Like Father, Like Son – a Mother-Daughter Adventure

I took my ten year old to her first metal show last week. Yes, I subjected her 100+ decibels and 10,000+ rowdy, sweaty (and a few inebriated) fans.

But before you snatch away my Mom-of-the-Year Award and stomp it to bits with your sensible shoes, hear me out.

There were earplugs involved. And backstage passes. And amusement park rides. I couldn’t resist.

Little Miss M is no stranger to concerts. She attended many a moe. show in utero, and had her first 3-day festival experience at nine months old.

Baby's First Backstage Pass

All Access Babyphoto credit Mitch Cohen

When other kids are tagging along with their parents to office buildings and cubicles on “Take Your Child to Work Day”, we regularly give her a taste of our livelihood each summer as she witnesses stages built, lighting trusses hung, catering set up and crew running around like headless chickens with Maglites. She has happy reunions with other band kids who, like her, don’t exactly realize how rare it is to play house in a tour bus, to play tag backstage and to fall asleep side-stage while the band plays on.

Iron Maiden, Camden NJ 2012


So I knew she would do OK in the concert environment. However, she has never stood in gen pop, watching a stage ignite in pyro flames and fireworks, with a skeletal mascot leering out from ever-changing backdrops and making 3-D appearances in statues as big and impressive as an Easter Island Moai.

If you hadn’t guessed by now, the metal show was Iron Maiden. For those of you who aren’t aware of my admiration for their frontman Bruce Dickinson, you might want to click here.

Iron Maiden, Bristow VA 2012


It’s been over twenty-seven years since I first began seeing them live, and I never imagined they would still be touring well into their 50s and still performing top-notch. They never just phone in a show on auto-pilot, it’s always 110% effort and genuine.


And I always tell people: as long as they keep playing like this, I will keep going to shows.  This is no nostalgia act. For them, or for me. But realistically, I know the time is, as Bruce would say, running low.

So I thought it was time to show my daughter something I really love and enjoy, and to introduce her to the friends I have made along the way.

Ready for the show, maybe.

The band was playing 40 minutes from my house – the closest they’ve been since 2005. No borders to cross, no planes to catch. The shed was part of a local amusement park, so first there were rides:

Good thing she had my friend Dawn as her partner in crime for the rides!

Then there was the backstage part. With root beer.

Then came a weird and wonderful opportunity – I introduced my child to Bruce’s child. Like his father, Austin Dickinson is making waves with his distinctive voice in his own band, Rise To Remain. They are one of the many bands on Warped Tour this summer, and they happened to have a show the very next night at the same venue. So Austin came down to watch his dad’s show.

He was charming and gracious and I think he gained a new fan! Now the Dickinson-Topper circle is complete…until maybe the day when my grandchildren are famous and Bruce’s grandchildren want to meet them.

Oh, and the show? She loved it! Earplugs and all. Bruce (wearing a shirt on stage designed by his younger son Griffin, who recently launched a clothing company, Griffin Allstar) and the rest of the band thoroughly entertained and enthralled her.

“What is the most important thing in life?” an attendee of the Forum IAB marketing conference in Warsaw, Poland recently asked the guest speaker after his riveting 40 minute lecture on Customer Value Management. (Yes, I said ‘riveting’ and ‘marketing’ in the same breath!)

“Your children. Your family.” The speaker replied. The speaker was Bruce Dickinson. And the crowd hung on to his every word. (Told you. Riveting!)

Sadly the Youtube video containing the informal Q&A has been made private, but you can still watch the speech itself here and here. I wish I had transcribed what he had said about supporting and taking care of your children, as it was pretty wise. Spend time with your kids, pay attention to them. Show interest in what they do. We cannot all model our kids’ T-shirts in front of 15,000 fans each night, but we can love them and take an interest in what they want to do in life.

If my kid decides she never wants to see another metal show again, I will be OK with that. I’m glad I got to share a part of me she hadn’t been privy to before, and I hope she will always remember the side of me not defined by “mom” standards. I hope her own interests and passions and beliefs continue to expand and I will always fight my way to front row and center to cheer her on.


