One Direction concert at Soldier Field: A parent's perspective

One Direction concert at Soldier Field: A parent's perspective
Image by Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune

Last night my newly-minted teenage daughter enjoyed her birthday present: tickets to the One Direction concert at Soldier Field in Chicago, a stop on their On The Road Again Tour.

While many girls have moved on from Niall, Harry, Louis, and Liam, there are still some very devoted Directioners and my daughter and her best friend are two of them. With chalk paint on our car proudly declaring their love and affection for this British quartet (down a member since Zayn Malik left the band), we headed to the concert. They were beyond excited, I was a bit wary and unsure what to expect.

Although I do not have the mastery of the One Direction canon that the tens of thousands of fans (the vast majority of whom were tween and teen females) have, but I'll try to sum up some of my thoughts using song lyrics and titles that One Direction performed last night. Apologies in advance to all true Directioners.

* "No control No control." - No Control

There was no control over the volume. I thought I understand the meaning of the term "loud" before last night. I was wrong. Holy stadium full of screaming girls, Batman.

What really surprised me was the stamina behind the screams. They rarely let up. It made me wish that the beginning of the Disney-Pixar movie Monsters, Inc. was reality and there was someway to harness the power of screams and turn it into electricity, because the crowd last night could have powered a whole lot of cities.

* Story of My Life

One Direction has been together for five years. For a lot of the young girls there, this music really is the story of their lives, or at least a good portion of the part of which they have memory. It's a little easier to understand their devotion and excitement when you think of it that way.

Hearing some of their "older" songs was almost a mini-retrospective on the tween years for me, as the band got big just as my daughter hit the tween years, and tickets to the show were her present when she turned 13 a few weeks ago. One Direction has provided the soundtrack to her tween years.

One cute moment came when Harry had the whole stadium sing Happy Birthday to a girl turning 10. "Double digits!" he exclaimed. All agreed that she now had the story of her life to tell.

* "I won't act my age, no I won't act my age" - Act My Age

Image by Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune

Image by Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune

There were tens of thousands of people in attendance and it was a really happy, pleasant, well-behaved crowd. The parent chaperones exchanged a lot of knowing smiles and nods and a few confused head shakes.

The fans were in a great mood despite reports a few hours prior to the start of the concert that they will be on hiatus next year. None of the band members addressed the reports last night, and Liam Payne talked excited about their upcoming firth album.

I hate to say it, but the ones who were not so well behaved were the adults. A group of grown-ups sitting behind us yelling obscenities and inappropriate requests were probably overserved.

When they were screaming at the band, they were talking about their first day back to school as teachers today. My teen did a face palm when she heard part of that conversation, and that gestured summed up my thoughts quite nicely.

* What Makes You Beautiful

One Direction, performing at Soldier Field, in Chicago, on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Image Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune

One Direction, performing at Soldier Field, in Chicago, on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Image Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune

I saw a lot of different looks at the concerts, and they were all beautiful in their own way.

* "And we danced all night to the best song ever." - Best Song Ever

ALL of the songs were the best song ever, according to the girls. And there was a lot of dancing.

* Thank you

It's not a song title, but I really loved that when each of the boys spoke to the audience individually, they included thank you's.

"Fan acknowledgement was one of the charms in the group's arsenal that helped pack, but not sell out, its second tour stop in Chicago in about a year," said the review in The Chicago Tribune. A few acknowledged the high price of tickets, although tickets were the lowest they've ever been.

I was grateful that they said a thank you to the parents, aunties, uncles and other adults who brought fans.

* "Don't forget where you belong–home./ If you ever feel alone–don't. / You were never on your own." - Don't Forget Where You Belong

One of my favorite memories may be seeing the wall of parents waiting for their concert goers as we exited the stadium.

I know, it's cheesy, but there was a lot of love in that stadium, too, and not just for One Direction. I saw so many attentive parents, ones who were there because they love their kids. I hope these kids know that their parents love them, and always will. (And I know the same is true for those whose kids are not Directioners and who do not take their kids to concerts or wait outside for them.)

I know I was just the chaperone/chauffeur last night, but after seeing the look on my daughter's face and experiencing her joy, there's no place I would have rather been last night than with One Direction at Soldier Field.

Prior Post: What My Tween Read This Summer

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Filed under: Parenting

Tags: concert, One Direction

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