4:00AM. My husband gently tugged at me to wake me up. I had promised my 11 year old son that I would treat him to something special.
I dragged myself out of my comfy bed and washed my face with cold water. My eyes were red from lack of sleep, but I was excited about the upcoming Adventure with my oldest son. Excited because it was so rare that I got a chance to be with him alone, without the distractions of the other kids, to do something that I knew he would enjoy.
He was a bit harder to get up, but eventually we were both dressed and managed to head out of our dark, quiet apartment, and onto the dark, quiet, still empty streets of NYC. We took the 1 train downtown.
We were making our way to Central Park to watch the first of the Summer Concert Series being hosted by Good Morning America. Today’s performers were Green Day, who also happen to be one of my 11 year old’s favorite bands. My son was so excited to be going to the concert, and I even more so. I thought on our way there about the last performance we had seen together and laughed when I realized that it had been Blue’s Clues in Radio City many years ago when he was about 4 years old. As early as we tried to arrive, we still did not beat the hard-hard core fans who were there even hours earlier, and thus ended up on the line 2 blocks away from the entrance.
Despite the line, we were having a good time. The weather was wonderful, it was still somewhat cool and comfortable and the sun was still waking up slowly. We bought a t-shirt, took pictures, and even met and chatted with a family that came in from New Jersey to see the concert, having been up since 3AM to get there!
The line started moving and the crowd steadily made their way in. They separated the crowds up so that not too many people were going in at once and causing road blocks. When we were waiting behind the last barricade before entering the stage area an officer came up to the officer managing the flow of crowd and told him to only let about 20 more people in! Luckily we were right in front and made the cut off! When we finally reached the stage area, we could feel the excitement in the air!
The wait seemed like it was going to be longer. My son sat down for a bit. The GMA producer and crew still had a morning show to do and so the crowd cheered to the cameras as they filmed us between breaks, and cheered to the weatherman as he did his report. No one really expected to see the band for another 2 hours…until they came out for sound check, then the crowd went crazy! The sound check was like a concert in itself (minus the low acoustics and constant interruption for weather reports and such). It was an awesome way to warm up for the real deal.
At one point, the combination of having been up so early and the crowds, in addition to my 11 year old’s overwhelming excitement made him vomit. But even as he did, he was still saying how excited he was to be there, and he couldn’t believe how great they sounded…and “Oh man, they’re playing American Idiot now!”
The truth is it was an awesome concert. There were people of all ages there, big and small, young and old, of all ethnicities, from all around the Tri-state area. The crowd was into it the entire time, waving, singing along, and even forming a mosh pit in the middle of the crowd. At one point, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, had a little girl, maybe about 6 or 7 go up on stage and dance while he did his magic on the electric guitar. The little girl danced and waved and jumped as if she was born for this moment. At another great moment he reached out to the audience to see who would sing on stage to all the words of one song, and after a few tries, it was a young, excited African American girl who, as she caught her breath, rocked to the vocals of the song without pause or faltering, and as Billie Joe watched in awe. Definitely a highlight of the entire event.
After an hour of music, dancing, singing, moshing, jumping, and waving, it was over. Me and my very tired 11 year old started making our way out of the park. We walked slowly taking the experience in, while my son quietly sang Know Your Enemy and I revelled in having shared this special moment with my first born.
Later on as we watched the replay on t.v. giving my husband the behind the scenes details, my son hugged me and said, “This was by far our greatest Adventure ever! Thanks Mom.” You rock Green Day!
To catch highlights of the concert as well as get a list of upcoming performances, check out the GMA Concert Series site here.
Note that the number of audience members is limited regardless of whether you waited on line, so make sure you arrive early to stand on line before the 6:00AM admittance to the performance of your choice.