Live in the moment. Easier said than done, right? We live in a world of sensory overload. There is always so much going on around us. From screaming children to customers who need our attention to every day demands in our daily lives. Our phones blow up with emails, phone calls and text messages. Somedays, it feels like everyone wants a piece of you and a stunt double isn't an option. The chaos of our days often causes our minds, emotions, breathing, and heart rate to move at a rapid pace. And often, when we have but a moment to breath, only seconds pass before we're already thinking ahead to the future and what we need to do next. I know that I struggle with the concept of living in the moment. But whenever I start to drift from being present in a moment, I think back to a rock band who taught me the importance of living in the here and now.
The band was Def Leppard. And the concert was an unforgettable night. I wasn't attending the show as a teenage-concert-goer in the late 80's, at the height of the Hysteria album. Nor was I dressed in stone washed jeans and showing off my Aqua Net sprayed hair (yes, I once suffocated my brother with copious amounts of Aqua Net that saturated my big bangs). I was a woman in my mid-30's with natural, product-free hair, wearing a maxi dress and attending the concert with two of my favorite people who seemed more likely to attend The Lion King musical than a Def Leppard concert. I was with my parents (who were both in their 60's). And they were not playing the role of my chaperone. They were attending the concert as fans! Sure, I love all of the Def Leppard classics. But it's my mother who really LOVES the band! It was the summer of 1988 when my mom first discovered her love for the song "Pour Some Sugar On Me." It became her anthem. Her theme song. It was a song that was always requested at family weddings. And at the center of the mosh pit of some country club dance floor was my mother, commanding the attention of all the wedding guests who dared to let loose the moment the words "love me like a bomb" echoed over the speakers. And anytime I heard the song on the radio, I would immediately call my mother and turn up the volume to full blast. No matter what our mood was on that day, when "Pour Some Sugar On Me" came on the radio, it translated into instant smiles among the Vecchio clan. And so when it was announced that Def Leppard was touring through our hometown of Cleveland, decades after this hit song was released, my mom called me insisting that we get tickets to the show. I was about to embark on a life-moment. Moshing with my mom and dad at a Def Leppard concert during a live performance of "Pour Some Sugar On Me."
Ok, so we didn't exactly jump into a mosh pit. But on the day of the concert, we felt full adrenaline running through our veins! The show was held at an outdoor venue, called Blossom Music Center, almost an hour away from where we lived. We listened to the Def Leppard Greatest Hits CD on the drive to the venue. Our seats were fabulous! Ten rows from the stage, left of center. My mom bought a pink Def Leppard t-shirt on the way to our seats (it's worth noting that my mom's usual attire is something torn out of a Kate Spade catalog... but hey, she was living on the edge in her rock band t-shirt while my dad sported his Tommy Bahama threads). As we settled into our seats, the opening act was already performing. It was Heart. They were amazing! And to this day, I'm not sure that I've ever heard a female vocalist nail a song the way Ann Wilson did when she sang "Alone." After Heart performed, Def Leppard took the stage. They opened with "Rocket." The crowd went wild and my mom jumped out of her seat! The night was filled with hit after hit after hit. From "Love Bites" to "Animal" to "Photograph." And as every song ended, I knew my family was eagerly anticipating the first note of "Pour Some Sugar On Me." We were on our feet the entire show! And even though my mom has bad knees, they didn't keep her down! We were living in the moment. Singing every note. And loving every second of it! But throughout the concert, I couldn't help but notice the woman to my left. She was clearly a lifelong fan, dressed in her acid washed jeans and well-worn band t-shirt from the 80's that she possibly wore to her first Def Leppard concert years ago. Every time I glanced her way, her lips mouthed the words to the music, as though she was quietly singing to herself. And while I’d like to think that she was in her glory, ten rows back from the stage, her face always looked so serious. I think I know why. It had something to do with her concentration on the camera phone she was holding up in front of her face. Our location certainly made the stage picture worthy. Even I took the opportunity to snap a few shots. But this woman never stopped taking pictures! And it was the same picture over and over! As concert fans fist pumped their way through "Let's Get Rocked" and swayed to "Bringin' On The Heartbreak," this women kept clicking away on her camera phone. And I couldn't help but feel that she was missing the glory of the moment. And then the song we were all waiting for started... Love me like a bomb... bomb...bomb... followed by that powerful drum beat that momentarily stops your heart as you scream to the top of your lungs in pure exhilaration before you take a deep breath to yell out the lyrics of your favorite song word for word! Our hands were in the air! And so were our feet as we jumped up and down! Our bodies were fully committed to the movements that came along with the musical earthquake that shook the atmosphere! The drums... the bass guitar... and the vocals all came together to perform one of the best rock songs ever recorded! This was the moment we were waiting for that night. It was a life moment for me. Screaming, singing and dancing with my mother to a song, that when translated to its true meaning, is completely embarrassing to be singing with your mom! But I was 13 when the song first came out. I'm sure I thought that the singer was literally pouring sugar on himself. And I never questioned why someone would want to throw a sweet crystalline substance on their body. Not when the beat was so catchy! I suppose the once naive girl in me chose not to think about the true meaning of the lyrics. And the song meaning didn't matter during this life moment with my mom. It was everything I hoped it would be... complete joy!
But back to that woman on my left and the life lesson of this concert. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was the ultimate crowd pleaser. It really got the concert fans going wild! Yet still, this woman couldn't set her phone down. She kept snapping away. Taking the same picture over and over. She was so busy trying to capture a picture on her phone that she failed to capture the fun in the moment. It seemed like a missed opportunity for a memorable life moment. And I see this happening all the time. In fact, I've been guilty of doing the same thing. People are so busy texting, tweeting, Facebooking and Instagraming that they fail to enjoy what's happening in the present. They miss experiencing the joys of a moment. Sure, this woman had 100 pictures to prove how close she was to the band. And she'll always be able to look at those photos as proof that she was at the concert. But she can't tell a story about how she jumped up and down, singing the words of her favorite song with her friends and the stranger dancing next to her. And she'll never be able to tell people what it felt like to make direct eye contact with the lead singer of the band because she was too busy looking at him through a phone screen. But... she'll always have those 100 pictures.
Of the same shot.
Over and over again.
Live in the moment. That's what my night at a Def Leppard concert, with my parents, singing "Pour Some Sugar On Me" taught me about living in the present. And soaking in every second of it. Snap shots in my mind. I'll always have those. And they are priceless.
My "Live In The Moment" Song:
Def Leppard - “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (of course)