I picked the goose up from school. If you know her, you know that making sure she didn’t take the bus home was going to be the most important part of the day. She can lean toward the flighty…like her mother. The first task at hand was finishing her homework. Then 20 questions. Usually when excited, she forgets how the game works. So her first question was, “does it have to do with art/fashion, music, or japanese chins?”. After the reminder that I am limited to yes or no responses, the game began. It seems she had an inkling of her adventure. Ever the pleaser, she was doing her best to play it off. When I promised that it didn’t matter to me if she was surprised, the enthusiasm for the adventure erupted.
“Florence and the machine. Really? I can’t believe it. BEST BIRTHDAY ADVENTURE EVER.”
“I did experience some anal leakage in case you were wondering.”
Her reference to my earlier attempt at building suspense by telling her she was going to “crap her pants”. Like mother like daughter. We can paint a mean mental image.
she will have her own memories from this day. these are mine:
the show was a rain or shine gig. as there were calls for tornados and flash flooding, i was pretty proud of myself at having gotten seats under the “roof” at this outside venue. as we stood in line waiting for the doors to open we made friends with the people behind us. another mother daughter pair. paige was 17 (nearly 18). she had turned her mom andrea on to florence and the machine and asked if the same was true of us. i explained that we have always exposed our kids to the music we love and crossed our fingers that they developed musical taste that has range. in short, i turned the goose onto florence and the machine. for those of you who may be unfamiliar with them, they are a british group led by a slight woman (Flo) with the voice like the fat lady at the opera. she can move from the ethereal to grab you by the balls in what seems to be one breath. i am partial to woman singers and it seems that the goose is moving in that same direction.
the doors open. we get in line for the requisite merch. and then find our seats they are pretty stinking awesome seats if i do say so myself. three rows from the pit dead center. this is my girl’s first concert, i wanted her to get the full experience. we did hear that the “talent” were holding the show for weather. when i got the tickets i did not know this, but there were two opening bands. we sat and swayed to the first two.
at almost 10:00 we were prepping for the headliners. the set was beautifully orchestrated. all things art deco. florence must be an old soul, not unlike my girl. there was a drop upstage in grey silk hung in a tufted valence. down stage from that was the main set piece that was angles and brass. we didn’t know it yet, but with every song a new lighted texture was projected onto the set. mostly variations of stained glass. sometimes with a live projection of florence in the center.
when florence pranced on stage, we leapt to our feet. she wore a high slitted dress with a wave of ruffles down from shoulder to toe. she was barefoot and her long vibrant red hair was down and flowing. she moved from one side of the stage to the other like little red riding hood on the path. in between songs she giggled like a child who could not contain their excitement on christmas morning. such a drastic leap from the strong womanly sometimes haunting nature of her voice as she sang.
before you judge me for taking my kid to a concert on a school night hear me out. all children should see someone who has been able to fulfill their passion. school is important but somewhere along the way, this country has lost sight of the importance of the arts. to the goose this will always be her first concert. maybe even a special day that she spent alone with her mother. for me, it will be the day that i showed my kid the meaning of life. what true happiness looks like. florence’s lyrics can be dark and sweet and somber and uplifting. most importantly she has found her voice. she has found her passion for this world. the look of a grown woman lost in a world of her own creation one moment and found in the faces of those who have come to see her in the next. whatever it is that my kids end up doing with their lives, i want them to know that this is what it is about. if you can find your passion in your vocation, you are the luckiest. if not, my hope is that you find it in your avocation.
i am thrilled that our children love music as much as we do.
i will NEVER forget the look on the goose’s face when she first laid eyes on this person she admired so much. someone whose lyrics spoke to her in a deep and authentic way. the look on my kid’s face said thank you. not to me, but to the power that creative people can have over us. to move us. to illicit physical reactions. to create a memory vacuum that will always include the sound, the sight, the smell…the feeling.
i was just happy to be there to witness it.