Monday, December 17, 2012

One Direction

My younger daughter decided against having a birthday party for her latest birthday and asked instead that I take her to the One Direction concert at Madison Square Garden. I had heard of the group – a very popular English boy band – but really knew nothing about their music. I agreed, however, and then set about getting tickets which had long since gone on sale and were instantly sold out. Fortunately, however, we now have an effective market mechanism that efficiently allows for tickets to be purchased at a fair market price. That mechanism is Stub Hub and I quickly found a pair of very well located first row balcony tickets and purchased them. I was clearly paying for the popularity of the group and the location of the seats…but I still felt this was reasonable since it was instead of a birthday party.

As the event approached, I encountered the first major complication. The University’s NYC alumni holiday party was scheduled the same night as the concert. I always enjoy attending to catch up with the many alums I have known for many years including more than a few of my former students. I wanted to go and also felt I needed to go to the holiday party but what about One Direction and more importantly my relationship with my younger daughter who had talked about little else other than this concert for weeks? One possibility was that my wife could take her instead of me but our marriage works well based on a fair division of responsibilities, which clearly places events like this exclusively in my purview. And besides, I wanted to spend the time with my daughter. I needed to work it out. The solution was at the expense of dinner before the concert. I would go to the holiday party. My younger daughter would wait for me while the party was happening and then we would take a taxi to Madison Square Garden.

We found a taxi very quickly. Actually we found two taxis. The second taxi tried to cut off the first taxi as that taxi was stopping to pick us up. The taxi drivers started arguing—both getting out of their cars—and we were left to look for another taxi which we found within a block. We made it to the Garden just as the warm up act was performing. We got to our seats, I put in my silicone ear plugs and we were both ready. Even with the plugs in, I could hear everything but still felt insulated. After about 30 minutes the warm up act ended, the set was rearranged and shortly thereafter One Direction started performing. And here was the surprise: I enjoyed the performance and enjoyed the music. First of all the staging was very impressive—the lights, the smoke, the flames, the background videos were all visually interesting and effective. The songs had pleasant melodies and the group was not only friendly and charming, but also appreciative of their fan support. They thanked their fans numerous times for making this concert such a wonderful time for them. And from the reaction of the audience, clearly the feeling of a wonderful time was mutual.

I was appreciative as well. First, for the time with my daughter. Second, for her taste in music. And third, that I still have an open enough mind to experience and enjoy what I never thought I would appreciate. I’m glad to still be going in more than one direction.

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