The Queen Mother did many, many wonderful things for me, but she never took me to a rock concert.
Plays, musicals, speech contests... heck, we even saw dancer Bobby Burgess (of Lawrence Welk fame) at the Muscatine County Fair... but never a rock concert.
In her defense, she did buy me tickets to see Richard Marx at the fair, and she didn't quibble when I wanted to see Billy Idol in concert (I may have led her to believe he was a modern-day Pat Boone).
I thought of all this while I was sitting next to The Princess at the 5 Seconds of Summer concert last weekend in Tinley Park, Illinois.
This was our Second-Annual Boy Band Concert Excursion, having successfully navigated St. Louis to see One Direction last summer. Throw in rapper Huey Mack (an introduction to the Iowa City bar-band scene) and I'd say we've hit the trifecta or scored a hat trick or, well… let's just say she's widened my range of musical influences.
Some people who are not as hip as me (and obviously I'm pretty damn hip), have asked me what the difference is between One Direction and 5SOS (pronounced “five-sauce” by the cool kids). Originally I thought the only difference was that 5SOS had four members, while 1D had five. But now that Zayn has left 1D (drama!), you can't judge a band by the numbers.
At the concert I decided the real difference is in how those band members fit the time-honored, boy band line-up stereotypes. From the Beatles and the Monkees to NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, they've all had one “bad boy,” one “smart boy,” one “cute boy,” one “fun boy,” and one “sensitive boy” (as needed).
1D have (or had) one of each.
5SOS has 2.5 bad boys.
Of course The Princess' favorite 5SOS member is the lead singer – the .5 bad boy. At the concert he was wearing a grey t-shirt (not “bad boy”) in contrast to his pierced lip (“bad boy”). The other “bad boys” are the drummer (he's the drummer, so, duh, and he was wearing his hair in a “mun” or man-bun), and the guitarist (eyebrow piercing and Harley Davidson t-shirt). The bass guitarist, he of the baby face and prep-logo t-shirt, I figure is about as clean cut as possible these days.
When I ran my bad boy ratio theory by The Princess she looked at me like I was totally not cool, and explained that 5SOS plays punk/pop, while 1D plays pop/pop. That may be why I like 5SOS both more than and at the same time less than 1D. I like the edgy sound to the 5SOS songs (although they all sounded like one long teen-age girl's scream until their cover of Green Day's “American Idiot”). But the mom in me likes 1D's lyrics (“You don't know you're beautiful/That's what makes you beautiful), better than 5SOS's (“You look so perfect standing there/In my American Apparel underwear”).
When it comes right down to it, it's not about parents enjoying their children's music (although I like it all well enough). It's about parents enjoying their children's happiness. I'm certainly not a perfect mom – when I offered to spend an equivalent seven-hours travel-time in the car with The Prince he looked horrified – but I'm trying. And of course I'm not alone.
The mom next to me at the concert said Led Zeplin was more to her liking, but she was at 5SOS to make her 14-year-old daughter happy. They had gone to 1D last summer, too. As the speakers blared Europe's “The Final Countdown” in preparation for 5SOS's big opening all four of us sang along.
“This is what we went to back in the day,” laughed the almost-as-cool-as-me mom.
Despite the age differences and the relative hip/unhipness of parents, most of us stood and kind of swayed along to all the songs – except for the parents who had their camera phones trained on the stage (presumably at their kids' request). And when 5SOS played their latest song, "She's Kinda Hot" – which they had just “dropped” (see? I even picked up the cool lingo) a couple weeks earlier – we all knew the words and sang along.
Just like everyone sang along when 5SOS covered The Ramone's “What I Like About You” to end the show. Green Day and The Ramones? Those bad boys are growing on me.
The Princess and I had such a good time enjoying the mix of old and new music that I offered to take her with me to see Billy Joel at Wrigley Field. It was kind of hard to read her expression, what with all the lasers and strobe lights, but I'm pretty sure she looked excited.
Especially when I said we could spend the day shopping along Chicago's Magnificent Mile instead of going to the Art Institute.
It's all about compromise and sharing what you love.
With the ones you love.