Amazing Rock N’ Roll Road Trip for Man with Cerebral Palsy and His Father
Richard McDeid and his son, Mason, didn’t quite reach their goal of seeing 500 bands during the 2016 calendar year, but they came close (450 bands isn’t too bad), and along the way they accrued a lifetime of memories.
Mason, 21, has cerebral palsy and has endured over 100 surgeries because of his condition. He’s unable to speak or walk and spends his life in a wheelchair. But one thing he can do, and loves to do, is listen to rock music.
Richard says that as a child, Mason was constantly crying out in discomfort. He tried playing music to calm him down, but everything from New Age to classical had no effect on the fussy Mason.
One day, Richard played a few songs from one of his favorite bands, Metallica, and it worked. Upon hearing the heavy metal riffs, baby Mason stopped crying, cracked a smile, and fell asleep.
Richard and Mason have been listening to rock music together ever since. As Mason got older, father and son began attending concerts together, to the point of attending 200 in a single year.
Last year, Richard and Mason decided to set a goal of seeing 500 bands in 365 days. “We look for ‘impossible’ goals,” Richard explains.
Taking road trips across the country from their home in Minnesota to see bands like Metallica, Slipknot, Korn, and Iron Maiden wasn’t always easy. Hotels and concert venues didn’t always have accommodations to suit the wheelchair-bound Mason and his father. But they made it work.
Richard recalls one time at a Korn concert when an audience member noticed the two in the back of the venue, unable to see much. He implored Richard and Mason to follow him to a better spot. “We went by everybody. The crowd parted like the Red Sea,” Richard describes.
A security guard eventually spotted Mason and placed him on the edge of the stage. “I looked up at Mason and he was just smiling,” Richard recalls. “As I was looking at him, I saw him on the Jumbotron. Korn was onstage, clapping. That was probably the coolest” moment.
After that memorable night and so many others, Richard and Mason have no plans of slowing down. The goal this year is to attend a music festival in Europe. “We don’t know how we’ll get there,” Richard says. “But we’re going to make it happen.”