For years I pictured it. For years I thought about which group it would be. For years I wondered what it would be like taking the girls to their first concert. There’s nothing like seeing a band perform live. When you first hear that song blasted out by a group of musicians that you’ve heard on the radio for years, it is an incredible experience. You realize wow, those are the guys that created that song. And I knew all along, I wanted that to be a DAD memory, I wanted to be the one to take them to that first concert. I thought maybe I’d take the kids to the Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney. I wanted it to be a big and bold piece of rock music history. I wanted it to be something they’d never forget. And then it happened when I least expected it.
We took the girls to Americafest at the Rose Bowl in California for the 4th of July. It was a night to see fireworks, a night to celebrate our country’s birthday. Little did I know it would be a night the kids would see their first concert ever. Before the fireworks came on. Before the rockets flashed in the sky. They announced to the crowd that they had a surprise performance for the 25,000 of us. We were intrigued. We were excited. Who would it be… Who would be there for the girls’ first concert ever! And then he appeared high up in the crowd like the pied piper. And many in the crowd went crazy. And the band hit the first chords. And he belted it out. And all of a sudden, we realized the girls’ first concert wouldn’t be The Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney or many of the rock idols I grew up with. Instead, the first concert to rock them right out of their shoes and to vibrate the seats in the stadium…. would be none other than… Kenny G. Yes, Kenny G.
Hey sometimes you can’t plan these things. So there we were quickly googling to see what type of instrument he plays anyway. I said Obo. My wife said clarinet. We both thought sax. Turns out it IS a type of saxophone. And Kenny played the hell out of it. He told the crowd it was the same saxophone he’s had his entire life. He told the crowd he’s also played with some of the same band members for 25 years. Later in the show, Kenny introduced his son Max who joined the band for a few songs. Max channeled some Santana inspired riffs and played a pretty mean guitar, and Kenny G joked that he’d taught him everything he knows. Kenny G finished the concert with Song Bird, the same song played at weddings for happy newlyweds for twenty plus years now. And then he took to the center of the stadium and belted out a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the fireworks blasted into the air.
It wasn’t what this dad expected for the first concert experience he’d have with his kids. But it wasn’t bad. It was surprisingly good. And in the end. It was our family, Kenny G and his family, and 25,000 of our closest friends. Years from now, the kids will remember that Kenny G was the first concert they ever went to. Hopefully they’ll remember it was mom and dad who took them there.