Making Kisstory: My Son’s First Rock Concert

This weekend was another milestone event for our family. Diego, now 10 years-old, went to his first ever rock concert. It wasn’t just any concert, it was a Kiss concert. Kiss, the band from the early 70’s, known for its Kabuki style make-up and theatrical effects including dripping blood, breathing fire, and exploding pyrotechnics, is my husband’s absolute favorite band.

Kiss fans like Juan, consider themselves members of the Kiss army and are as loyal to the band, as the band is loyal to fans. Juan has followed Kiss since he discovered them when he was Diego’s age, and has seen the band perform live over 25 times. Extreme? Maybe. I figure some men have really expensive, obsessive hobbies, like cars, golf, and fantasy football. One of my husband’s guilty pleasures is Kiss. Juan has shared his passion for Kiss with all of us in the family. I have gone to three concerts with Juan and he has attempted to recruit our kids into the Kiss army. Five years ago, Juan took the older kids to their first Kiss concert. The kids were good sports and put on full Kiss make-up. We even memorialized it in our Christmas card that year.

2009 Christmas card

2009 Christmas card

Juan was a proud papa, stopping with the kids to pose for pictures with other concert goers. The kids took it all in stride, even if Nico, then 11 years-old, fell asleep in the middle of the concert. Despite Juan’s efforts and the kids’ appreciation for Kiss, none of them joined the Kiss army.

The kids and Juan pose for pictures walking into the Kiss concert.

The kids and Juan pose for pictures walking into the Kiss concert.

A few months ago, Kiss announced that they would be performing at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. Since Diego was too young to go with Juan and his siblings before, Juan figured it was now time for Diego to get inducted into the Kiss Army. Juan bought tickets for the Saturday night concert and I made travel arrangements.

We drove to Las Vegas and did a little sight-seeing on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, then made our way back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for the big show. Unfortunately, Diego has never been a good napper, even when he was a baby, so despite being up past midnight on Friday and waking up at 7:00 a.m on Saturday, Diego did not nap. Diego was never really enthused about wearing Kiss make-up to the concert, so he just decided to wear his newly purchased Kiss t-shirt instead. Juan was a little disappointed they would go without make-up but he was still excited about seeing his favorite band in concert, and sharing the experience with his own son.

When we arrived at the Hard Rock, the place was teaming with Kiss fans. Even though we were in Vegas, an adult playground, there were several kids attending the concert. Most of them were wearing Kiss t-shirts, and several adults were wearing both Kiss t-shirts and make-up. Juan and Diego found their seats among the nearly sold-out arena. Unfortunately, the seats themselves were a huge disappointment. They were in the second to last row. Diego’s view was obstructed by a catwalk, and and somebody’s head. Perhaps it was all the hype, his overblown expectation of what a rock concert is about, or maybe just the lack of sleep, but Diego fought to hold back his tears of disappointment. Juan’s feelings were hurt, and he felt guilty about not splurging and paying for better seats. Then he felt resentful that we had gone to such lengths to create an experience for Diego which he did not seem to appreciate. Juan tried to ease Diego’s disappointment but it didn’t seem to work. Finally, Juan just tried to enjoy himself. When Kiss started playing “I Love it Loud” about 30 minutes into the 90 minute concert. Juan looked over at Diego and saw that Diego had fallen asleep!

Both Diego and Juan were subdued as we returned to our hotel room. You never would have guessed they had just returned from a rock concert. Diego asked me what he could do to make it up to his dad. I told him that his dad just wanted Diego to appreciate the effort his dad made so that they could share this experience together. Diego seemed surprised that I would say such a thing, and said that of course he appreciated it! He told his us that on a scale of about 1 to 100 the concert was about an 80 and 70 of that was because he got to spend time with his dad. For Diego, the best part of the experience wasn’t seeing Kiss live, it was spending time with someone better than any other rock star, his dad.

Diego and his Rock Star Dad at the Hard Rock.

Diego and his Rock Star Dad at the Hard Rock.

Guess What Today Is?

There have been two occasions that I can recall when  my husband Juan, upon waking in the morning,  was so happy that the day had arrived that he proclaimed with joy like a child on Christmas morning, “Guess what today is?”

One of those occasions was the morning of our wedding day. He woke up, rolled over and with a sleepy, but happy grin said:

 “Guess what today is?”

 Of course, I responded, “Our wedding day!”

To which he replied, “No. Kiss/Aerosmith concert tickets go on sale.”

Did you think I was joking when  I told you before about his obsession with the rock band Kiss?  So, I really should not have been surprised when I learned that on the morning of the day when we would pledge our lives to each other, he was thinking, not of our pending nuptials, but that the long-awaited Kiss/Aerosmith concert tickets would finally go on sale. So, while I was getting coiffed, made-up and dressed up for our big day,  he was at home, on-line , buying concert tickets for his favorite band.

The second occasion I can recall when Juan woke up happier than a kid on Christmas was yesterday. Juan woke up and announced,  “Today is the day I am  finally eligible for the iPhone 4 upgrade!” Yes. It was the long-awaited day when he could upgrade his phone. But his joy was short-lived when I reminded him that we had discussed it and he had already decided he would wait until January to purchase the upgrade. Like a kid who found coal in his stocking, Juan sighed and agreed that he was going to wait.  I thought that was the end of the discussion until Juan called me while I was driving home from running an errand at the local shopping mall. The conversation went something like this:

J:   Did you buy anything?

Me:   No. Nothing for me, but I bought Diego a pair of shoes.

J:    Really? Didn’t you want to find something for yourself. Maybe you should go to another store and check out what they have?

Me:   No. I am tired. I am coming home. Why? What have you been doing?

J:   Well, Diego and I went to the yogurt store.  

(Hmmm… Since when does a husband need to encourage his wife to go shopping? How suspicious that the yogurt store happens to be across the street from the Apple Store.)

Me:   Did  you buy the iPhone?

J:    Well….yes. We can talk about it when you get home.

Of course, when I got home there was nothing to talk about. It would have been like telling someone that Christmas was cancelled. Besides, Juan was already playing with his new phone, and had completed configuring his old iPhone for my use. So, Christmas came early for Juan, and now I guess I’ll be learning how to use his old iPhone.