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With the gift of hindsight, it's clear we jumped the gun in attending our family’s first rock concert.
The Newsboys were in town to perform a short set of a few songs. My son was only six at the time, and my daughter just three. They knew the Newsboys mainly from their song "Belly of a Whale" from one of the VeggieTales videos, but had heard a few other songs of theirs as well.
"We're going to get to see them in person," I announced one night at dinner. Cool, my young son responded.
But when it came time for the event, it was definitely sub-cool. We claimed four spots in the third row of the open-seating show. But from the moment of the opening guitar lick for "Shine," my son shot his little hands to his ears, stunned at how loud it was. My daughter’s reaction was similar. By the time the Newsboys rocked their way to their third song, we were sliding out of our prime seats, and relocating to a quieter overflow room, concerned that our kids' tiny heads might explode.
Fast forward a few years, and the Bennett family took another run at a concert – this time, a 19-song set at Denver’s legendary outdoor venue Red Rocks to see singer-songwriter Chris Tomlin.
Like last time, we scored remarkable seats. My wife and I had seen Tomlin's show a couple years ago in Colorado Springs. During the concert, he encouraged the crowd to sign up for a 'special opportunity' to purchase tickets the next time he's in the area. He wasn't kidding.
Our seats were in the second row. This was a big deal to me wife and I, who have never been this close to the stage at a large venue. Our kids didn’t always seem to fully grasp what a big deal it was, peppering us with silly questions like: do we have to stay for the whole thing?
Despite some early uncertainties, and temperatures into the 40s that had us donning ski caps and blankets before it was over, it was a terrific evening. We were singing, dancing, laughing and praising God together as a family – surrounded by the natural beauty of the over-sized sandy rock structures that frame the amphitheater. As the show wound down near 11 p.m., my daughter was fading fast, our voices were raw from singing, but our hearts were full with a memory of a great night out together.
Some family memories you create through careful thought, planning and preparation. Other times, it’s those occasions when things don’t go exactly as planned that you’ll recall fondly in years to come. Truth be told, we still remember – and share good laughs about – our family’s very first concert together. I think it’s the “together” part that matters most.
Rich Bennett (@coloradorich) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Vice President of Ministry & Marketing Strategy for Focus on the Family.
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