I’m not the worlds greatest Dad but I try hard to be. Like most parents out there, we work so hard to make ends meet and easily get caught up in the rat race of meeting deadlines and juggling a million tasks that we sometimes forget to take a minute to soak up the moments that really stand out; to deeply absorb them and be in that moment. Last night was one of those moments for me and one that will stay with me my whole life.
I’d bought tickets for my family to attend an Ed Sheeran concert in Manchester; a ‘well done’ present for my middle son getting through his SATS week (and the rest of us living through the pain of it!). My boys love music and we wanted their first proper gig to be something special, so we pushed the boat out a little. I always remember as a young lad when my brother took me to see Michael Jackson at Wembley and how special that memory is to me still – so I was hoping that Ed might just create that magic and a memory for my family to share forever.
The atmosphere was one of fun with people all around us just smiling and having a laugh, my boys picked up on that and their anxiety slowly lifted. They went from wide-eyed stares to huge smiles and wild pointing fingers as random things occurred around the stadium. Early on in the show, Ed gave one of his humorous anecdotes between his songs. He talked of the super-dads/boyfriends who take their loved ones to various gigs to watch artists that their kids and girlfriends love but perhaps they don’t so much. How they stand there disconnected and slowly begin to shuffle their feet, in that foot to foot awkward ‘dad dance’ kind of way, and how that he (Ed) wanted to put on a night that wouldn’t be forgotten and get those dads and boyfriends singing and dancing. Well Mr Sheeran, you did that!
There was one special moment for me, and it was towards the end. The sky was rich with colour from the sunset, Ed had got the crowd hanging on every pluck of his guitar string and the crowd were mesmerised as nearly every one pulled out their phone to put their light on in unison. The hairs began to rise on my arms as I slowly realised that 50,000 people were all in tune and in that moment and I suddenly remembered to tell myself that this was one of those moments to truly step back and absorb. I had my phone up in the air already, I was singing along and doing my two foot shuffle when I turned to look at my boys and wife to see the biggest smiles! The lights were shining from their own phones together in unison and they looked at each other in amazement as my son announced “look Dad, everyone is together!”.
Mission accomplished. Thank you Mr Sheeran, I have my special moment.