My Favorite Live Shows Seen with My Son

I’ve completed the social media challenge to name bands from A-Z whose concerts I’ve attended. I was a bit weak toward the end of the alphabet and didn’t double (or triple or quadruple) up on any particular letter. I enjoyed it, as I have a few of the other shelter-in-place/quarantine social media challenges. But it got me thinking.

Since my now 19 year old son was 10 years old, when I think of going to see a show, I always think of going with him first. At the age of 9, my son became very interested in music. It was an assignment in 3rd grade that started it all – write an essay about a famous American. He chose Elvis. So starting with that essay, he began working his way backwards and forwards through blues, jazz, folk, bluegrass, rock and roll, classical, true country and western and pretty much every genre in between. (At the end of his 3rd grade school year, we moved back to Austin, TX. He asked, “Since we’re moving back to Austin, can I learn to play the guitar?”) It has been a joy to see him grow in his passion, and he is now majoring in Classical Guitar and Music Composition in college.

We have talked of music and experienced music a lot over the past 10 years. He has, probably unbeknownst to him, taught me a great deal about artists and genres I had a passing preference for that he has made me appreciate much more deeply.

So when I think of going to see a show or hear about a new record or someone touring, he is the first person I text or call about it. We’ve been able to see some great shows together, and, thus, the A-Z bands you’ve seen live challenge has led to this. Here we go – some of the best shows I’ve seen with my son.

ACL 2010

His first real “show”, and as we lived in Austin, what better way to start. I think it was while watching The Black Keys or maybe Spoon when I got the question from my then 10 year old son, “What’s that smell?” And he never had to ask at any subsequent show…


This was either for his 11th or 12th birthday. He got interested in the blues very early on. I think Buddy was 75 years old at the time, but still was walking through the crowd and had a ton of energy.


I think he was 12 or 13. What a band BB had supporting him. This was definitely an Austin performance as Jimmy Vaughn came out and played a couple songs with him. Also the first show where he saw a fight (at a BB King show!) – people began pushing and shoving at the end of the show because BB stayed on stage throwing out guitar picks.

PIXIES – THE AUSTIN MUSIC HALL (may it rest in peace)

I think he was 12 or 13. Right before this show, he had played a show at Darwin’s Pub on 6th Street through a program called Garage Band. This may be one that I forced on him. We missed the original lineup. As I recall, Kim had just left (again?) to re-start up the Breeders. Was still a good show…


I think he was 15 or 16. While he has many, many favorites, I think if he could have seen all of the iterations of Miles Davis’ bands, he would have. So this show he was very excited about. And they did not disappoint.


This was our most recent show together this past 4th of July. We got there early, and we stayed for the whole thing – from David Allan Coe at 1130a until Willie shut it down a bit after midnight. For a dad about to have his son go away to school, it was an amazing time. And to make it a true, late night Texas experience, we hit Whataburger at around 130a.


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