Monday, December 05, 2005

Surviving A Wiggles Concert

The family just came back from a very much awaited Wiggles concert. By way of a quick introduction, The Wiggles are a group of four middle aged guys in skivvies who are the most popular children's act that Australia has ever produced. Their simple songs and dances have spawned countless TV shows, videos, DVD's, CD's and books. They started out as musicians with degrees in early childhood education and they've been able to turn their hobby and passion into something that's endearing not just to Aussie kids but to kids around the globe. They've been at it so successfully for over 13 years that they were listed last year as the Australia's richest entertainers and biggest export to the world.

I don't know what it is about these Wiggles but the first time my kids have heard their songs and watched their videos, they were hooked. I mean, hooked! They would stop whatever they were doing, whether playing with toys or eating their food and just watched these 4 guys on the TV doing a simple song about Hot Potatoes or Fruit Salad! It was like my kids were hypnotised or something. We find that a sure fire way of keeping our kids quiet and entertained for a while was always to put on a Wiggles video. We've done this so often all of us now know all the words and actions to all sorts of songs the Wiggles have ever sung!

So, naturally, when we found out that the Wiggles were having a concert here in Adelaide, we figured that now was the best time to go. The boy was already old enough to understand what was going on and the girl would be simply thrilled. After buying the tickets a month ago, and counting down the days till the big event, the day arrived and we finally found ourselves right smack in the amidst hundreds of screaming fans. I tell you, those Wiggles are like the Beatles for the kindergarten set.

Things weren't quite as peachy in the beginning though. Unfortunately, one of the Wiggles, Greg, couldn't make it to the Adelaide show because of illness and a replacement had to be brought in. Now, Greg has always been our daughter's favourite. Even before the show, she was telling us that she was excited to see Greg because he was the singer of the group and she like him because she sang songs as well.

When the announcement came over the loudspeakers that Greg was not going to be appearing, our poor little girl was crushed. She was so looking forward to seeing Greg that she seemed almost heartbroken when he didn't show. We tried our best to cheer her up, telling her that we'd be writing to Greg to get well soon and all that but she was on the verge of tears for almost thirty minutes. She refused even to watch the show at one point. It took some time but the Wiggles songs and the dances slowly wove their magic on her and soon enough, she was clapping and laughing and stomping her feet with the rest of them. It was a big relief for us because we didn't want her first Wiggles concert experience to be a big disappointment.

The boy, on the other hand, was not disappointed in the least. From start to finish, he was waving and dancing and singing to almost every one of the songs they sung. He was thrilled and enthralled by everything. From the Wiggle's Big Red Car, to the big balloon of Murray Wiggle, to the dancing and the obligatory Santa Claus appearance. He was fun to watch considering a few kids around us were already getting antsy halfway through the concert.

Overall, the concert was great, but a few things we should remember next time we decide to watch another Wiggles concert.

1. Book tickets early. Tickets were on sale since July 1 this year. When I booked the tickets a month ago, all they had available were seats in the nosebleed section. It wasn't too bad, but you do want better seats so your kids can at least see their idols up close. ( ok, ok, our idols too ! ). Ticket prices are surprisingly affordable and all tickets are priced the same no matter where you are seated. So, it's just a matter of getting in early.

2. Bring cash. And lots of it. The stuff that your kids ( and yourself ) would like to get after the show cost a mint. T-shirts, balloons, Wiggles toys etc. are available before and after the concert. If you want to get in and out of the ever lengthening queue, bring cash.

3. Go to the toilets before the show starts. 'nuff said.

4. Bring snacks and drinks. The kids get tired after all that wiggling.

5. Handle disappointments. That thing with Greg threw us for a loop. Just be prepared for extra cuddles and to do everything you can to keep your kid from bawling their eyes out.

6. Prepare to get up and dance. I admit that the Wiggles are infectious and you do would want to stand and get into the act with your kids now and again. Keeps us parents young.

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