A few weeks ago, on a Saturday night, we took Mazzy and Harlow to their very first concert. I mean, we’ve seen live music before but it’s always been free concerts in the park, which is always more about lugging lawn chairs, doing cartwheels in the grass and getting popsicles from the ice cream truck than the actual music. This was a REAL concert, with tickets and everything.
Plus, it was an Andy Grammer concert, which was an especially huge deal for Harlow, since he is her favorite musician. She became obsessed after seeing a video of him singing “Don’t Give Up on Me” on a NYC subway platform on Instagram.
Since seeing that video, Harlow has been singing that song constantly (regularly asking Alexa to play it) and her performances have made regular appearances on my Instagram story (including the time she tried to learn it on the ukulele), prompting one of my followers to message me about an upcoming Andy Grammer concert at Pier 17 Rooftop in South Street Seaport. Pier 17 also happens to be the same place Lincoln had that rooftop glamping event that I attended over the summer, so I emailed them and they hooked my whole family up with VIP tickets. WHAT A TREAT!!!!!
Turns out, Pier 17 is an awesome outdoor venue for a concert, particularly for kids, because it’s big-ish, but not too intimidating like an arena might be. It also has beautiful views of both the NYC skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, so it feels open and airy and not like you are trapped in a sea of people.
Since we had VIP tickets (the kids were particularly excited about their VIP lanyards), we had access to a bar and restaurant area with free food and drinks, which was a nice place to take the kids if they needed to decompress. That turned out unnecessary though, because my kids were fully invested in the concert and wanted to be as close to the action as possible the entire time.
There are a few things you need to do to prepare your kids, if you are taking them to their first concert:
1) You will be waiting for the main event for a long time. You need to arrive early to get situated, concerts rarely start on time and then, just when you think things are about to get interesting, you usually have to sit through some no name band that sucks. It helped that Mazzy met up with some friends there and they all sat on the floor chatting and playing for about an hour and a half before Andy Grammer came out on stage.
2) If you are going to a general admission concert which is standing only, your kid is not going to have a very good view. They are going to be staring at a crowd of butts and backs. Unless, of course, you are willing to put them on your shoulders, which means, they will have the best seat in the house. You might piss off some people behind you, but those are the kinds of choices you will have to make. You will also be sacrificing your own comfort because kids get heavy and crowded concerts get hot. In our case, Mike had Harlow on his shoulders for most of the time and picked up Mazzy at key moments.
3) If your kid is there because she’s got a favorite song, I will bet money it’s because it’s the band’s most popular song, which means that song will probably get played dead last. Not only last, but more than likely as the encore song, which means there will be a short period where the concert appears to be over and your kid will think the artist skipped their favorite fucking song. Trying to explain the way concert encores work seemed totally stupid and pointless to my kids, but then, just as we were truly about to give up, “Don’t Give Up on Me” started playing, the excitement from the kids was palpable and it all made sense in one huge crescendo of a concert experience.
In the end, Harlow didn’t just make our whole family Andy Grammer fans, she made us fans of concerts in general. I thought a lot about my experiences with concerts growing up and realized that I never went to a rock concert with my parents when I was little. I don’t think many people did. I went to my first concert in high school and by then, I was going with friends so, let’s just say…there were a lot of other things going on besides the music. My memory of concerts as a teenager was being very much out of my comfort zone. Having the security of your parents and the unselfconscious joy of feeling the music as a 9yo and 6yo is entirely different thing. The Andy Grammer concert last Saturday night was one of my most joyous experiences ever.
I didn’t know whether to watch the show or watch my kids watching the show. I think Mike even teared up when “Don’t Give Up on Me” came on at the end, because by that point it meant just as much to him as it meant to Harlow.
She had been prepping us all for that moment for months. Even Mazzy knew all the words and sang along to everything. So now, I just want to do it again. Take us to all the concerts! Pure fucking joy.
Next up: Billie Eillish. Don’t tell Mazzy, though— it’s a surprise!
Follow my family in real time over on @mommyshorts Instagram.