COLUMN WRITTEN BY KEN KOLASINSKI
For Digital First Media
There are times when life just seems to fall in place and go your way no matter what you do. That’s exactly what I experienced over my Father’s Day weekend.
I took Liam to see the Rolling Stones at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. I had no illusions about what I was doing. I knew this would mean far more to me than it would to him, but I think it’s sort of a rite of passage every parent goes through with their child. The Rolling Stones will never have the impact on his life as much as they have mine, but maybe as a parent I wanted him to at least be there once and experience a little of that magic that has influenced my world for years.
I imagine it was similar to the way my Dad, a lifelong baseball enthusiast, must have felt when he took me to my first Phillies game. There was a swirl of excitement and joy and even a little pride mixed in with the almost surreal realization that I was taking my son to see the Rolling Stones.
I have only minimal snapshot memories of the game my Dad first took me to, more impressions and things my mind has probably filled in for me, but I do know I was there and I do know I developed an enjoyment and love of baseball that has lasted through my life.
Who knows if what we did together on Father’s Day weekend will enhance his love of music, but I’m just starting to fully understand, a couple days later, what it meant to me.
If someone had pulled me aside as I exited Rentschler Field in Hartford, Conn., back in 2005 after seeing the third show of the Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang tour and told me in a little less than a decade I’d be leaving a stadium drenched in rain and sweat and laughing uncontrollably with my son about what I’d just experience with yet another Rolling Stones concert, I’d never have believed them.
Maybe that’s why, as we ran hand-in-hand through the rain toward the stadium I started laughing and couldn’t stop. Sometimes amidst all the things going wrong and challenging you in life that distract you from all the magic that surrounds us every day and you get a little reminder of the treasures and wonder of it all.
It was pouring rain. It didn’t matter. Our seats were truly awful, at the opposite end and near the roof of the stadium. It didn’t matter.
The only thing that mattered was my son and I were going to see the Rolling Stones and we were going to enjoy every water-logged second of it. Nothing was going to change that.
About 45 minutes before they took the stage, the rain stopped. Liam tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the sky to our left. There was as big a rainbow as I’ve seen in a long time. Was it a sign? You can decide.
When the Rolling Stones did hit the stage a little after 9 p.m. with Keith Richards crashing into the opening riff of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” I watched Liam’s reaction with interest. He knew the song. I even watched him help Mick Jagger with the “It’s a gas, gas, gas…” part. Again, I felt this combination of pride and excitement and amazement.
For me, seeing the Rolling Stones at this point in my life is almost purely celebratory. Yeah, I guess it reminds me a little of my past, but there’s always been this jolt of energy and looking forward to the next song, the next show and I’ve left energized about what might be coming next for me. There’s always been this feeling with me that no matter how bad things can get, that those few hours of with them on stage will always be something memorable. I guess we all have personal things in which we can briefly escape from life whether its sports or or books movies or even the Rolling Stones.
Even though they’ve certainly shown age means nothing, there are certain realities that can’t be ignored forever. I feel like I’ve savored their shows in recent years a little more, reminded myself when they’re on stage to remember these moments. I’m thrilled Liam got to see them at their age-defying best.
We threw our hands in the air with 55,000 other people for each “yeah…yeah…yeah…WOOOOO!!!” at the end of “Brown Sugar,” sang along to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and pointed right back at Jagger as he punctuated each“I can’t get no…” word in “Satisfaction.”
Toward the end of the show, I maneuvered us closer and closer so by the time the encore was coming to a close, Liam didn’t have to rely on the giant screens to see Jagger up close.
I caught Liam looking at me a couple times throughout the evening. When I did look back at him, he’d smile and start laughing like I’d been doing most of the night. I wondered what he made of the whole thing.
Like I said, I have no illusions about what the night meant for each of us. Of all the shows I’ve seen, this one truly has a quality all its own for obvious reasons I’ll never forget. When we got home I wrote down all his comments and impressions of what he saw and added in my own for us to read together some day.
I also like to think that some day in the future he’ll be telling a child of his own about the time his Dad took him to Pittsburgh and the memories will start to make him laugh and he’ll be able to say how one night he got to see the greatest rock & roll band in the world.
Ken Kolasinski’s “On Another Note” column appears periodically in Ticket.