Dare to

Dare to: Take your kids to see One Direction

Updated: 2013-05-20T15:32:03Z


The Kansas City Star

If you scored tickets to the One Direction show in July for face value or a reasonable price, consider yourself fortunate. At reputable ticket brokers, tickets start somewhere around $450 each. Some floor seats are going for $3,500 each. On eBay … you don’t want to know.

Like real estate or auction items, a concert ticket is ultimately worth its sentimental value and whatever someone will pay for it. And as most parents know, when children are involved, especially young children, saying “I’m sorry, but no” is hard, and money usually becomes no object. That’s what credit cards are for.

But whether you paid face value for a ticket (from $27.50 to $77.50) or took out a loan to pay a broker, you will endure the same experience: chaos, noise and joy.

One Direction is the five-piece Anglo-Irish boy band, ages 19-21, that emerged from the British version of the reality TV singing competition “The X Factor,” the show created by former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell.

The group has released two albums since November 2011: “Up All Night” and “Take Me Home.” Worldwide sales combined are about 8 million for albums and 14 million for singles. Tickets to their show at the Sprint Center, which went on sale in July 2012, sold out within an hour. These guys are popular, and they are evidence that boy bands have never been a phenomenon or a fad but a staple of music culture just waiting to arise and erupt again.

My daughters are 19 and 21, and they shed all interest in this world years ago. They’ve graduated to the next level of boy bands: hunky country singers with hot backup bands. But in their girlhoods they saw their fair share of bands similar to One Direction: the Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync, the Jonas Brothers, plus teen pop queens Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana. And I’ve seen even more.

Taking your child to a boy-band show isn’t as risky, daring and phobia-confronting as riding a roller coaster or jumping out of a plane, but it involves some endurance. And patience. Some advice:

•  Bring earplugs. The noise will likely be inescapable, no matter where you’re sitting. The first concert my girls saw was the Backstreet Boys at Kemper Arena in November 1999. They were 5 and 7. It took them the entire show by the opener (I think it was O-Town) and the first few Backstreet Boys songs to adjust to the shrieking, including from the 30-something guy standing next to us, who was there by himself. (My kids still talk about that.)

Loud music is one thing. There’s a high end and a low end and something in between. The sound of several thousand preteen and teenage girls screaming is a different punishment. It’s one note. And it’s everywhere: behind you, in front of you, next to you. It’s like an arena filled with thousands of people blowing whistles. Or a scene from Hitchcock’s “The Birds” at 125 decibels.

And they’re not exactly screams of delight. They can sound like panic and terror. I remember describing the shrieking at a Jonas Brothers show as the sound of 10,000 girls watching alligators eat their puppies.

Eventually exhaustion sets in and the screaming subsides. But getting through the first 30 minutes can be brutal.

•  Bring money. You will spend it. You won’t be able to say no unless you firmly lay down the law beforehand : no T-shirts or posters or souvenir whatevers. But even if you do that, you won’t be able to say no.

•  No matter how much you don’t like the music, act as if you do.

•  Enjoy the time together. They won’t forget it, and neither will you.

To reach Timothy Finn, music writer, call 816-234-4781 or email tfinn@kcstar.com.

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