The family and I attended the Motion City Soundtrack show at The Masquerade last night. As always, the MCS guys do a fantastic show, and even the opening bands were a pleasure. Unfortunately, the night had some sour moments, especially compared to 3 years ago.
You see, my 11-year-old daughter is a big MCS fan. That's likely due to my own repeated listens on long car rides when she was younger. So she was excited to see them as her first live concert as a rambunctious 8-year-old. We all had a magnificent time. She and her mother were able to slip right up to the stage between sets for a great view. Justin spoke to her during the show, and ever offered to bring her up on stage, though she was took shy to accept. ^_^
Lat night, was not as favorable. The show sold out, with easily twice the people there. This alone would have been fine; the more the merrier. But the crowd was way worse. Obnoxious couples aside, there were too many drunks, people throwing beer cans and water around, and far too may people that think every single ballad is a moshing anthem.
I'm not a very tall guy, only about 5'7". My wife's head doesn't even come up to my chin. And my daughter is significantly smaller than her. We're essentially hobbits. So they could barely see the show at all even a bit away from the stage. My plan was to put the kid on my shoulders when MCS went on, but before that point, her mother made a bid for the front of the stage. As a fat guy, I can't really weave through a crowd like she can without being a huge asshole, so I held position. They didn't get terribly far, and I could still keep and eye on them.
It was at this point, that a pseudo-mosh-pit formed around them, they had enough of a barrier, and weren't making any effort to withdraw, so I let it ride. Then a couple of guys decided to crowd surf, but the crowd wasn't nearly dense enough to hold dudes this size reliably. My daughter ended up taking an errant crowd surfer directly to the face as near as I could tell.
I started bulldozing through people, got between her and other folks and saw tears. I picked her up and we retreated to the bar area to regroup. To be fair, the kid is a goddamn champion and handled this punk trial-by-fire with grace. She recovered herself, had a bit of water, and then watched the rest of the show from my shoulders near the back.
Overall, she still had fun. We picked up some merch on the way out, and we recounted some of the goofier people we'd seen in the crowd. I do worry that this might have soured her somewhat on live music, since she never did fully recover her previous enthusiasm for the performance after the incident. I think she's fine though. As I say, she's a tough cookie, with purple hair and can-do attitude. But this has cemented new ground rules in my mind for future outings.
-There will be no more leaving dad behind for any reason. I will be the ever-present meat-wall against douchebags.
-Anytime premium tickets are offered, as was the case with this show, I will get them for the kid and her mother. We'd all have enjoyed the show more if they were safely tucked away on the side of the stage.
-I might favor future shows she wants to attend if they are at an amphitheatre-type venue, where she can chill on the grass. Her current favorite band is Panic at the Disco, so this seems a likely candidate.
I do worry when she's out and about at things like this, or even more low-key affairs with her mother. And I second guess my decisions to take her place like The Masquerade, thinking maybe it makes me a shit father, but then I look at her smile in this picture from 3 years ago of her with Justin and think..... nah, I'm still a cool dad.