We took our two oldest kids to a Mumford & Sons concert on Wednesday. My third and their first. I possessed a number of reasons for taking them out on a school night, the most important being that a Mumford & Sons concert is a transcendental, semi-religious experience. On the practical side, we had the two extra tickets (and Daniel at camping, so not missing out), and the concert venue is five minutes from our house.
Back to the transcendental portion of my reasoning. Music, singing, stomping and arm-waving that pass for dancing, they all spring from an ancient segment of our DNA. We stood with a large group of friends from our neighborhood, and the kids' eyebrows rose past their hairlines when all of the adults began jumping around like grasshoppers on pogo sticks, singing off-key at high volume. The fifteen-year old appeared only slightly embarrassed, and she liberated her own feet, arms and voice as the evening wore on. The thirteen-year-old was quietly stunned, and at times wanted to just lie down and nap until the craziness passed. (He eventually shuffled his feet, clapping and shouting for the encore performance of "I Will Wait.")
I whisper-shouted into my daughter's ear that no one cared to criticize, that riding the wave of musical and tribal energy was free-ing and energizing. She loved the performance, but her favorite part of the evening was the miraculous, cell-phone enabled neighborhood reunion at the heart of an 18,000-seat venue. Being on the lawn, watching the sunset, nibbling contraband chocolate while the other adults drank beer, observing the awe in both children's eyes when thousands of cellphones lit the sky during "I Believe" - transcendental at the very least. The night was magic and well-worth the sleep deprivation and croaky voices that resulted from our mid-week evening out.