In an insane circumstance, I ended up going to my 6th show in 8 days. It’s not that my initial goal was to go out so many nights, it just sort of happened that all the bands or artists I wanted to see were clumped together that way. I knew ahead of time that this would be difficult. I would need to sneak in some extra naps while the kids were at school, find some babysitters, coordinate all the usual stuff like rides and friend meet-ups. But even little things like housecleaning and meal prepping (both usually my “jobs”) suffered. I pre-made some freezer meals and did a lot of microwaving on paper plates and we all survived. But I did have some “mommy guilt” from missing out on so many bedtimes in a row.
The last show, to cap off my run, was Hippocampus, a brilliant band of young men who kind of-recently graduated from St. Paul Conservatory. Unfortunately some factors made this the worst day to go see another show. First, it was the end of Daylight Savings Time, so I got an hour less sleep. Then, I had a baby shower to go to that afternoon. It’s not that I minded seeing some dear friends and celebrating the new mom and baby, but I was really dragging by that time. During the shower, at my friend’s house in St. Paul, the snowstorm hit. I spent 45 minutes in very slow-moving traffic on 35W, trying to keep my calm which is hard when you don’t know what’s up ahead (a nine-car accident, it turns out).
Anyway, fast forward a couple hours and I was back out on the streets, headed downtown with the same friend who had hosted the shower. It was an early show, and it was still light out, due to the time change, so everything had a weird Twilight Zone filter on it already. Then we walked in the door to First Ave and didn’t get carded.
What? All-ages show. That’s what. How had I failed to see this information before? First Ave was packed, but not in the way it usually is, with people spread out moderately between the stage and the bar. Everyone here was on the floor mashed up as close as possible to the person in front of them, and there was plenty of room by the bar, which I assume was only serving water. It took us a minute to get our bearings and realize that upstairs is where we really wanted to be. Yes, we got carded on the stairs, and yes, the few people milling around there were drinking the grown-up drinks. This was where we belonged. We settled in behind the control booth, where I have never, ever stood for a concert before. The glass actually blocks enough of the sound to be able to have a conversation with the person next to you. We could pretty much see the stage, through some obstacles, and I had a strange sense of comfort, looking down at the melee below and knowing I didn’t have to be in it.
Of course I should’ve known that Hippocampus’ fans were going to be teenagers, and more specifically, teenaged girls. They are amazing to me as musicians, but they are also attractive, charming, and cool. I marveled at how high-pitched the crowd’s roar (screech?) was between songs.
Standing there, I was torn between trying to enjoy a live show that clearly appealed to a different demographic than mine, and counting down the minutes until it was over so I could go to bed. I knew, as I had probably known for the last couple days, that I had overdone it.
On our way out, we hopped over to Prince’s star for a picture, which is something I do about 80% of the time I go to First Ave. In hindsight, I think it would have been a fun goal to take a selfie with his star EVERY time I visit First Ave, but now that I’ve missed a few times I feel like there’s no point in starting. I got home at a decent time that night and went straight to bed, feeling old and tired. Maybe 41 year-old moms aren’t supposed to go out to every show. But maybe not all 41 year-old moms are having as much fun as I am.