When I heard that Jack Johnson was coming to town, whether or not to go see him was never a question in my mind (even though I was disappointed by his latest album). The question was with whom? For reasons I’ll never comprehend, concerts simply aren’t my wife’s cup of tea. Outdoor concerts are even less so.
So since going to a concert alone just seems sad, I needed to find a companion for the evening. I asked my wife if it was ok if I took a date. She consented.
My date was a fine young lady- pretty like my wife, sweet, and a little bit younger. She doesn’t mind that I have a gut and am a little dorky. I see her every day, but because I’m so busy, I was excited to finally have a little one-on-one time with her.
Believe it or not, she had never been to a concert before. But she’s a huge Jack Johnson fan- mostly from his soundtrack work. She’s not a high maintenance lady, which made things much easier for me- lawn seating and a sharing a concession stand combo meal would be A-OK with her. Best of all, I was able to get her in for free.
The concert was great, and though my date actually nodded off a time or two and tried to steal another girl’s nachos, we had a wonderful time. I realized early in the evening that keeping her happy was the key- something Jack Johnson and his openers handled for the most part.
I just had to keep her diaper dry and her pacifier handy.
My wife dropped us off at the front gate and ran through a quick checklist to make sure Miss Ella and I were all set for the event:
Sippy cup? Check.
Baby doll? Check.
Baby backpack? Check.
Pebbles hairdo and SpongeBob eyes? Check.
I wasn’t surprised to see several parents with their children, given the popularity of Johnson’s soundtrack to the Curious George movie, but my 1-year-old Miss Ella might have been the youngest. We spread our blanket on the lawn and were early enough to get a decent spot (as far as lawn seating goes). Then we bought some popcorn, which Miss Ella attempted to share with everybody we passed.
The first opener was British groover Dale Halstead, who got little reaction from the audience. Granted, Halstead’s set was pretty unremarkable. But I’ve never seen such an apathetic response to any first opener. I kinda felt sorry for the guy. It might make him feel better to know that Miss Ella happily danced along with each of his songs.
Halstead was followed by Rogue Wave, a band I was somewhat familiar with but not impressed enough to invest in. Their live performance, however, made me rethink. Miss Ella and I loved Rogue Wave.
It’s too bad the majority of the lawn audience decided to arrive and start finding a spot right during Rogue Wave’s set. A plethora of latecomers tried to fill the small spaces between our blanket and the others around us, so we all made a pact to place jackets, bags, and various other items in those spaces to deter the vultures and buy us some extra space later.
Miss Ella isn’t shy, and she began networking the minute we sat down. She’s only been walking for two weeks, so the sloping lawn proved tough to negotiate. Nonetheless, she was able to waddle onto the blankets of everybody around us- much to the initial chagrin and eventual delight of our neighbors.
Her to-do list was the same for each adjoining blanket: 1) lay down to test the softness, 2) show its occupants her baby doll, 3) study their faces, and 4) drop hints that she’d like a bite of their pizza or a sip of their Coke, 5) come back and check in with Dad, 6) move to the next blanket.
This was especially entertaining with the young couple to our right. It was obvious that this was the “big date,” the dealmaker. Ella trudged over to their blanket and plopped down next to the girl, whose motherly instincts immediately kicked in, quickly deflating the romantic mood her date had been so diligently crafting. She held Miss Ella and tickled her face for several minutes.
The guy was annoyed, but he understood well that revealing his displeasure would be disastrous. So he sat there with a pretend smile, waiting for Miss Ella to get bored and move on. Somehow detecting all this, Miss Ella gave him the same look she gives me after spilling a bowl of Spaghettios on the floor- the look that says, “Sucks to be you, huh?”
The boyfriend-to-be was not amused, but the rest of us could hardly contain our laughter.
Click here for part II of this review.