Don’t let anyone tell you that there is no way through the jungle of hormones, sass and indifference that comes with having a teen daughter.
Because there is. In three words: Justin Bieber tickets.
That’s right, my friends. Those small, rectangular, pieces of Ticketmaster gold, emblazoned with J-U-S-T-I-N-B-I-E-B-E-R-B-E-L-I-E-V-E, are worth way more than the $67.50 plus $11.10 tax fair value price. They are worth more than triple that price (which is what I and many other suckers paid for them).
In the vein of that old credit card ad: Concert tickets: $300; Craft store supplies to make original I-love-JB tee: $15; Mother-daughter bonding experience (that also racks up "cool mom" points): Priceless.
My 13-year-old and I joined thousands to see The Biebs’ Believe concert recently in Tacoma, Wash. It was a last minute decision –- we got tickets a few days before from a broker via Craigslist. The meeting at a local Starbucks had all the ingredients of a cliche Lifetime movie: Soccer mom orders a latte while waiting for “Brian, the ticket broker.” He shows up in sketchy white van. She texts friends: “Send a search party if you don’t hear from me.” She boldly asks him to show her the tickets before she gives him the cash. He does. She does. She drives off singing, "Baby take a chance or you’ll never, ever know.” He drives off singing, “I got money in my hands that I’d really like to blow. Swag.”
In her pre-concert euphoria, my moody teen turned absolutely delightful, giddy with anticipation and excitement, which actually manifested into displays of daughterly affection – smiles, hugs, and even a public “THANK YOU MOM!!! #yesss #justinbiebertickets” on Instagram. (Ahem, 37 likes.)
She and a friend spent hours crafting homemade JB concert T-shirts. Her artistic vision included fringing the bottom and incorporating all kinds of insider details like purple (his fave color), hearts drawn in puffy paint (his fans adore him with their fingers in a heart shape), and of course , Bieber-speak, like “Believe” and “Swag King.” The only time there was a tiny bit of adolescent smirk was when I asked if I should make a T-shirt, too. (No! Eyeroll.)
The long walk down to our concert seats – row 42 on the floor – made for some marvelous people watching. Lots of homemade shirts like my daughter’s, concert t-shirts (girls were changing into them soon after they bought them), and for the over-achievers, head-to-toe matching outfits. There was a dad with a shirt that said: Justin Bieber’s Future Father-In-Law. And there were LOTS of moms in Bieber T-shirts. (For once, I was grateful for my teen’s insolence.)
From our perch, we were far back but had a great view of center stage, blocked only when the girl in front used her iPad to record. iPad? Really? I wanted to tap her on the shoulder to tell her she was obstructing the view, but didn’t want to ruin what was obviously the most exciting night of her life.
Even before Biebs appeared, the piercing sound of thousands of girls screaming in chorus was deafening, reminiscent of the way the wind can howl and screech during a hurricane. The sound swelled whenever it seemed like something was going to happen. ROARRR-SCREAMMM. (Oh, wait, that was just a sound technician.)
When opening act Carly Rae Jepsen was underwhelming with her first few, unfamiliar songs, it spurred conversation between me and my daughter about what a bummer it must feel like to play to a crowd that doesn’t show they adore you. Hmmm, kind of like a mom trying to get adoration from a teen.
Finally, the moment came when King Biebs, flew onto the stage – really, he was wearing wings. He danced, grabbed his crotch a lot, flashed his abs (which made the 95-percent-female crowd squeal even louder), played guitar, played drums and ultimately crooned his teeny-bop heart out for nearly 2 hours.
My daughter, like thousands of fans around her, was mesmerized. She cheered, sang along, danced and waved her arms. She made her fingers into a heart and watched in awe as some lucky girl got picked to go on stage and get serenaded by Bieber.
She took photos and videos with her phone until the battery ran out. Luckily, my phone battery lasted. Which gave me the chance to turn it on the two of us for a picture, basked in Bieber’s stage lights.
And ya know what? She smiled. I smiled.
Kavita Varma-White is a Seattle-based writer, editor and mom of two, who has always regretted not getting to see Shaun Cassidy in concert.
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