Last New Year’s Eve, my 7-year-old great nephew Austin went to his first rock concert. He, along with his dad and mom, saw a rock band called 311. I confess I had never heard of the group prior to learning that this 7-year-old was going to be up a heck of a lot later than I on New Year’s Eve 2017 at a rock concert. I still don’t know much about the group. What I do know, however, is that I didn’t see my first rock concert until I was considerably older than Austin.
The group I saw was the Doobie Brothers. I was 18 years old, and had just started college. I remember exactly two things about that concert: 1) The Doobie Brothers opened up the show with an AWESOME rendition of China Grove; and 2) there was so much marijuana smoke in the air that it was almost impossible to not get high, even when you were an innocent college freshman.
Since then, I have been to a handful of live concerts in my life (not to include symphony orchestra performances). I remember seeing Dan Fogleberg at Red Rocks. I saw Jesse Collin Young and Firefall. A few others. It’s safe to say, however, that I haven’t been to a live concert for 20 years or more.
But since this is the summer in which my motto is “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” it isn’t surprising that Bill and I agreed to accompany my sister Jen to a live concert. And who better with whom to break my 20-some-year concert fast but Keith Urban!
We’ve had our plans in place since this past February, when Jen Face Timed me while I was grocery shopping. Hey Kris! I just found out that Keith Urban is going to be at Fiddler’s Green on July 14. Do you and Bill want to go with me?
Without even consulting Bill, I gave her a resounding YES and she was immediately on the prowl for tickets. I didn’t have to wonder if Bill would be game for a couple of reasons: 1) Bill, too, is a fan of country music in general and Keith Urban in particular; and 2) Bill is game for just about anything.
I must shamefully admit something. While I, of course, have long been familiar with Keith Urban’s name, I didn’t really become familiar with his personality and his music until he became a judge on American Idol. Give me credit. I just admitted to two embarrassing things in one sentence: an unfamiliarity with a very well-known musician and the fact that I watch American Idol.
In the past three or four years, I have gotten extremely fond of country music, particularly the more contemporary stuff that doesn’t sound a lot different than other contemporary music, but generally with lyrics that I am willing to let my grandkids hear. Keith Urban quickly became one of my favorites because his music is mostly upbeat and I love, love, love to hear him play guitar. All of that provided great hope that it would be a wonderful concert, which it indeed was.
Fiddler’s Green is an outdoor amphitheater that is only a short distance from our Denver house. Even a concert neophyte like I know that outdoor concerts are the best, at least as long as the weather cooperates. And the weather was perfect – a cool night, just breezy enough to blow Keith Urban’s hair perfectly. We got there early because we’re senior citizens and that’s what senior citizens do……
But there were lots of other people there ahead of us.
Speaking of senior citizens, we were well represented at the concert, but there was a great mix of folks, ranging from families to young adults to, well, us.
Before the concert started, Jen and I decided we needed to enjoy an adult beverage. We made our way to one of the many outdoor venues selling a variety of beverages. We selected one with the shortest line. It happened to be a margarita booth, with — randomly, we thought — beverages that all contained bananas. While we were somewhat distrustful about a margarita with banana, we were pleasantly surprised.
As we waited in line, we began talking to the young man who was ahead of us. He was probably in his early 20s, and was clearly waiting in line for what would NOT be his first drink of the night. He couldn’t have been nicer to us. When someone tried to cut in line, he quickly scolded them, saying not to get in front of his two aunts. When we finally got to the front of the line, he bought us our drinks, which was a pricy undertaking. But it became a win-win when we learned that he was looking for a job as a financial advisor, which happens to be Jen’s line of work. She gave him her work number, and while we both wondered whether he would even remember the conversation, he in fact called her early the following week.
As with most live concerts, the audience was on its feet for the entire concert. Kelsea Ballerini opened up and sang for an hour before Keith Urban made his appearance at 8:30. It was 11 o’clock when we left. I think we were his favorite audience. In fact, I’m sure of it.
This is what Austin looked like at the end of his first concert…..
I think it’s safe to say that’s about how we all felt. But it was a great night.