My son and I share a love of music, and though my tastes are different than his, we both respect the interests of the other. Over the past few years, he has introduced me to a some music he can’t seem to listen to enough.
A ten-year-old drummer, he gravitates toward bands with some drive to their music and challenging beats. Namely, Twenty-One Pilots. So when they decided to come to town, I had to take him.
I have had a lot of concert experiences that have left me reeling in the musicality and showmanship of the bands. While this show was no exception, what has me still thinking about the concert is the people.
We had arrived early to try to find decent parking. The lot was filled with beat-up pickup trucks and luxury cars and everything in between. We had to park on the farthest side of the lot because half the crowd had arrived before us. Walking through the parking lot, Josh told me how excited he was as he skipped, jumped, turned all while singing to himself. I smiled as I scanned the parking lot and noticing the bumper stickers. Some said Trump, others Obama or Bernie. We saw Coexist, Jesus Loves You, Darwin Fish stickers, and many more. The variety of people that attended the show was vast.
We found our way to the line of fans and waited to get to our seats. Surrounded by thousands of people, we saw children around my son’s age (ten years), men and women in their seventies and every age in between. In the sea of bodies, there were war veteran hats and Harley Davidson bandannas.
As the doors opened, we worked our way to the entrance, walked through the metal detectors, and climbed the stairs to the Mezzanine. Finally, we found our seats in the arena and waited for the show to start.
From the opening song, thousands of voices lifted as one, singing every word, moving to every beat. The energy was palpable and for two hours, a group of individuals from all walks of life, from different belief systems, and various political parties set any differences aside and became one community around their love for this band’s music. More than once, I scanned the crowd and took in the joy and excitement on so many faces. Not once did the energy let up and for those few hours, 10,000 people focused on the one thing they all had in common and reveled in it.
Amidst the loud music and screams from adoring fans, there was peace; something that seems to be in short supply these days. That night was a powerful reminder of who we are capable of being when we choose unity instead of division, love instead of hate.
My son sang every song at the top of his lungs and played every beat with his imaginary sticks.
As we drove home, he said to me, “I can’t believe everyone was singing. It was so cool to be with that many people singing the same song.”
I said, “Yeah bud, it was.” But as his eyes became heavy and he drifted to sleep in the back seat, all I could think about was what it would be like if we set aside our differences, focused on what we have in common, and chose to sing the same song. It wouldn't mean we all held the same beliefs or supported the same causes, but it would show that we all valued one another and that would be a wonderful place to start.