Monday, July 24, 2006

The Romantics play and Elianna rushes

So it was cloudy Friday night, not really pool weather, and I had gotten home early. My friend Alexander was in town and I'd mentioned The Romantics concert as a possible meeting spot, but his family obligations meant not being able to call. What the heck, now that I'd put forward the idea of seeing the Romantics, I thought it'd be nice to take a ride downtown and do it. The first problem was convincing Aaron, initially he said no. He asked if they played kids songs, and he didn't like the answer. A while later, I came up with a better reply: "two guitars, bass and drum, just like the Beatles." That helped, but I needed a clincher: "And we can go to the show in the convertible with the top down." I also had to promise that we'd leave if he didn't like it, in exchange for which he agreed to give it at least half an hour.

Elianna has taken to wearing dresses, and she was in a bit of a princess getup, with a pink dress and a little plastic pink tiara. On the ride down, she ducked her head down low, to protect from the wind; Aaron was looking around at everything ("Hey, a taxi cab! What's a taxi cab doing in West Bloomfield?"). Getting there was a bit of a hassle; I could park in my regular spot, but we had to maneuver past Dixie Chicks traffic at Joe Louis and Tigers traffic at Comerica to get there. We ended up taking a scenic tour past Eastern Market and Greektown to get to the river.

After feeding the kids, we got out to the concert area. The sound was great everywhere, but from anywhere down on the steps down to the river there was no way to see the stage. I had gotten out 61/49 a couple nights earlier and had played it through a couple of times; I really like it, and I had remembered exactly none of it. The refresher helped, a lot.

The scene at RenCen, except for the steps with no view, was very nice. Perfect weather, in the upper 70s. Boats on the water with people taking it in, a restaurant in the RenCen with a viewing deck. A good size audience -- and, for anyone wondering, not lilly white, either.

The concert started. Aaron didn't care, he was more interested in the boats than the music. But by the 2nd song, Elianna wanted to get up and dance. Her initial dance was jumping up and down the steps... not good on 2 foot concrete steps. So I asked if she might like to go over to the main area, where she could see the stage. This worked. Then, as the band started in on "Midnight to Six Man," she started running forward, in the general direction of the stage. She started from a couple hundred feet away, probably, where it was pretty open. Every few feet she looked back, smiled, and waved me to come forward, quickly getting in to areas with not enough room to dance. She was rushing the stage! My 5-year old daughter is a stage rusher! She was just beaming. Darting in and out of people, and exasperating poor dad. No one seemed to mind; in retrospect, I think it must have been the effect of the tiara. Finally, she got to within 15 feet of the stage, and... I confess, I made her stop (she was now going through and around lawn chairs). After a couple moments there, she decided she wanted to go back to mommy and Aaron.

Enough of that, I thought. Lori thought it hilarious; obviously, the Candy Band effect. Of course, it then occurred to me that I could never show myself here, having actually stopped my daughter from a perfectly wonderful stage rush. I'd have to fix that, but first Aaron needed his bathroom break. This meant going in to the building. The crosswalk is very close to the stage, with an excellent view. On the way back, Aaron declared that he'd given it his fair shot and wanted to go home. Fortunately, it was only 25 minutes in, so I had an answer. And Elianna wanted to dance again.

The song started, and almost immediately she made a break for it. "I want to go to the front!!" This time, I was resolved to let her go all the way up if she could make it. She slithered through the crowd, but at about 20 feet from the stage encountered a pair of wide bodies along the aisle. She could have made it through, but I had no chance. Rather than take another route, she decided to go back to mommy and Aaron again. A lady gave her a freebie WCSX necklace that the radio station had been giving out before the show. She was glowing.

By the time we made it back, Aaron was ready to leave. The band had played "Talking in Your Sleep," and about half of 61/49. But Lori wanted at least to see them one time, and she was trying to hold out for "What I Like About You." Lori got up to see them, and Aaron said he knew a good place... and disappeared. Elianna wanted another dance. Of course, she made an immediate break for it. But this time, still near the back, an unsuspecting concertgoer decided to stretch just as she passed... and tripped her (what a putz!!). That ended her rushing for the night, but her wounds were light, just a hand scrape and a few tears. After a few minutes, with Aaron still gone, we formed a search party; we quickly found him with an escort of two security guards, coming back. The two kids then made a break in another direction -- to the fountains on the other side of the stage. Elianna proceeded to dance there, getting thoroughly drenched in the process and amusing Aaron to no end. We had to cover her with the blanket when we finally returned; coincidentally, it was just then that The Romantics closed the main set with "What I Like About You." Aaron recognized that one -- it's been redone as a kids song by some girl's group (Lillix, maybe?). If only I'd remembered, I wouldn't have needed the Beatles line, but now the show had Aaron's approval. As the song started, suddenly there were about 2 dozen women on stage dancing with the band, and for that moment I really wished I'd let Elianna make it to the front.

Today I asked Elianna if she liked the concert, and she just glowed as she said yes. I asked what her favorite part was, and she said, "dancing in the fountain." And then, "I got to see the stage" and finally, "I want to go to the stage so I can dance like a rock and roll star!"

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