Thursday, October 25, 2012

Great Expectations vs. Reality


Great Expectations
Beyond just providing for their needs and protection, daddys love to do special things just for their daughters just because.  A couple of months ago we found out that Francesca Battistelli was going to be playing in Waco.  We saw her play a set at Sea World 18 months ago, but this was going to be her tour.  She's the headliner.  We knew that we wanted to take the girls, she's their favorite, but I wanted to give them something more. I looked into it and found out that there were VIP tickets available so I called the company producing the tour to get the details.  VIP tickets would include those cool laminate VIP cards on a lanyard, a poster, preferred seating, and a meet and greet session with Francesca before show.  It was an easy sell.  By midnight on the 23rd of October I was going to be the best daddy in Texas.  The girls would get to meet one of their heroes.  The boys would have splendid behavior.  Leslie and Francesca would become great friends and would exchange parenting stories and emails.
Reality Strikes
We picked the girls up from school, drove to Waco, and had an early supper at Chuy's.  My first time at Chuy's and I was impressed.  Good food, good service, reasonable prices.  Loved the creamy jalapeno and boom-boom sauces.  After stuffing our guts, Jones and Annie changed into their Francesca t-shirts. (Georgia had worn her's to school.)
We loaded up and made our way to Columbia Avenue Baptist Church.  VIP seating was at 5:30.  We were given our posters and put on our cool VIP pass lanyards and were shown to the front row.  I asked about the meet and greet session and was told that they weren't sure if that was going to happen, but that there would be an autograph line after the show.  My plans were already falling apart.
The concert wasn't supposed to start until 7:00.  Now we had five kids on our hands, 90 minutes to kill, plus three opening acts to get through until Francesca time.  Fortunately, I'm married to a woman who makes instant friends where ever she goes.  We met a lady and her seven-year-old daughter who had traveled from Roundrock with the same plans that we had.  The girls and moms spent the time playing and visiting with their new friends while I did my best to entertain the boys.  I was proud of the kids for their patience and good behavior.
Finally, the hour was nigh.
Concert Review
The church was a slightly smaller version of the Ryman Auditorium, my favorite concert venue. 
City Harbor, a guy and gal duo, opened the show.  Great acoustic sound accompanied by the drummer from Sidwalk Prophets playing a box with his hands and a suitcase and tamborine with foot pedals.  Their short set concluded with a great version of one of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. I liked them enough to by their 4 song EP after the show.  I wasn't sure what the girls thought of them at the time, but it was what Georgia and Annie wanted to listen to on repeat the next morning.
Here is their best song...
Andy Cherry was next.  I didn't like the looks of the guy when he came on stage, but by the end of the first song I was a fan.  Things got loud when he hit the stage.  I'd brought foam earplugs for the kids, but it was a little too loud for Annie and Loden.  She snuggled her hear against my chest and Leslie papoosed Loden against hers.  A one man show, he built his songs using looped guitar riffs and got the crowd involved and singing with him.  He had every one on their feet and finished his set with a roof raising version of Nothing But the Blood.
Sidewalk Prophets came on next and put on a great show.  The kids were more responsive to them since they were familiar with some of their songs from the radio.  They are a great rock-and-roll band.  Much better live and loud than they are on the radio.  I listened to their Live Like That CD all the way through today.  My favorite song is the one they opened with at the concert, Wrecking Ball.  Check it out....

Right after Sidewalk Prophets left the stage, Francesca strolled out by herself and kind of took everyone off guard.  You expect the headliner to have some big intro or something, but we looked up and there she was.  She thanked everyone for coming, then brought out her husband and they talked about World Vision and opportunities to sponsor children in third world countries.  I think this was a good time for my girls to see that Francesca was just a regular person with a husband and kids.  She left the stage and there was a 15 min intermission before her showtime.
By the time Francesca hit the stage with her band it was past bedtime for our kids, but they hung in there.  Annie and West spent most of the time in our laps.  Jones and Georgia and their new friend mostly just sat in their seats and stared with rapt attention as their favorite singer sang the favorite songs 10 feet in front of them.  She shared with the audience some personal stories about herself, her family, and some of the band members, and that it had been a stressful day personally.  Turned out that this was the 20th date on this particular tour. 
Just Frannie and her husband, Matt, while the rest of the band took a break.

Francesca and her band did a great job with every song.  Here's the last minute of "Free To Be Me".....
Reality Settles In
After the show we visited the merchandise tables and were told that Frannie was not feeling well and wouldn't be doing a welcome line or signing autographs. We did the potty shuffle and got everyone into their jammies and seatbelts and started for home around 10:45.
The kids all passed out soon after we left the parking lot and Leslie and I had 30 minutes of driving time to process things on the way home.  Whatever bitterness that had started to growing about not getting our meet and greet session melted to disappointment, then faded to understanding on our way home.  Francesca is a young mom with a son West's age and a daughter born a couple of weeks before Loden.  She'd been traveling around the country on a bus for over a month, had played in Oklahoma the night before, and would be playing another show in Indiana on Thursday.  We were dealing with the hassle of traveling 30 miles to Waco and a late bedtime for one night, while she was in the middle of a two month stretch of late nights away from home.  

I don't regret the time or money we spent taking the kids to the show.  Front and center seats were awesome.  It was a great time for all of us.  I was reminded of some things though:
Even sort of famous people are still people.
By default I'm the coolest daddy my girls have no matter what kind of tickets I can get.  They're stuck with me.
Being a mom is a hard job full of emotions that I can observe, but can't understand.
I love my wife.
My girls probably think that a $2 doughnut date before school is just as special as dinner out and a Francesca concert.

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