Over the course of my years in Charlotte, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying some outstanding shows at Ovens Auditorium. Sufjan Stevens. Rent. John Cleese and Eric Idle. John Prine, for God’s sake. Well today, we took Miles to that same venue for his first live show ever, and Lord help me, it was PAW Patrol.
Not that we revealed this to him in advance. All we told him was we had a surprise for him and that he needed to try going to the bathroom first.
“I don’t know what this is!” Miles excitedly reiterated as we pulled up to Ovens this afternoon for the 2:00 performance.
Granted, by the time we reached the entrance, he started to get some inkling of what we were doing there. If the horde of children decked out in PAW Patrol shirts and costumes wasn’t enough, the merch table made it clear.
“What do you think this is?” Jaclyn asked.
“PAW Patrol,” Miles answered, understanding the general idea without fully grasping the specific.
I wanted to make sure Miles got everything he wanted out of his first…ugh…theater experience, so I let him have his pick of items at the merch table. He quickly settled on three items, and they were precisely the three I thought he’d land on.
We were seated in front of a stage with the PAW Patrol logo clearly displayed, and still Miles wasn’t sure what to expect. Then the lights went down, Cap’n Turbot walked out onstage, and things started becoming clearer. By the time Ryder came out, followed by all the pups Miles knows so well, he was ELATED.
Having seen the PAW Patrol Live special on Paramount+ (many, MANY times), seeing his favorite cartoon characters performed by decidedly adult puppeteers wasn’t a completely foreign concept to him. And since Miles’s hearing isn’t shot from, well, years of attending other concerts, he was able to fill me in on critical plot details I might have otherwise missed.
Needless to say, Miles loved the whole experience. And all kidding aside, I think we did too, just seeing the excitement in him and the audience at-large. Commercialized? Sure, but as a guy who spent a couple hundred bucks on a Build-Your-Own-Lightsaber experience a couple years ago, I’m not going to complain about that. Seeing the joy and feeling the energy of a child experiencing something unimaginable is what parenting is all about.