Tsach Gilboa and his now teenage son each got to pick their favorites to watch on a musical journey together. Here is what they explored.
Just yesterday my son was a slice of heaven in a diaper. Today he is a strapping teenager I can explore the world with.
One of the great joys of having a teenage kid is the rediscovery of music from one’s youth with the added benefit of his fresh perspective, as well as, being introduced to the music of today’s youth. Focused on the goal of musical expansion and enlightenment, my son and I struck an unspoken bargain of introducing and trading both musical favorites as well as concerts.
These past few years alone, we hungrily devoured and digested the following live performances.
Dad choice: Opera – We started with Mozart’s light and comical Abduction from the Seraglio which was written as an entry in a musical competition sponsored on February 7, 1786 by Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in Vienna. Written in German it competed against an Italian opera written by Antonio Salieri.
For those interested, a must see is Milos Forman’s exquisite movie Amadeus depicting a highly fictionalized and dramatic version of the life and relationship of a young Mozart—a musical genius although a tormented and infantile boy and Antonio Salieri, an older and accomplished composer and musician who always struggled to create—eternally frustrated by the young Mozart who seems blessed with effortless and bottomless musical genius.
We then graduated to the more serious and deliciously complex Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini. An opera that explores a love that has no boundaries going horribly wrong in a fateful meeting of East and West .
Son Choice – Gorillaz – Innovative British musical and visual project combining musical performances with a fictional animated universe—screened on stage during live performances—depicting a virtual band with four animated members. Although it was a mind-blowing experience, I experienced my “advanced age” by having a hard time tolerating the ridiculously high volume in which the music was blasted (literally causing physical pain). While the auditorium literally shook from sound vibrations, I tried—with little success—to minimize the music by stuffing paper napkins in my ears while my son was soaking in the music effortlessly (rest assured that for all future concerts I will and have ear plugs at the ready).
Dad Choice – Fleetwood Mac – One of my favorite 70’s bands is a British-American band with several line-up changes—drummer Mick Fleetwood being the only original member present in all of them. The bands experienced two famous periods: first in the late 60’s as a British Blues band and later in the late 70’s to middle 80’s as more of a pop band with the addition of Christine Mcvie (joined in 1970), Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
We went to see them at the Hollywood Bowl and to my delight the mixed crowd comprised of a majority of “older” folks in my age group and older, many with their late teen early 20’s kids in tow (like me), with a significant number of people in between. All, young and old, knew all the songs by heart and we spend most of the evening standing and singing along at the top of our lungs. It was a very “happy” concert and a jolly good time, indeed (aided by nostalgia all around mixed with the sweet smell of pot).
Son Choice – Vampire Weekend and Beirut Members of Vampire Weekend met while matriculating at Columbia University and bonded over their love of punk rock and African music. Their first album “Vampire Weekend” was released January 29, 2008 and their third “Modern Vampire of the City” in May 2013. Both their albums “Contra” (2010) and “Modern Vampire of the City” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts–a first for an independent rock band.
Beirut is an American band formed by Zach Condon who is heavily influenced by Jazz, Mariachi, Sicilian funeral brass and Balkan music. Their first album “Elephant Gun” was released in May 2006 and their last “The Rip Tide” summer 2011, which unlike the previous album which drew heavily on music from Mexico, France and the Balkans, had more of an old fashioned American Pop theme.
Unlike our Fleetwood Mack experience, this time I did not know any of the songs of either bands, but the energy of the crowd was contagious and the experience a blast, in spite of the constant talking and phone use by many in the packed venue who could mostly be my children, while the 3 teenage girls who kept flirting with my son sure brought back happy memories of a time long ago. And as opposed to the older Fleetwood Mac crowd, here we mostly had a younger crowd insisting on smoking cigarettes (not an iota of nostalgic sweet smell of pot to be found) in the clearly stated non-smoking venue, while talking and on their phones (Bah Humbug).
And our journey did not end here.
I have rediscovered the Troubadour (a legendary club in West Hollywood that opened in 1957–year I was born–and helped launch greats such as Elton John, James Taylor and Tom Waits among many others) with my son and attended several concerts there with him including Ben Howard and JD McPherson, both phenomenal, and several at The Greek, including Death Cab for Cutie, also phenomenal.
Obviously music at home is just as important and Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Edith Piaf, Miles Davis, Marvin Gay, Gato Barbieri, Nat King Cole , Charlie Parker, Sade, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Eric Clapton, John Coltrane and many more celebrate regularly with us in our house.
Having a joint passion with your kids is the key. Be it art, movies, music, sports, books, exploring the great outdoors or anything that works for you–-do it. Make the effort, spend the time and treasure, as practical and possible, and enjoy the experiences and the journey. It will promote closeness, communication and love and will help you and your kids grow closer as well as stay that way. And just think, if you had the kids while still young enough, you can look forward to these experiences with the grandchildren some day too.
Photos public domain and father/son photo Marina Drasnin Gilboa