I love music. I always have. It brightens my mood when I’m having a bad day, calms me when I’m anxious and motivates me to go just a little further when I’m working out. Music is my therapy.
My son has inherited my love of music. One of our favorite activities to do together is drive around singing along with songs from our favorite bands. We have varied tastes in music, but both share a love of hard rock.
I’ve wanted to take him to a live show for several years, but was afraid the volume would prove to be too much. Then a perfect opportunity presented itself: Nonpoint, a band I’d discovered a few years ago and he’d taken a recent interest in, was scheduled to play in Oklahoma City and the VIP package included an acoustic set the afternoon of the show. This seemed a great way to gradually prepare him for the evening to come, so I purchased the two VIP tickets and managed to keep it a secret for over a month. I wanted this, his first concert, to be an epic event for him.
The day of the show, I picked him up from school and told him we were going to see Nonpoint perform. I could tell he was wrestling with mixed emotions: excitement at seeing a band he likes, coupled with the fear of the unknown. Any new activity, even a fun one, is difficult for him. On the way to the show, we picked up some noise-dampening headphones to him help deal with the volume.
We arrived at the venue for the acoustic performance and were met by a couple, Mackenzie and Paul, that I’d met on Nonpoint’s fan page on Facebook. They’d made Matthieu an awesome t-shirt with his name and the Nonpoint logo, specifically for collecting band signatures. The four of us went to the acoustic set and it was the perfect intro to live music for Matthieu. I presented the band members with AutismOklahoma bracelets and explained that Matthieu has autism and that it was his first concert, so I wanted to give them something to commemorate the event. The guys signed Matthieu’s t-shirt and posed for pictures and were very kind.
There were four other bands scheduled to play before Nonpoint, so Matthieu had plenty of time to get his bearings. If we were in the middle or back of the building, he didn’t even need the headphones. He was a little concerned about the noise level up by the stage, but I convinced him to at least give it a try, so when it came time to set up the stage for Nonpoint’s performance, we made our way up and got a couple of spots on the rail, right in front of the stage.
Fortunately, the headphones made the volume tolerable and we were able to spend the entire set up there at the front. By the second song, Matthieu was cheering and playing the air drums along with the music. B.C., one of the guitarists, gave a pick to the bouncer and pointed to Matthieu to make sure he’d receive it. Then Robb, the drummer, actually came down off of the stage, handed him a pair of drumsticks and thanked him for coming to the show. Matthieu was ecstatic and used the sticks to air drum the rest of the show. I happened to glance over at him during one of his favorite songs and was filled with gratitude at the unbridled joy on his face. I loved seeing him swept up in the music. I wish I could have bottled the moment to keep forever. Afterward, I asked him what he thought and he said “This was the best night of my life.”
Needless to say, Matthieu’s first concert was a memorable event, and I am so grateful to the members of Nonpoint. So, B.C., Adam, Robb, Elias, and Rasheed, thank you for going out of your way to make the night one my boy will never forget. We look forward to seeing you again.