Last night's events felt like something straight out of a movie script. Amelia and I celebrated her 6th birthday by going to her first concert to see one of her favorite bands, The Beths. The events that unfolded restored some of my hope for humanity.
When we arrived at the Beachland Ballroom, we definitely got some looks. She was the only kid her age there and she was bouncing off the walls excited. We went to check-in, and when the big burly bearded man stamped Amelia's hand, he said with a smile, "I hope you like unicorns." Amelia was stoked to find out that her hand now had an "I love unicorns" stamp on it.
We stopped at the bar and got her a Shirley Temple and sat down at a table to wait for things to get started. I chit-chatted with a fellow that drives for Cleveland Brew Tours while Amelia sipped her Shirley Temple and watched people mill around.
When The Village Bicycle started playing, Amelia wanted to be closer to the stage. We walked up, and a kind couple lent us an extra chair from their table for Amelia to stand on to get a better view. My arms thanked them. Amelia had a lot to say about the band and really enjoyed them. The Village Bicycle had a great vibe to them with so many influences. The lead singer really ripped on guitar, the bass and drums were super synced, and they were a blast to watch.
Between bands, we went and grabbed water. While in line, I had a man a little older than myself ask me how old Amelia was. He told me that he's been trying to convince his wife to take his kid to a show too.
Bad Bad Hats was second. They were absolutely lovely. Kerry had probably the funniest stage banter I've ever heard from a band, they were super solid, and they were just so much fun to watch. Amelia pretty much danced the entire time. Near the end of the set, she was starting to get tired, and wanted to get on my shoulders. She was having trouble, and I heard someone behind me say "Coming in with the assist", as he helped her up onto my shoulders.
On the last song, I explained to Amelia that between bands, people will go get more drinks, and that's when we need to sneak attack our way to the front. We didn't even need to be sneaky though as she just cutely walked through the crowd saying "excuse me" to each person she needed to pass, while I held up my hand in thanks and a sheepish grin.
When we got to the front of the stage, a lovely man named Eli got this huge grin on his face and chatted her up. He asked Amelia about her birthday and about how she was enjoying the show. He waved down a tech on stage and asked if he had something that Amelia could stand on to see the stage better (he's going to be a great dad some day). The tech looked around a bit and then asked, "Are you her father?", and Eli responded with, "No, I'm her best friend!" I laughed, waved at the tech and told him that I was her father. He told us to meet him at the side of the stage. That's right. Amelia schmoozed her way backstage.
We stood to the side as bands were switching out gear. We talked a tiny bit to the bassist and drummer of Bad Bad Hats, and then Liz (the lead singer of the Beths) came over and knelt down and shook Amelia's hand. Amelia talked to her, star-struck, while I talked with the tech and security guard about backstage rules. The security guard looked like your typical hardened venue security guard, but he was smiling and telling me all about his own daughter.
Then the show began. Amelia and I watched them play and play. A few times Liz would be rocking out looking back and would give us a smile. They absolutely killed it. I sang along and Amelia would smile every time they would start a song that she knew. About three quarters of the way through the set, Liz told the crowd, "there's this really cool young person watching us from the side of the stage, and I believe it's her birthday." She asked how old, and I responded, and the crowd cheered for her. Liz led the crowd in shouting "Happy Birthday!" to Amelia, who had a huge smile on her face.
After the set, I chatted with Jonathan (the guitarist) about guitar pedals, while Amelia was charming the rest of the band. When we were done, she got a picture with them and I don't think I've seen her happier.
Amelia got a rad Beths shirt, I got a Bad Bad Hat (a beanie with "bad bad" written on it) and we got Bad Bad Hats' latest record on vinyl. Amelia, of course, charmed all the bands at their merch tables. As we left, we chatted with Eli a bit and Amelia gave him a hug and thanked him. We also chatted with the security guard, and Amelia gave him a hug as well.
We got in the car and grabbed Arby's because Amelia was starving after dancing so much. Within about 15 minutes of driving she was passed out sleeping.
Now how am I going to top that birthday?