My older daughter turned 9 last week and as her birthday present I took her last night to see her favorite band, Big Time Rush, in concert. In case you do not have a child in the tween to teen age range, to understand Big Time Rush, imagine ‘The Monkees’ for today’s teeny bopper generation. The band was formed as part of the Nickelodeon show of the same name, a show about 4 friends from Michigan who form a band and move to L.A. They sing all original songs which apparently gained enough popularity to release an album, and send the band out on tour.
The band is made up of James, Logan, Carlos, and Kendall (in that order in the below picture taken from the Nickelodeon website).
Each guy has been assigned their own personality trait so there’s someone for everyone to crush on. James is the “hot” one (note the totally amazing hair), Logan is the “smart” one, Carlos is the “funny” one, and Kendall is the “boy next door” type. Since I have always been a sucker for a guy who can make me laugh, I have to say Carlos is my favorite. If I were 20 years younger his goofy smile would be plastered all over my bedroom walls.
The last time I went to a concert filled with screaming teenagers, I was one of those screaming teenagers. So I was curious to see if anything had changed in the world of ‘boy bands that make teen-aged girls swoon.’ Little has changed. From the over priced merchandise, enthusiastic shouts of “Marry me, James!” and the intricately decorated “BTR Rules!” posters (complete with blinking LED lights) to the many slightly amused yet slightly terrified parental chaperones, it could have just as easily been a NKOTB concert from my teeny bopper glory days. The only difference I noted was the use of social media in getting the concert goers pumped up before the show. The kids could tweet from their cell phones and their messages would then appear on the jumbo vision screen, and the Big Time Rush website.
Luckily, my own daughter has not quite reached the celebrity crush phase- she was actually there because she likes the music (and the TV show) but there was plenty of hormone induced screaming to go around. I have never been so happy to have ear plugs, and I made a few friends by handing out extra pairs of ear plugs to extremely grateful parents.
The four guys pulled off the show with a fearless adrenaline fueled energy that would make even the most seasoned parent cringe. The set was built of scaffolding, steep ramps, firefighter style sliding poles, and of course, had a trampoline at center stage. Every time they bounced, flipped, or somersaulted from one side of the stage to the other, I said a silent prayer for their safety.
There were the prerequisite fireworks and other pyrotechnics, several costume changes, and tons of cheesy boy band choreography. But my favorite part of the concert by far, was when the band pulled two girls from the audience on stage and serenaded them.
The girls looked like they were about fourteen, give or take a year, and they had two totally different reactions. One girl looked as if she had been transported to her own personal fantasyland. She had a dreamy look in her eyes and leaned her head on Kendall’s shoulder for the entire time five minutes she was up there. This was her moment, and she was milking it for all it was worth. When Kendall asked her how she was feeling, she blurted out a gushy, “I love you!!” I could almost feel her trying to memorize what every second felt like so she could visit her new happy place whenever she chose.
The other girl could not stop shaking with nervous excitement. Her legs were perpetually bouncing and she alternated between hysterical crying and hysterical laughter. Half the time she was biting her nails and when Logan took her hand in his, I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head. I am honestly surprised that she maintained consciousness through the entire experience.
I cannot imagine either of these girls having a more exciting moment in their young lives. Which begs the question, what do you do when your life peaks at 14? They are now the envy of their peers, and everything they experience from here on out will be compared to that moment. Those are hard expectations to meet going forward.
All in all, the whole concert experience was a little surreal. I was instantly transported back to my fourteen year old self. My celebrity crush was Kirk Cameron- I had 174 posters of him on my bedroom walls, ceiling, and furniture. He didn’t sing or dance, but I thought he was totally dreamy. What I would have done to have had five minutes to lean my head on Kirk Cameron’s shoulder. What can I say, you dream the dream.
I laughed at those girls last night, but only because I remember feeling and acting the exact way they were feeling and acting. I was excited for them, knowing that they were creating memories that they will relive twenty years from now when they take their daughters to see whoever the teen heart throbs are in 2032.