My daughter's first concert was the Dixie Chicks. She was six, and it was the tour after "the incident." I'd gotten the tickets gratis from a friend. At the time, I was in a deeply conservative workplace in one of the most Republican counties in the United States, and I and felt as though I was showing my child the ropes in the French Resistance. Midway through the show, a woman turned around and looked at us and gave me a thumbs-up, and I burst into tears.
Last night we saw John Mayer in Dallas, and he thrilled us both. Of course he is tabloid fodder, especially these days, and in his brief monologues he only expressed his gratitude for his fans and said that if he was able to lift all of us up from the tedium of our lives (not his words, but the sentiment I heard) for a couple of hours, he felt he was doing something meaningful.
His dating habits get much press, as do his flaky comments, although he assumes most people give him creative leeway and take what he says with a grain of salt, which ends up seeming rather sweet when you see him in person. Anyway, he didn't use the word "napalm" or anything worse, and he played well for both the screaming girls (though they were pretty quiet) the Gen-Xers, and the twenty-something guys sitting quietly listening to his brilliant riffs.
I am as busy at work as I can ever remember, and I had no business taking a night to run off to see a rockstar. But my teenager and I actually have overlap in our musical tastes, and the nosebleed seats I got as a member of the general public didn't break me. So we watched the crowd roar when the deep and brooding one hit the stage, and we jumped up and down when he played our favorites. For my readers who are music snobs--and if you are and don't have children, know it's a hard line to walk when you do--you should know that Mayer is the real thing. Listen to his live recording in LA, and tell me if you can really say you hate it. And I know I won't remember any of the many nights I work late. But my child said, "This. Is. Awesome. Thanks." I'll remember that for sure.