Mondays are always a bit of a bite in the ass. Today seems especially blah for me, mainly because I just came off of a particularly awesome Sunday. It was full of activity and fun, but it was definitely the most schizophrenic sort of day I’ve had in quite a while.
The first half of the day was spent enjoying a big outdoor celebration hosted by Rock N Roll Ribs. This is a restaurant co-owned by Nicko McBrain, drummer for the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Nicko lives in South Florida, and a friend of mine (who is a friend of a friend of Nicko’s wife) invited us to come down for the event. We had to do a little driving to get there, but I’m glad we did. To be outdoors on a sunny Florida day is always a good time in itself, but this was a little something extra. The day featured pet adoptions and animal charity fundraisers, some tasty barbeque, and a full docket of local metal bands. Metal was never my favorite musical genre, and to be honest, I don’t own a single Iron Maiden album. But my husband loves them, and my kid is an aspiring drummer, so the opportunity to see a rock legend in action appealed to both of them. And, as the day went on and I got to hear a few of the bands that played there, I really found myself having a great time. Heavy metal music is very forceful and visceral, with a thundering vibe that you can’t ignore. There’s a certain energy to it that did get me going, even though I’m not that into it on a regular basis.
However, it was during one of the local sets that I started to feel my age a bit. I was not the oldest person there, not by a long shot, but I still realized that I was probably a bit too, um, “mature” to be in that crowd of headbangers. Many of the bands had a bunch of fans there to cheer them on, and these fans were mostly younger people. It didn’t escape my notice that I could probably be their mom, and that realization took the edge off my temporary metal buzz. So I took my old mom ass back out to the outer ring of the crowd, where my husband and kid were standing, and after a little more music and a good lunch, we took off for home.
I had needed to leave early anyway, because the Rock N Roll Ribs event was only the first of my musical adventures for the day. My dad had made a last-minute purchase of two tickets for the Palm Beach Pops in concert, and after my mom decided she wasn’t up for it, he invited me to go along. The concert would feature guest vocalists Lea Salonga, who won a Tony for her work in the musical Miss Saigon and was also the singing voice of two Disney princesses (Jasmine and Mulan), and David Burnham, who has appeared on Broadway in the hit Wicked. So, after sweating along with the rest of the metalheads in the mosh pit for the early part of the day, I got home and rushed to clean myself up and look ladylike enough for the theatre.
My father is a big fan of the theatre, and musical theatre in particular. Ever since I was a young kid, he has gone out of his way to take my sister and me to shows on as regular a basis as he could afford. Being with him for this concert reminded me of the times my dad had pulled me out of school early to catch a matinee of some show or another. He was the kind of guy who figured that an hour of math was not as important as catching Yul Brynner on his last tour of The King & I. I am grateful to this day that he believed the arts were an essential part of my education too.
When we got to the show that evening, I realized that I’d traveled 180 degrees to the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum from where I’d been earlier that day. The audience was exactly what you’d expect for a symphonic pops performance in South Florida – definitely a “mature” crowd. After the experience of feeling fairly decrepit at the Rock N Roll Ribs gig, I was a veritable spring chicken among this group.
And, as the show progressed, I felt even younger. This particular Palm Beach Pops performance was a collection of songs from Broadway and Disney films, in recognition of Ms. Salonga’s history with the Mouse’s movies. Both she and David Burnham did stellar versions of songs I’d shared with my dad over the years, such as When You Wish Upon a Star, I’d Give My Life For You, and People. Hearing those songs made me feel like a kid again, and being there with my dad emphasized that feeling a great deal.
When the show was over, we found that both Lea Salonga and David Burnham were in the lobby, meeting and greeting the audience. My dad’s face lit up, and he immediately took hold of my arm and started steering me toward the throng. This pretty much completed the time travel to my childhood for me, as this was always my dad’s signature move after a show when I was young. He always tried to get a word or an autograph for us from the performers if he could. At the very least, he made sure that we lingered in the theatre after the rest of the crowd had filtered out, to watch the orchestra packing up. He wanted my sister and me to connect in some way with the people who dedicated their lives to performing, and to appreciate the talent and effort they put into their craft. So just as I have done since about 35 years ago, when I first started accompanying my dad to the theatre, I let him guide me over to the line of fans waiting to meet the stars of the show.
Both of them were absolutely lovely to us, offering autographs and a little chit chat. Mr. Burnham also gave me a big, warm hug, for no apparent reason, but that’s show biz types for ya. My dad made sure to tell them both that I was his daughter, and how much he and his “girl” enjoyed the show. Even though I’m a middle-aged woman, I couldn’t help but feel like a kid who was missing math class again.
So, as I said, a very schizophrenic Sunday. Both parts of the day were enjoyable in their own way, but I have to be honest with y’all. Even though it was exciting and a bit “cooler” to be at the Rock N Roll Ribs event, that couldn’t beat a night at the theatre with my dad. Ask any woman you know – feeling younger beats feeling older every damn time.