Slice of Life: Night Train

Slice of Life(This is part of the Slice of Life project at Two Writing Teachers)

The very first rock concert that I ever attended was the prog-rock band, Yes, and I joined a group of friends and my older brothers and his friends. It was at the Hartford Civic Center and I still remember the feeling of the bass notes pounding through my heart. (Ironically, Yes just came around again, hitting my town a few weeks ago but I didn’t go.)

I mention this because last night, I took my older boys (10, 12) to their very first rock concert. The band, Train, was in town at a theater and I thought Train would be a good intro into the concert experience. I was right. The boys were thrilled, and the band put an a great show, complete with lights, loud guitars and power pop singing. The three of us danced in the aisles together, along with the crowd, to songs like Soul Sister, Drops of Jupiter, Virginia and more. (Their website allows you to take a listen for free to a bunch of songs.)

The band even covered a few songs, so I would bend down from time to time, and say, “That’s Led Zepelin,” or “That’s a song from Van Halen” and “Doobie Brothers did that one, first,” as if I were giving some tour of music that shaped my world as a kid.

A few highlights from the show:

  • Their version of Led Zep‘s “Ramble On” was incredible and singer Pat Monahan was like a replica of Robert Plant. This guy can sing and hit the notes.
  • At one point, Monahan said that he liked small concert halls because of the acoustics. He then asked if he could sing us a song “without this microphone getting in the way of you and me,” and we all cheered. He put down the mic, stood up tall and then serenaded us with no amplification on a powerful song whose name I now forget. I thought that was pretty cool.
  • The band brought a whole lot of fans on stage to dance, and help sing songs, and I thought, these guys are having too much fun. Later, I told my boys that I thought Monahan had a real stage presence and put on quite a show. Not quite like Bruce Springsteen, perhaps, but Monahan knew his audience well.
  • The opening act was Butch Walker and the Black Widows. They were very energetic, too, and I kind of liked them. I always pay attention to opening bands because sometimes, they are the stars of the future.

It was late when we finally left, and with the clock change, I imagine today is going to be a bit of a drag. But it was worth it. Oh, one other funny slice of the event. My sons filled up some baggies with cheese popcorn (they are always hungry), but worried as we walked to the theater that they would be in trouble if they got caught smuggling in food.

“What will they do to us if they catch us?” my 10 year old wanted to know.

What I thought was, kid, you don’t know the kinds of things I have smuggled into concerts in my day. What I said was, “Aww, don’t worry about it. It’s just popcorn.”

No one even checked.

Peace (in the show),

  1. I loved reading this piece thinking about my first concert (Foghat). It is great that you took your boys. They will always remember that event. It sounds like you enjoyed it as much as they did. There is something to be said for going to concerts as we get older. My last concert was several years ago. My husband and I went to see Elton John with friends. It made us feel young again.

  2. Wow, what a wonderful event for the three of you. You won’t forget it and when they are older, writing about their lives, I’ll bet you make it in. I wonder where music will take them. I’ll bet you’re wondering too.

  3. I can just see you bending down to share those insights with your boys. This piece made me think of my husband taking our daughter to see Paul McCartney for her 17th birthday and their delight in telling me the story of Paul singing “She was just 17”.

  4. Sounds like so much fun! It’s been a while since I went to a concert but I loved them as a high school and college kid. Train is an awesome group; I’d love to see them!

  5. I thought I was hearing Yes on the radio the other day, but couldn’t believe a band that far in the past was making a comeback. I was in love with that cute lead singer.
    I enjoy your chronicles of raising sons, from baseball to sneaking food into concerts.

  6. This post made me smile – it gave me a great connection back to my own love for concerts, as well as my hopes to share concerts with my children some day! Even more ironically, though, is that today as I was driving in our finally sunny weather, with the window rolled down, I was singing at the top of my lungs and bobbin’ my head to “Soul Sister”, and thinking of the ways I could incorporate it into my writing. You beat me to it. 🙂 I absolutely love train and have so many memories tied to their songs. Thanks for sharing yours so vividly!

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