This past spring, fully aware that we have a toddler and another little one on the way, Will and I made our Before Baby List. This list just included a few things we would like to try to do before Asher’s arrival. One of those items was to go to a concert together- in almost five years of marriage, that is one of the things we had not done that would be both attainable and enjoyable. A month or so later, I noticed that a friend of mine had made a comment on her Facebook page about a Kenny Chesney concert later in the summer. Curious, I began to look at who was playing Walnut Creek over the next few months, noting a few bands I really enjoy. I love music, really love it actually. I listen to many different kinds, but primarily listen to contemporary Christian, country, and pop/rock, usually top 40 kinds of stuff.
In looking at the concert line-up, most of the groups performing that I liked fell into the country category. I noted that Brad Paisley was performing but the timing wasn’t going to work out; I saw Rascall Flatts was up in August but for some reason I can’t recall at the time, that didn’t seem quite right (now I am thankful we did not buy tickets because it turns out that ended up being the weekend we moved!). That left Kenny Chesney. Sticking that in the back of my mind, because I like the majority of his songs, I checked out Christian artists that would be playing in Eastern NC over the summer. Unfortunately I didn’t really see any that I liked that would be playing at a time/place we could manage.
I mentioned to Will that we should go to a concert and that Kenny Chesney was playing in late August, and to my surprise, Will immediately said to buy some tickets…now, my husband likes country music, and he knew a few of Kenny Chesney’s songs, but I didn’t expect him to be so willing to go. Noting my hesitation, he encouraged me to just do it, so I purchased two lawn “seats” and then spent the next little bit wondering if I should have spent the money…you know, new baby on the way and everything.
Fast forward to August 30. Will and I are excited about the opportunity to be alone for more than a couple of hours at a time, including dinner and a concert. My parents were wonderful and had agreed to watch Eila, knowing we wouldn’t get home until around midnight from Raleigh. Feeling some anxiety over being away from Eila that long, I set out with my husband and we made our way towards Walnut Creek. After a dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, we got over to the Creek and parked. After a somewhat lengthy walk to the amphitheatre, blanket, chairs, and cooler in tow, we were ready to go through security and the gates.
Here’s what I learned from Kenny at the Creek…
1) So not fun to go to a concert while you are pregnant- not because of the heat really, but because you find yourself frequenting the bathrooms at an alarming rate and the bathrooms, well, they are nasty. And lines are long. And people are drunk. You get the picture.
2) You are not allowed to bring in cameras.
3) It is helpful to bring an extra pair of capris along in case you get hot in your denim ones. Not because you actually get hot and need to change, but because you can smuggle your camera in by putting it in the pocket of your extra capris and security does not look there if you are carrying the said capris in your arms.
4) Security is not very secure. They seriously do not check items closely enough.
5) Do not bring chairs that sit more than 9 inches off the ground. If you are pregnant, however, you are granted a medical excuse and are allowed to bring one chair in. (I never sat in it, one, because people behind me wouldn’t have been able to see, and two, it would be wierd to sit in the chair while my husband sat on the ground at my feet…actually, writing that makes it sound kind of appealing ;).
6) There is no need to worry about people behind me being able to see, as they stood on their feet the entire time yelling “Kenny, I love you” (mind you a guy said this).
7) It is amazing to see what people find to wear to a concert. Wow.
On a more serious note though, I think the lessons I learned most were in regard to our culture today. I left the concert asking Will if we had just gotten old, but thankfully, I think it was much more than that. I found myself distracted and saddened by how drunk so many people had gotten/were getting around us. People falling on other people, people having a hard time standing up, people not even registering half of what was going on. Yes, it was also partly annoying, as the people behind us were singing along so loudly with the songs that we could barely hear Kenny Chesney, and I’m sorry, but I did not pay money for tickets to hear them singing “I Go Back”. And then there were the very rude people that would step right on the quilt we were sitting on, narrowly missing us by a small margin. Or the people beside me, that after the guy had a discussion with me about pregnancy because his wife is due in a month and he appeared to be slightly perturbed by the thought of being a dad, his companion lights up a cigarette and begins polluting the air of myself and my unborn child. But more than feeling annoyed over all these things, I just felt sad.
The saddest thing I remember occurred during one of my many trips to the bathroom. As I walked down the hallway to the toilet area, a girl a few years younger than me came walking by, going out the wrong way. She staggered from side to side, and as I looked into her eyes as she neared, the absolute blankness in them broke my heart. I don’t know if I can explain it, but for some reason, that image haunts me. Perhaps it is because so many there, particularly this young woman, appeared to lack the light of Christ in their lives- they were drinking and drinking and drinking, and of course, Christians sometimes drink (I like a glass of wine every once in a while- when I’m not pregnant/nursing), but this was a different kind of drinking. A kind of drinking that seemed to have the purpose of filling some void, of easing the way into oblivion to allow for forgetting whatever was to be forgotten. An emptiness.
I told Will that as much as I enjoy music of different kinds, when it comes to concerts, I would like to stick to Christian ones. Of course, being there to hear Kenny, I was able to remember a lot of life that I am not often exposed to (it definitely brought to mind the UNC days of Franklin Street after a win or on Halloween), and I intend to keep praying for that young woman. That she will find what she is looking for, hopefully in the person of Jesus (if she doesn’t know Him) rather than in a bottle.