We sat across from one another inside a Brooklyn Shake Shack, with ears still ringing from a Depeche Mode concert. Smiles stretched across our faces after each bite of our cheeseburgers. The Avocado Bacon Burger for her and the Shack Burger for me. My Apple Watch showed that it was past midnight. Yet, I was in no hurry to get home.
Many years ago, a 16-year-old me drove around town while one of my favorite songs of all time, Personal Jesus, played on my car stereo. I played it a lot. I’d crank up the song with my windows down. The thumping from my bass vibrating the cars next to me. And years before then, an even smaller me would lie on the floor of my bedroom, hoping for Depeche Mode to come on the radio, so I could hit “record” on my stereo.
If you’ve been following my blog and social media, you might know that I’m on a live music kick. More specifically, I’m on a live music bucket list kick. Recently, I saw my favorite band of all-time, Green Day, play live. But before I bought tickets to see Green Day, I saw that Depeche Mode was coming to New York City and my fingers clicked, “buy.”
The day of the concert arrived, and I had two tickets. The person who was supposed to go with me dropped out. I contacted a couple of people, but they couldn’t make it either. So, I asked the one person who is always up for doing anything with me; my 17-year-old daughter.
I asked my daughter if she wanted to go to a concert, and she said “yes” before I even told her who was playing. We took the long subway ride into Brooklyn and I provided her with as much Depeche Mode history that I could give. I sang some songs, and in true New York fashion, everyone on the train was unphased. We arrived at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn and had to wait in one of the longest lines I’ve seen at the venue.
As we stood in the long line, I looked around and noticed a lot of middle-aged people. Like a lot! Most of the concert goers had bald spots like me and gray hair. Many were rocking old concert t-shirts. Some dressed as though they were grocery shopping and others dressed appropriately, like they were going to a rock concert. If wondering, I was appropriately dressed. When I joked about the average age, my daughter replied, “That’s you.”
We made our way inside and up to our nosebleed seats. Our laughter that began in the subway continued to our high-rise location. Soon after sitting down, the drum beats began. An eruption of screams bellowed throughout Barclays as Depeche Mode walked out on stage. Then, one of the most distinguished voices in rock history emerged from the speakers. For the next 2 plus hours, Depeche Mode thrilled concert goers. I danced and belted lyrics; my daughter occasionally joining me. Some daughters get embarrassed when their dads dance. Not mine. She encouraged me to let loose.
After my favorite song, Personal Jesus, played, we descended from our row, still laughing.
Our stomachs told us we were hungry, and we stepped inside Shake Shack. I ordered while my daughter saved us a seat. The line was long and a hipster Karen tried to convince my daughter to get up. She should’ve known you can’t make a teenage girl do anything. I arrived with the food and we inhaled our burgers, fries, and shakes. Our table was an instant island of laughter in a busy burger joint.
Minutes after the clock struck midnight, we were back on the subway and headed home. Even though we were tired, our ride home became a selfie photoshoot. We arrived home around 1:30 am and we said goodnight and I went into my bedroom. As I laid in bed, I recollected how I, as a teenager, longed to see Depeche Mode in concert and hear my favorite songs played live. And in that recollection, I thought how wonderful it was to finally see Depeche Mode with my teenager daughter by my side.
And of course…
It sent me down memory lane.
It seems like yesterday that I held a purple little baby in the palm of my hand and begged her to breathe. Seems like yesterday I was running her to swim lessons, gymnastics, school functions, and coaching her soccer team. Seems like yesterday that I swung her around in the living room while dancing to my favorite bands. Yesterday does not seem that far away. Yet, it is.
Time is fleeting. Soon, my 17-year-old daughter will be an adult and live on her own. My time under the same roof is ending. It ended with my oldest son and now it’s her turn. I’m proud of who she is. I’m proud to be her dad. I look forward to who she’ll become. And I’ll be ready to be by her side when called upon.
One day, she’ll stand middle-aged in a concert full of people who look just like her. Maybe she’ll remember the time her dad sang loudly and danced. And then, smile and remember who much fun we had together.