Last Friday, we had the best mother/son night. Caelan and I and 2 of his friends and their moms left Bolivar for Sprinfield, MO right after school let out. We were headed out to grab an early take-out dinner and then to the Gillioz Theater to see Switchfoot in concert.
My sister and I started going to concerts regularly when I was about 14. She had magic dialing fingers and could win any radio call-in contest. It didn't matter if you had to be caller #1 or #100, she won. Van Halen, Billy Idol, Heart, Bon Jovi. I think my age is coming through by sharing this list! About the time she moved to Oregon, I met Shawn and my concert days carried on. He and I used to go to concerts all the time when we were younger. Our first date (that wasn't a date) was REO Speedwagon. I've been to everything from Garth Brooks to Pink Floyd to Gordon Lightfoot. We saw The Eagles when I was huge and miserable 3 days before Caelan was born. We've seen some amazing concerts! Shawn eventually decided that because it was becoming apparent to him that he was a magnet for rainy weather (most of the concerts we went to were at outdoor venues) and because of the ridiculous price of good tickets, his concert days were over. I followed his lead.
It had been at least 10 years since I'd been to a concert when found a youth conference in Branson last December. Caelan's to the age where he wants to start going to concerts so I got tickets to the conference because David Crowder would be playing there. We went very excited to see him. And I came away a Switchfoot fan. They also played and it was hands down one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Incredible interaction with the crowd. Energetic. And the lyrics. . . I don't know if it's because I'm older with more life experience so I just see so much value in them but the lyrics are phenomenal. They aren't just about getting through that one break up or plotting revenge for someone who hurt you or embarrassed you. And my Red Solo Cup days are long gone so I want something deeper. Switchfoot songs are about examining what's inside you and growing and surviving in spite of your circumstances. So one song can be good for a break up or being hurt or embarrassed or realizing you need to move past your Red Solo Cup days. And their songs are good for things that are much bigger, including the things we do to ourselves. Instead of superficial pacifiers, you get encouragement to get back up and keep going. That's why I agree with the description of their songs being for thinking people. Quite simply, they leave you thinking! Good stuff.
So last Friday night, this was our destination.
Here's an artsy-fartsy version for fun. I've always wanted to use the Totally Rad pool party action but it doesn't lend itself well to photos of cows and chickens and my boys playing baseball.
Our night was a celebration of Caelan's and Ryan's birthdays so we let them choose where we got dinner. Ryan picked Buffalo Wild Wings.
Caelan's creepy cool-guy gesture.
Bryce loves Buffalo Wild Wings so much he couldn't wait until we got to The Gillioz and had to sneak one.
This was probably some sort of sacrilege but I was wearing an off-white shirt and I envisioned walking around all night with hot sauce stains on it so I got a cheeseburger.
I think I went on an off night for the cook. It was a huge burger but I should have been reckless and bold and gone for the wings.
The concert was general admission so we got to the theater around 5 to wait for the doors to open at 7. This was the line in front of us. It turned out that we didn't need to get there so early. When the doors opened, everyone calmly walked in. Lots of people chose to sit farther back in the center section since Jon Foreman is know for going out into the middle of the crowd and walking on the seats while performing. Even though we got there earlier than necessary, we had a lot of fun sitting there for 2 hours with our boys waiting so I'm still glad we went early.
The boys walked to a convenience store and bought Red Bull and then harassed me for thinking Red Bull is highly overrated. Mmmmm. Fruit flavoring derived from chemicals.
Caelan, continuing his cool-guy persona, decided it would be funny to "smash a can on his head." The actual event may or may not have been completely fabricated.
There was a lot of texting.
Caelan, pretending to be too lazy to get up off the ground took this when I asked him to take a photo of the 3 moms. The colors are a little ghastly and oversharpened here but enlarged, I ended up with a fun new Facebook cover photo. I love how little Jen is peeking up over the bottom of the photo.
The boys took the obligatory photos with Mom. Sweet photo of Teresa and Ryan.
I got my best photo ever of Caelan and me. Love every minute I spend with this boy. I still scratch my head wondering how I ended up with such a good kid.
Right after this we got let through the front doors and were met with a very apologetic, "I'm sorry. You can't take professional cameras in." I had my
camera slung over my shoulder and my little 50 mm lens on it. I laughed and said, "This is not a professional camera." More apologies, explanations that no big cameras were allowed, and in the end, Teresa headed back to her car with both of our cameras. I went in with Jen and the boys to get seats. I did my best to find a way to get my camera in. I asked Caelan to go tell the people at the door that it was his birthday and all he wanted was Switchfoot photos. He said, "Uh, no." I tried to get Ryan to lie and say it was his birthday and all HE wanted for his birthday was Switchfoot photos. He said, "We are at a Christian concert and you are asking me to go lie???" I think since we were celebrating his birthday (it was a week earlier) it wasn't a really a lie. OK, so maybe it was. My 17-year-old friend put me in my place and I stopped the pressuring tactics!
When Teresa came back in, she looked very nervous and worried and we knew she wasn't going to enjoy herself as long as her brand new camera was in the car all night. We went back to see if the nice ticket/door people would let us bring our cameras in if we left the batteries with them so we couldn't use the cameras. They politely said no again. They did offer to keep our cameras in their office for us during the concert but Teresa decided to call her mom and have her come pick them up.
We had so much fun, both moms and teenage boys. The concert was every bit as awesome as I expected it to be. This time I knew every song, all the words. Again, one of the best I've been to. When it was over, we waited around to see if there would be an aftershow. There was. And I didn't have my camera! I hadn't even thought about needing it for this when I sent my camera with Teresa's mom. It was across town and there was no way we could get it and get back in time for the aftershow. So we waited around while the band came out and signed autographs and took photos with everyone who asked.
If you're a creative person who's a fan of Elsie Larson, you'll want to see this. Her husband Jeremy played with Jon at the aftershow! Even my unexcitable teenage son thought that was cool. I heard him telling his friends and their moms one by one, "I know his wife! She's a friend of my mom's!" They played 4 songs together and you can see videos of 3 of them on this YouTube account. Seeing Jeremy up there playing and knowing how exciting that must have been was such a awesome ending to an already great night. And we did manage to get a few photos even though I didn't have my camera. Ryan and Teresa took a few with their iPhones.
Even without a "professional camera," I think we still got the best photo of the night when Ryan took this one of Bryce with Drew Shirley. Above and beyond the call of duty to make your fans have a good time and smile.