asked her, “Who is that singing on the radio?” Sure, we set her up for success and there were a few confusing years when she thought Chris Martin was Bono (of course, so did the rest of the world), but those are the parenting chances you take. Our son came along well into the brainwashing process we were perfecting on our daughter and was quickly baptized with U2 facts and music.
Given our shameless indoctrination it should come as no surprise that my husband and I have been waiting for the right moment to take our kids to see their first U2 show. Until about four weeks ago, we didn’t think it was going to happen on the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour. Details about the tour were sketchy and we were uncertain if Bono was even functioning due to his bike crash in November 2014.
Then we saw U2 perform on the Tonight Show on May 9, 2015, and they killed it. So the next morning we decided to sell our two general admission pre-sale tickets, got on StubHub, and found four decent seats. Concert on.
But a concert this big, with years of buildup riding on it, could be a recipe for disaster. It could be the making of an epic let down. Will my 7 year old last the night? Will my daughter get sick? Will my husband and I get in an argument (like previous efforts...)? Thankfully, the kids were champs, and everything went according to plan….
Until we walked into the arena and found our seats.
“There must be some sort of mistake,” I thought to myself. “The stage is in the wrong place…the map on StubHub said…wait…no..no no no no no….”
“I DID NOT buy seats behind the stage…but the map on the website said, the map, the map…The map WAS WRONG.”
I had just ruined their first U2 concert and the show had not even started.
11 years of prepping, dreaming, and hoping - crushed in one moment.
We walked to our seats and I apologized to the kids…and then I apologized again…and again. And my husband threw me a look that said, “Have a good attitude Crazy, so the kids won’t notice.” I threw a look back that said, “Notice? Notice? Are you kidding me?…They’ll notice we are BEHIND THE FREAKING STAGE!”
But he was right. I stopped apologizing and tried NOT to spend the hour and a half waiting for the show to start thinking about the fact that I had screwed up. I even went on StubHub and contemplated buying different seats and moving (side note…you can totally get good seats about 45 minutes before the show because people start dropping their prices), but I thought it would be a bad example for the kids and my husband assured me we actually had good seats.
The truth is, the kids didn’t even care. They were just happy to be inside the arena and close to the stage..even if it was the back of the stage.
The show finally started and I have never been so happy to be so wrong.
Sitting in the second row of the upper level, directly behind the main stage proved to be amazing. The ONLY bad part was we missed some of the cool stuff going on inside the suspended illuminated screen/cage.
Every band member (except Larry, but he was sitting at his drum kit) utilized the area behind the stage and made sure to make us feel included and special. In addition, we were actually really close to the band…close enough to see the expressions on their faces and even better, we could see what was happening behind the scenes as the concert went on.
Did you know that Larry has a monitor (like a teleprompter) streaming the lyrics to each song? My husband assures me that it is how he knows what to play. We got to see his cheat sheet because of our seats. And did you know The Edge’s guitar tech, Dallas, goes onto the stage to control the guitar pedals when Edge is across the catwalk?
In addition (and totally out of our control), the row we sat in was almost empty. This meant my kids could move back and forth across 6 seats to see better and later in the show, my 7 year old created a sweet little couch for himself to lounge on. With the concert starting almost and hour and half late, the couch was necessary for my little guy.
As a parent, you want your children to be happy. Well, you don’t care if they are unhappy to eat their vegetables or go to bed on time, but mostly, you want them to be happy. And I will never forget the thrill I felt watching them hear the first few notes of “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, the opening number of the show. My son particularly loves this song and he danced around like a crazy man. At one point he couldn’t contain his excitement and hurled his little body across 3 seats and landed a huge hug around my waist. They just could not believe it…they were ecstatic.
So thankfully, the stars aligned for the night and it worked out, even with seats behind the stage. Memories made…fun had…music listened to. Check, check, check.
- Both kids had to go to the bathroom at different times in the show. Not exactly their fault because the show started really late. My son was almost in tears because he thought he would miss something, but he and my husband ran there and back and only missed a portion of a song.
- The kids sat down when they didn’t recognize the song...I never really thought to have them listen to “Electric Co” off of Boy.
- My son had to put on noise canceling headphones part way through the concert to protect his ears…”Bullet in the Blue Sky” was especially loud…but he took them off to hear his favorite song, “Beautiful Day,” loud and clear.
- I started to get choked up while they played “With or Without You” while squeezing my daughter next to me… "And you give yourself away…”
- My daughter proudly wore the concert t-shirt to school the next day.
- The people in front of us enjoyed periodically turning around to watch the kids reaction. Bringing kids can be fun for everyone.
- We quickly realized two organic lollipops would not get our son to 11pm, so we hit him with a bag of Sourpatch Kids part way through and it boosted his energy until the end of the show (and still allowed him to crash in the car at 11:30).
-I asked the kids about their favorite part of the show:
"The noise and cool effects they used with the songs”
“Getting to lay down across the seats but still listen to the music.”
Take kids to concerts. Obviously be careful about which show you choose, take time to prep them before hand, and pay close attention to seat location prior to purchase. But music really does bring people together and for our family, it was a lasting memory. Thank you U2.