Summer Tour 2012

Hello cats and kittens! Miss me? I’ve missed all of you.

It appears I took the month of May off. Hmm. More like I blinked and it was gone.

April was a fun blur. I am still getting a lot of traffic here due to the Herculean Blogging from A-Z Challenge, which is all kinds of awesome. May was full of kids’ music recitals and PTA-planning for end-of-year school events. I’m pretty sure there is a 10th ring of Dante’s Hell reserved solely for PTA in which doomed souls volunteer eternally. But I digress. Onto the month at hand – June.

Work gets busy for me as the festival season heats up. Here at moe. central, we consider Memorial Day to be the start of “Summer Tour”, as the band has hosted the Summer Camp Music Festival for the past eleven years.

Ah, Summer Tour. There is nothing quite like it. It doesn’t matter what genre you are a fan of, or whether the venue is a 700-acre field or a town park…music in the summer is always magical.

Summer Tour

As moe. rolls into various towns and cities, I’m the little gremlin behind the scenes paying the bills so they can have their pimped out tour bus and the fans can have their pretty swirly lights, etc.

I adhere to the phrase “work hard, play harder”, hanging up my music biz boots and trading them in for my own fan boots when my favorite bands hit the road. There is a giddy excitement about jumping in a car with friends (or hopping a plane to meet faraway friends) and heading out to shows. (Yes, that’s plural.)

Iron Maiden Fortune Cookie

This summer I’ll have the good fortune of catching 4 Maiden shows in 2 countries. Sometimes less is more!

Most anticipated summer venue for me: The Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club in Manhattan. I cannot wait to check this place out! moe. plays 2 nights here June 26th and 27th.  Beach in Manhattan, you say? Yep, on the East River under the stars on a 200-ton sandy beach. You can lounge on couches with your feet in the sand, or show off your skills over a game of pool, foosball or ping pong. Concerts are held in the 10,000 sq. foot open-air beer tent with the iconic Brooklyn Bridge as your backdrop.

Thanks to the never-ceasing miracles of technology, summer tour can now travel to you! First we had the Tupac hologram eerily appear during the Coachella Music Festival. You can see it with your own eyes here. The creators of that hologram are working on an Elvis one, but I’m holding out for a Jeff Buckley one to appear in my living room. Weekly.

And speaking of living rooms, another hi-tech phenomenon sweeping the live music world is “couch tour”. Pay-per-view TV has been taken to the next level. Sites like and iClips Summer of Jam offer you oodles of streaming festivals and shows on subscription – with no bathroom lines or beer lines! No need to sit on Facebook listening to the crickets and feeling sorry for yourself while everyone is at “the show”.

This weekend, I watched in amusement as several friends began posting their pictures and music schedules (which of course can be planned via app on your phones now) from their actual Bonnaroo weekend. Phish. Radiohead. Fans standing in a dusty field looking hot and tired. Then…up popped the virtual Bonnaroo weekend “Couch Tour” photos on Facebook. Who needs to fly to Manchester, TN when you can attend in your PJs, five feet away from your own fridge full of sanely-priced cold beer and a toilet that actually flushes and can’t be tipped over in the middle of the night?

one fan’s front row view of Bonnaroo…from Boston.

A Facebook friend posted the above picture on her wall – she tagged a number of friends (probably those she normally goes to concerts with in 3-D real-time real life). And the place tag: “MY LIVING ROOM”.

Is this the end of Summer Tour as we know it? Nah. I don’t think so. It’s a convenient way of saying “been there, saw that, bought the T-Shirt” but music fans will always want the real Summer Tour experience: the sweaty, grimy, unpredictable weather-related, beer-sloshed, fun-soaked concert under the blinding sun or the blinking stars. With the pretty swirly lights from the band on the pimped out tour bus. (Yay, job security for me.) ‘Cuz that’s a big part of what rock n roll is all about – along with the connections and memories of the people you meet and the places you go on tour.

Wishing you all a safe and stellar Summer Tour!