I had a great chance to return to "teenage-hood" last week as I went with my daughter to her first concert.
We have been getting spoiled recently in Dubai with some big stars coming here to perform, and when Tia heard there was going to be a double-header of Usher and Katy Perry performing in one night, it was going to take a man of steel and no heart to say no!
Following our experience of the Madonna concert earlier this year where my wife and I (and thousands of others) were waiting on our feet for more than 3 hours waiting for her to come on stage, we were worried about how punctual these 2 stars were going to be, especially considering that Tia had school the next day !!!
But none of that mattered. Tia was determined and we were fortunate enough to get tickets for the Golden Circle … the chance to get "up close and personal" with the singers.
We headed out to the impressive Meydan complex early … and it was fortunate we did, as the traffic build up was horrendous. We had planned to arrive in good time for Usher's scheduled start at 7.30, but we finally made it into the stadium at 7.40. Fortunately, the organisers were staying true to "Dubai time". We had time to stock up on water and head towards the front of the "pit". Despite Tia's size, she was happy for us to work our way right as close as we could to the front where she was not going to see anything except the front wall of the stage … apart from those moments when the singers came right up front … and we were rewarded with many of those which made it all worthwhile.
There was a great atmosphere around. Everyone looking to have a good time and the DJ's from Virgin Radio warmed up the crowd nicely .. Until 8.20, when the lights when out and the screams began as Usher came out. He got the crowd going instantly and kept everyone happy keeping his act predominantly as a repertoire of 'the best of", with a few really impressive tracks of his latest album … but his live rendition of OMG is going to stay in my memory as one of the single best performances I have ever seen. He showed off his outstanding dance moves and demonstrated a tireless energy from start to finish. Without a doubt, giving the crowd the performance they dreamed of.
Tia was blown away. Screaming and moving and singing along like and concert veteran, it was a joy to see her enjoying this first experience … and this was just a warm up for what she really wanted to see, Katy Perry.
So after a full 90 minute set, Usher retired and the crowd got a 30 minute "rest". The hard core Usher fan base that were right up front against the stage moved away and Tia and I were able to get front and centre. If it was possible, the general view was going to be even more obstructed, but it was going to place us just a few feet from Katy when she finally came on.
As the anticipation built, again the lights went down, and this incredible pop star made her entrance via a simulated parachute. I had just seen her movie "Piece of me" on a recent flight, and am so glad I did as I gained a huge new respect for her learning about how hard she had to work to make it to where she has.
Despite my 42 years, having a female tween in the house basically dictates your music taste, and I have learned and become familiar with the tunes that blare from Tia's room, which of course include the numerous hits of Katy Perry, and along with my daughter and the 10,000 or so other people present, we were bopping the night away with a powerful high energy show.
Katy sang all of her number one's and played the audience fantastically. Acting like a teenager herself, her colourful cartoon sets were bright and vibrant and set a fantastic tone for the concert.
For me, it was great fun and I managed to (temporarily) forget how sore my feet were, but I got the most enjoyment when I moved my eyes of the stage and just watched Tia. Jumping and dancing and singing .. Throwing her arms in the air and screaming as loud as anyone each time Katy came up close. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for the world.
It has become a great memory we now share, which Tia couldn't stop talking about on the way home despite her totally horse voice! We got home late and I put her to bed just after 1am. Thank you Tia for sharing such a special evening with me!
By the way, the note to her school the next day simply said "sick" ! (shhh!)