If you are a teenaged girl (or a parent of one) in Europe you might have heard of the band Tokio Hotel. In fact, you may be one of the throngs of young fans. They are not so well-known in the US, but judging by the attendance at one of their shows in the Fillmore Theater in New York City last Monday, you might get to know them soon.
They are a sort of a Rock/Punk/New-Age band started by two 18-year-old twin boys, one on guitar and the other androgynous-looking one on lead vocals. The quartet also has the obligatory bassist and a drummer to round out the band. The band started a few years back in Germany and has grown like wild fire in Europe among the younger crowds. I was introduced to the band by my kids a couple of years ago when they returned from their annual summer trip in Germany visiting their grandparents.
So when Tokio Hotel finally made their first live debut on the east coast of the US, there was no denying my overjoyed children who were finally going to see their favorite band in concert. I can appreciate alternative music, but I have never been crazy enough about a band (or anyone for that matter) to wait for hours to get a glimpse, no less for a band that doesn't stir much for this middle-aged dad. The only other time I had been to a concert was back in 1987 as a teenager myself to see my favorite band, Boston, and there wasn't much waiting for that as seating was pre-assigned.
But waiting for Tokio Hotel is what I did. 5 hours of it on New York City's concrete with my children, one of their friends and her mom in tow. It was an interesting experience seeing a small corner of Manhattan from a lower altitude for hours on end. That followed by a rush of crazed young fans as they shuffled (more like stampeded) onto the floor for the standing only performance. After an hour of waiting inside like cattle being taken to the slaughterhouse, the band arrived and went into their act. Most of the songs were performed in English, with a couple of German ones thrown in to keep things authentic. Thankfully I had come equipped with earplugs. The muffled sounds were plenty enough for me.
The show went on for about an hour, but I had to rescue myself from the pushing and shoving waves of the young mass of humanity (including being trampled twice) long before the band took their bows. I just dragged my tired back (with the herniated disc, mind you) out of the floor and collapsed to the side with the other parents waiting listlessly for their kids.
Driving home that night, I wondered why parents sacrifice so much for their kids. Seeing their faces flushed with excitement from their first concert put that question to rest quickly. As for me, I can only hope this event fulfills my lifetime concert obligations to my children. Of course that may not extend to any future grandchildren.