If you recall, I had created a Concert Survival Guide for our 1D Adventure. Now that we have attended the One Direction concert, I thought it would be nice to go back and review the survival guide and comment on what worked and what did not work. That way, mother’s of little kids can have something to reference if they take their kids to a music concert. Oh heck, who am I kidding? I am writing this so I can remember what worked best, because I see myself taking my kids to other music concerts in the future. In fact, ever since the One Direction concert, my 4-year-old son Christopher keeps asking when we will go see ‘One Ection’ again. He doesn’t seem to understand that the concert was for one night only. So if you see me blogging about packing up and following One Direction around the world, it will be for the sake of my little boy. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.)
On to the review of my Survival Guide for our 1D Adventure:
Skip opening act – Because of Icona Pop’s “R” rated lyrics and because the kids will not see this as a fun build up to the main event. They will see this as torture, because they came for one band and one band only. This was a great call on my part. Even if the opening act is a “G” rated band, it’s not a good idea to make little ones seat through an additional hour at a concert. Thanks to some replies back from a comment I made on One Direction’s Facebook page, I was able to estimate our arrival time so we arrived when the opening act was completely over and there was an intermission before 1D arrived on stage. Kudos for Mom!!
Watch California concert video before-hand – This way they will have an idea of what it is going to be like. I would hope that it will be scary enough to my little ones that they will want to stay at home with their aunt. I doubt it, but a mother could always dream. After we surprised the kids with the news about the One Direction concert, I showed the kids the California concert video. The theory that it would scare my little ones out of going was wrong. But I think it helped to prepare them a little bit for what to expect. What I didn’t expect was all the questions that Marie and Patrick would have after watching it. They were wanting to know if our view would be better than that and didn’t understand why I didn’t buy tickets for floor seating. (Um, cause I’m not rich! That’s why.) So I sort of wish I hadn’t shown the two older ones the California video.
Get earplugs – This way the kids will not be as overwhelmed by the shrill screams of the fans. I don’t know if they will want to wear them, but I hope they will be willing to wear them after they watch the concert footage. Earplugs…good. My children…stupid. LOL I had bought a box of soft earplugs that you put in your ears. This should be a simple thing that I can get my kids to do. Wrong, they were not going for the earplug thing. I was smart enough to bring two headphones that had been broken. So I cut off the cord and since the headphones had belonged to the kids, they were willing to wear them. So don’t throw those broken headphones away, reuse them for events like this. Patrick and Ann ended up wearing the headphones. Marie refused any type of device that would block out the band, so she will probably have hearing problems in the future. I wore earplugs and was able to get some to fit in the outer area of Christopher’s ears. I even gave some earplugs to another fan’s mother that was sitting by us. With all the screaming around you, I’m glad we had them.
Glow-in-the-dark shirts are a must – My thought is that if we all have glow-in-the-dark shirts on, then the kids will not be as afraid in the dark. So I went to a craft store and bought some glow-in-the-dark iron-on material that you can print a decal on and attach it to a shirt. I also got some glow-in-the-dark fabric paint. I am sad to report that my glow-in-the-dark iron-ons didn’t glow in the dark. I’m not sure if I did something wrong in the creativity process or what, but we did have some good-looking shirts when the lights were on. I never tried the fabric paint, so I guess that is something we can try on a rainy day. I still believe the glow-in-the-dark shirts is a great idea though.
Glow-in-the-dark necklaces – Another item that we can wear, to help counteract the dark arena. The glow stick necklaces and bracelets worked great. In fact, they acted as entertainment to my little ones while they were waiting for the concert to start. I would highly recommend them.
Pre-paid parking spot – I purchased a parking spot to one of the Gold level parking garages on-line. This way we know we have a close parking spot and can arrive at the concert later than the other fans. Plus, like my sister pointed out, we might be carrying a few sleepy kids on the way back to the van. This was the best idea ever. In fact, we saw what it would have been like if we didn’t get a pre-paid spot. We had to make a U-turn in a Denny’s parking lot on the other side of the interstate in order to get into the concert traffic. While there, we noticed a sign for $2 concert parking in the Denny’s parking lot and many girls and chaperones walking the 2 or 3 block trek to the stadium. Marie asked me why we couldn’t do the same. She just wanted to get to the concert as soon as possible. I told her that I didn’t want to walk that far with all the kids. I am usually the one that will go for the best price, even if I have to walk a little more. But I am so glad I went the expensive way this time. The price I paid for the Gold level parking was worth it’s weight in gold. We got a parking spot right next to the venue. I’m talking, the equivalent of a close parking spot at Walmart. So we had a very short distance to walk. This was a great thing to have when you had stood for two hours, holding little kids, in the heat. So around 11:30 pm when we were driving out of the venue’s parking lot, we were watching the people who had parked in the Denny’s parking lot start their trek back over the interstate bridge. Sometimes cheaper is not always better.
Enough Adult Supervision – I have learned over the summer that I can’t be in two places at once. That is why my sister and my niece are coming with us. So if/when some of the kids can’t handle the noise of the concert, I will be able to have an adult walk with them in the corridors. While another adult (hopefully me) can be with the ones that want to watch the concert. This is definitely a must. It was so helpful to have my sister and niece there to help with the little ones. They took Ann and Patrick out to the corridor when the screaming was too much before the concert. They helped me hold the two little ones up during the concert. They helped keep track of all the kids in the crowds. Without their attendance, that concert experience would have ended a lot less enjoyable. So bring plenty of back up.
Last but not least, No High Expectations – Not on the concert itself, but on our experience. I live my life WITHOUT rose-colored glasses. I know that all four of my kids are not going to act the same way towards this event. I know that one might be excited and another one might be scared to death. So if I don’t have high hopes that we will all have the best experience ever at this concert, then I won’t be heartbroken over the outcome. I was so right on this one. Not all the kids enjoyed the concert the same. I believe in my heart that each one of them had a good experience, no matter how brief, during the concert. However, some of them were ready to leave half-way through the concert. While some of them, like me, wanted to stay until the last song was sang. In fact, as we were waiting for the concert to begin, the girls in the crowd were getting so excited that they would scream over any movement they saw on the stage. That was when Patrick and Ann was asking to go home. I didn’t want them to be miserable, but at the same time, I didn’t want to disappoint Marie by leaving before the concert even started. Thankfully, with my sister and niece’s help and some popcorn, Patrick and Ann stayed for the concert and had fun. Like I said, they wanted to leave before the concert was over, but they did have moments where they let the music get in them. So I have photos of them smiling and some photos of them sad. The thing is, I know that if I suggest going to another concert down the road, they are going to remember the good parts of the 1D concert and forget about the things they didn’t enjoy. Because that’s what humans tend to do, block out the bad stuff. Going into the concert with No High Expectations helped me enjoy the experience for what it was. My joy was not crushed by my kid’s actions. I enjoyed it to the fullest and brought home many great memories of our 1D adventure.
I’m not a good planner but, for this situation, I am glad I planned ahead. It made the experience much better than I could have imagined. So if you are as crazy as me and decide to take your little kids to a music concert, go prepared. You can do anything as long as you have a desire, a plan and good support to back you up. This is probably the craziest thing I will ever do in my life…or is it? LOL By now, you should know that this sort of thing will become the norm for my family. We will most likely attend many, many more concerts in our future. Because life is too short to sit around in the comfort of your own home. Sometimes you have to go outside of your comfort zone and let your hair down. As long as you have a plan, anything is possible.