I've mentioned how great the most recent Arlington Heights show was. I mean all the shows I've had there have been great but this last one was special for a couple of reasons. First of all the kids were fun and very sweet and ready to rock out from the first note. Sometimes an audience can be a little shy or unsure and I have to work a little harder even a lot harder to put everyone at ease and encourage them to join in and have fun. When things start like Arlington Heights we get to rock out from the very beginning and have fun the whole time. Great things and unexpected things can happen at shows like that. I feel confident and can try new stuff too.
When I play a kids concert I'm obviously directing things to the kids first but I'm always putting things out specifically for the parents and Grandparents and hopeful that they not only have a good time but maybe even join in, whether it's dancing, singing or just being silly. I grew up in a time when goofiness was kind of celebrated. at least in my house it was. From Steve Martin to Robin Williams to the countless character actors you'd see on TV shows. I try to instruct and teach at shows but I want kids and their families to feel ok to let their guard down and just be their silliest selves. My biggest challenge in that regard can be the Dad's. The reason I'm writing this is because I had two exceptional encounters with what I call "Rad Dad's"
As soon as I ended the show there was a super enthusiastic father and his adorable daughter standing off to the side patiently waiting to say hi. The dad approached and was super complimentary and asked where else I'd be playing. I told him about show dates and he pointed out his daughters Dan Zanes t-shirt and the other really excellent kids music they listen to. This was a wonderful compliment to have him so excited and obviously knowledgable about good kids music and seeing my songs and show in the same light. These are the moments that let me know I'm on the right track and keep me working hard to do better shows and reach more people.
The next Dad, whose name I remember, Steve was equally awesome. To begin with he couldn't have been nicer. Things are hectic at shows and it's hard to get to everyone in the way I want to. Steve was also super patient and armed with a constant smile the whole time. He hung out and chatted with everyone while he waited and was also a wonderful musical wing man by telling everyone buying CD's how great the records were and that they listen all the time and that they had even wore out their copy of the Things I Like e.p. He bought another.
So what I'm trying to say is that I love when the parents of the kids I play for join in and aren't shy about enjoying themselves. My intention from the very first show I played was to present a thing that the family really could enjoy together. And it's especially gratifying when Dad's in particular make themselves at home at the shows. My daughter made me gifts for Fathers Day this year. One of the things she made was a kind of sign that says Dad. I'm thinking about making t-shirts for the Rad Dad's that come to my shows. It's cute and was made with love but to me it also looks kind of like a skull which is cool and funny because it's unintentional. I think Dad's could get into that. We'll see. What do you think?
So thanks as always to everyone who comes to see me play, or listens to my songs at home or in the car, and thanks to everyone at the Arlington Heights concert for making it very easy for me to remember why i play these shows. You guys rock! Rad Dad's unite!