On October 7, 2019, my son and I attended the Bob Seger concert in Indianapolis, IN. This tour is called the "Roll Me Away Tour." Mr. Seger has said this will be the last time he will conduct a scheduled tour of a large number of cities. So when the tickets were announced my son asked if I would like to go with him. I had never seen Bob Seger in concert, and I thought this would likely be my last chance so I immediately told Pat (my son) that I would love to go.
The concert was terrific, even though Mr. Seger was struggling with what appeared to be the start of a cold, and since this was the 10th tour date since September 12, 2019, a less than perfect voice can be excused. But, my post today is not a concert review. What I do want to discuss is the audience.
A little older
I told Patrick (our youngest son) when we got to our seats, that it had been a long time since I felt I had brought him to an event where it was not age-appropriate for him. Pat is 38, and the audience's age was trending...shall we say...older. I asked Pat for a note from his mother to attend. No worries about your eye roll, I don’t think Patrick thought my joke was funny either.
Since the audience was “older,” it is natural that I saw many people who were using assistive devices that allowed them to attend. I saw a large number of canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and people like me who were relying on someone else to help them attend the concert.
It was so fun to watch these people having the time of their life as they danced, shouted, and sang with their hands in the air the entire concert. My favorite person was probably 80’ish and seemed frail as she entered, but she waved her arms and danced in her seat the whole concert, while her assistant read a telephone and tried to show interest. At the end of the show, the little lady returned to her former self, clutching the arm of her assistant as they moved to the exit.
Another younger lady in a wheelchair moved her chair in perfect rhythm to the songs as she danced her way through the concert. She was 100 times better at dancing than I will ever be, and she was using the wheelchair as a mechanism to assist her. She swung and spun her wheelchair in the aisle the entire concert. It was very cool to watch as she danced through the whole show like you might think a teenager would.
What kept running through my mind was that at least 10% of the 18,000 plus audience was using some form of assistive device (mostly canes) to help with mobility. Bob Seger is 74, so it is no surprise that the audience would be a little older. But I reflected on my situation using a cane and at times, a wheelchair to attend events or participate in family gatherings. I always think I stand out and I do not want the attention.
What I learned from the Bob Seger concert is just how normal it is to use these devices. I did not see a single person who was embarrassed or appeared shy to have the help of these devices, and the crowd did not make a fuss about giving them extra time as we exited the venue.
I know the next time I have to use one of these devices, I will reflect on the Bob Seger concert to get over my shyness and embarrassment to be seen using one. I will remember those two ladies who did not allow their need for a little help to dampen their complete enjoyment of the concert. It was a beautiful thing to watch and more valuable to me; it will also serve as a reminder that if we need assistance we should not shy away from using it out of stubbornness. After all, two ladies and the others in the audience were treated to a great evening of music from a rock legend, even if they were using wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Seeing this was an inspiration for me, one I will not soon forget.
Do you use the word disability to describe your AS?