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Bring the Family

A first concert: NRBQ

Geoff Edgers /Globe Staff

WHO: Globe reporter Geoff Edgers and his daughter, Lila, 9

WHAT: Going to a rock concert

WHERE: Turners Falls

MONTAGUE — Lila got her first iPod Nano in December, and we entered a new point in our relationship. Like generations before me, I found myself toeing the line between out-of-touch snob and supportive music provider.

Biting my tongue, I’ve allowed Foster the People into the mix. I’ve also been grateful that NRBQ made Lila’s playlist.

After all, the band’s a perfect way to introduce a child to everything from boogie-woogie to Thelonious Monk to novelty music. Last year, I played her the group’s new album, “Keep This Love Goin’, ” and she was hooked.


Somewhere along the way, I decided we should go see them live for her first real rock concert. (Going to Dan Zanes at 3 didn’t count.)

I spotted a date in Turners Falls on a Thursday night. Turners Falls? I know. It’s 90 minutes away from the house, but for me that added to the fun: a rock concert and road trip rolled into one.

Before the show, we stopped at Holy Smokes BBQ Delicatessen for a perfect meal: ribs for me, mac ’n’ cheese for Lila. Then we headed to the Shea Theater.

With seats that rise from the dance floor, it’s a perfect design for a fourth-grader. I had called the publicist ahead of time to arrange a backstage greet with NRBQ founder Terry Adams. First, though, we checked out the merch. As a teen, I lived in concert T’s. Lila seemed stunned when I told her she could buy her own.

Back at our seats, we watched the twangy LuxDeLuxe. Quickly, Lila grasped the concept of openers. She went from “they’re good” to “when is NRBQ playing” within seconds.

After the set, we met Adams. He was warm and friendly and asked Lila for her favorite songs. She told him, though too shy to mention that she had altered the chorus of one from “I like animals” to “I like cannibals.”


Then the show.

As NRBQ played, Lila leaned forward. Adams whacks the keyboard like a middleweight boxer. The band effortlessly pulled off 40 years of back catalog. Lila smiled when the two songs she had mentioned, “I’m Satisfied” and “The Animal Life,” were performed.

And then she did what any 9-year-old might on a Thursday. She got sleepy. “Are you sure it’s OK?” she asked when I told her we could go. “Of course,” I said.

It was past 10. In the car, we went over a few questions. Why did the opening band have to play so long? Who were those people on the dance floor? And, Daddy, did you arrange special for me to meet Terry?

Before long, we put the NRBQ CD back on and let it play as she nodded off once more.

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe