Bonding time with the bands

From long road trips to a quick trip to Hutch?in?son from our home in Buhler, my parents always had music on in our vehicles while I was growing up. We would play games trying to guess the artist and song title before the others, but mostly we just enjoyed the music.

We listened to a wide range of music, from The Eagles to Def Leppard to Elton John to Reba McEntire to Styx to Journey.

These childhood experiences would explain why I am probably the only male my age who knows an entire Wilson Phillips album by heart.

We didn?t just listen to the music in the car or at home, but we went to shows, too, seeing all the artists above live, with the exception of Wilson Phillips. (I think I?ll hold on for just one more day before I see this show).

Our tastes have varied through the years, but my bond with my folks over music hasn?t stopped in my 30s.

Last week was especially fun as we went together to yet another show in Wichita. My mom, always listening to win, got her chance and won tickets for us to see Shine?down and Breaking Benja?min at Intrust Bank Arena with meet-and-greet passes to boot.

Shinedown is one of our favorites. Sure, it?s loud and angry at times, but who doesn?t need to let off some steam after a long week at work?

Mom and I danced to a Shinedown song at my wedding, their version of ?Simple Man,? just to put it all in context as to why the show was special.

Last Friday was the day of the show, and after an early breakfast with the Newton Chamber of Com?merce and my Kansas Press Association board meeting shortly afterward, I was running late for our meet-and-greet, which was supposed to start at 3:45 p.m. at the venue.

Mom was visibly excited as we got closer to the arena. Showing up about 10 minutes after the time we were instructed, we weren?t late after all, as?who would have thought?the rock stars were the ones running late.

The radio station hosting the event lined us up in a single file line, school field-trip style, and guided us into a room below the arena to wait for Shinedown.

About 20 or so of us were there, and the ages ranged from 10 years old to one guy who was probably in his late 60s. Mom and I fit right in at the middle of the pack.

When the band arrived, two members started at one side and two on the other side. They shook our hands, said hello, signed stuff and were very cordial.

Soon after, we enjoyed a great three-hour-plus show with both bands playing long sets.

The highlight was when Shinedown lead singer Brent Smith made his way up our section and sang ?Simple Man? about 12 inches from where we were standing.

The night was made.

Two more songs on stage and the show was over, capping another great live show, another wonderful bonding experience with my folks, and a pretty neat story to tell later.

There are fewer road trips and live shows now, but when we get the opportunity, we always enjoy music together. This show was special to be sure.

Joey and Young is a majority owner and publisher of the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures.