I have gone the majority of my festival-going career believing that my parents would not understand the music and the culture of festivals.
As I was visiting home, however, I was in the car and I noticed something that knocked me completely off my tracks. A RÜFÜS DU SOL song, “On My Knees,” came on the radio while we were in the car and my mom was singing along to it.
I was shocked because I assumed that electronic music would one: seldom be on the radio; and two: if it was, my mom would not like it.
“You know this song?” I asked her.
“Yes, I really like it!”
The gears in my head started turning after that. I was eager to show her what live electronic music looked like. As fate would have it, RÜFÜS DU SOL announced their North American tour in March of this year (2023) and I knew I had to get tickets.
I picked the Charlotte, NC date for this past August 12, three days before my mom’s birthday, and figured a mini trip would be a wonderful birthday present for her, and an eye-opening trip for me.
As we ventured out to North Carolina, we got to explore a new area of the airport for me: the United Club. We made sure to make this an experience to remember, and with my mom’s United Club status, she was able to take me inside the lounge for the first time (I normally fly other airlines) where the free drinks and snacks were available. We raised a glass of wine and then we were off.
The trip continued to be great on the flight because my mom was able to get us upgraded to economy plus. We had more legroom and sait closer to the front of the plane. It was a step up from my usual ‘pick the window seat closest to the door’ I usually get with Southwest.
After a bit of exploring on show day, we made our way to PNC Pavilion pretty early as neither of us had ever been and new venues are always a toss-up. My mom even purchased premium parking for $60 for our rental car to make sure we got a good parking spot.
In retrospect, we should have just parked in GA but we do not regret this as we were able to park closer to the doors.
Walking in, we went straight to the merch line. I knew that since this was the last stop on the tour, the merch at this venue would sell out quickly.
Luckily, my mom and I were some of the first people in line and were both able to get the shirts we wanted. We then walked over to the bar and got ourselves a drink. I suggested a mango White Claw to her, as she had never had them before.
“$35 for two of these? That’s ridiculous!” she said. She hadn’t been to a concert in years and was astonished by the prices of alcohol.
As we got to our seats, we realized that I had purchased seats closer to the stage than I intended.
We were happy about it, too, as a storm was supposed to be rolling in soon after we sat down and our section was underneath a roof that would cover most, if not all, of the rainfall.
We watched the opening act, Channel Tres, and in between the LA native’s silky smooth set, we noticed that the ages of people around us were older than we expected.
My mom anticipated being the oldest one there. While she was above the median age (she is 59 now), there were definitely older fans as well.
At the end of our row there was what looked like a grandfather and a grandson together (the grandson looked around seven or eight years old). Seeing this, made my mom a lot more comfortable which led to a very awesome night.
One great part about where we were sitting was the crowd interactions. I got to watch as our concert neighbors made small talk with my mom and congratulated her for being there, and telling her how cool she was.
Although, our concert neighbors did create a habit of spilling their drinks right behind us. We felt bad that they kept wasting money on “$20 drinks” (her words) and spilling them directly after.
She was making plenty of jokes and telling me about her concert days when she was my age.
Once RÜFÜS DU SOL started their set, we looked at each other with excitement and awe. Their introduction reminded me of any great show I have ever been to. Mixed melodies and visuals that took me to (what seemed like) space.
The feelings I got looking at my mom and the stage at the moment felt nostalgic. I suddenly remembered all the times I had enjoyed RÜFÜS DU SOL songs with my mom, sending each other videos of our joint anticipation as to what was now reality: seeing a group we both liked, live.
I was so happy to see her smiling as we shared this lovely moment. It was a new experience for both of us to be there together and that is a memory I will take with me for the rest of my life.
While seeing shows is something I do almost every weekend, my mom informed me that it was her first and last concert for a while.
She very much enjoyed her experience, but she really wanted to go to the show because I loved it so much, and spending time with me and seeing me in an environment I loved was all she needed from the experience. We laughed about all the interactions we had with strangers, but felt as though concerts were past her prime.
Back in her 20’s she used to love live music, but has since grown a liking to being at home, reading books and hanging out with her husband and cats a little more.
Overall, she gained a greater understanding of the current music scene is currently and how music is evolving.
In all, taking my mom to an electronic concert was something I had dreamed about for a long time.
We both learned from this trip that a good memory can be what it is— a memory. We went and made the experience what it was, and decided that we both have different interests for our own lives, and while she is not planning on going to another concert with me, now I don’t have to lie to her about what I’m doing next weekend.
Featured photo credit Michael Drummond