My ultimate stress buster is listening to loud music in the car. The song need not be jumpy; it could well be an emotional one as long as the volume is turned up. In fact, many a times I am left singing at the top of my own voice, oblivious to those driving around me.
It is this enthusiasm that drove us to Abu Dhabi for a music concert two weeks back. This was a live performance by a much-loved Indian singer with a quintessential dreamy voice. The event was scheduled for a Friday evening, so we decided to check into a hotel 1) to make a weekend out of it, and 2) to avoid having to drive back at night with a child in the car (best decision ever). Oh yes, a music concert with a 6-year old in tow – this is exactly where the fun begins!
We checked into the hotel at 3 pm and immediately decided to hit the pool (Faux pas #1) With the good weather upon us (finally), a lazy afternoon in a hotel pool with a choice of drinks and snacks can be the ultimate luxury. After a good, two hours of soaking up the sun, it was time to eat. Considering the ‘gates were to open’ at 7 pm, we decided to snack heavily at 5.30 pm to get us going for the long evening ahead. At exactly 7 pm, we were in a cab heading towards our destination (Faux pas #2).
While we got there on time, the crowd looked surprisingly small. Post the initial round of checks, we were let inside at 7.30 pm while being ushered into the ‘Food Hall’, which had an extensive provision of refreshments. This was necessary, especially since no food and drinks were allowed inside the main arena, where the event was to be hosted. Having eaten to our hearts content a while back, there was nothing in there that appealed to us, except of course, a bottle of water.
After several enquiries, we were told that the gates to the main arena would open only around 9 pm. Killing time was becoming increasingly difficult, what with a tired, 6-year old who could not comprehend what the fuss was about. ‘Name, Place, Animal, Thing’ to the rescue and we somehow managed to make it till the official gate-opening.
The next hour was spent in watching everybody settle in. There were helpers scrambling around, directing people towards their allocated seats. The hosts for the night kept making an appearance intermittently; however, there was still ‘some’ time before it all began. This was a long enough wait for my daughter, who, to be honest was comfortably sleeping in my arms by then. After a series of opening acts, it was at 11 pm roughly when the lead singer arrived.
Once he came on, the good part was that he kept belting out songs, one after the other. True to his style, the renditions were soulful and he sounded as good onstage as off it, if not better. His voice had a distinct versatility and he switched from one instrument to the other with effortless ease. Not to forget, his melodies had this unique quality of transporting you into a make-believe world of feel-good, precisely what one expects out of a music concert like this.
Having said that, live performances can be LOUD and this one was accompanied by a symphony orchestra all the way from London. In the absence of ear plugs (Faux pas #3), we spent a large part of the evening in trying to (physically) cover the little ones ears and protect them from damage. Secondly, what we absolutely should have carried with us but did not, was a neck pillow (Faux pas #4); the result of which was a bruised arm the following morning.
Was the concert fun? The bruised arm aside, it was an experience of a lifetime. Would I do it again? Probably yes, except with the following precautions this time around.
- On the day of the concert, an afternoon nap for the accompanying child will be non-negotiable. If I’m willing to spend on her ticket and stay, she might as well be a part of the evening.
- Going forward, we NEVER, EVER head to a concert on time. Just as there is a lot of slip between the cup and the lip, there is a huge difference between the terms ‘gates open’ and ‘concert starts’. A delay on the plus side of two hours is a given.
- The research for the best quality ear-plugs and/or noise-cancelling headphones starts just about now. This is to protect her tender ears (and ours!) from the blaring sounds around; originating either from a world-class orchestra or from a bunch of screaming fans in front of you.
- Neck Pillow, to avoid tons of muscle relaxants and pain killers in the days to follow.
Music concert with kids, bring it on, I’d say!