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Spinal Tap @ The Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, June 1, 2001
I was a dazed and confused
out-of-stater and thus got to The Greek an hour or so early.
The extra time was put to good use with some preparatory drinking.
By the time opening act The Folksmen appeared (30 minutes late),
a mellow, slightly delirious chemical state had been established
in some of my brain cells. I was ready with a phenomenal
seat in the orchestra pit and a poncho in case of rain or excessive
spittle spray. Marty DiBergi was in the audience, but I don't
think he was allowed access to Spinal Tap. He had a young boy
with him, I presume as a bodyguard. There were other celebrity
types in the "poorer" seats behind the orchestra pit
as well, such as Tim Curry, Tap groupies Jamie Lee Curtis and
Annette O'Toole, Beck (not Jeff), and others.
At first staying in my seat,
I used tiny binoculars to determine that The Folksmen (and later,
Spinal Tap) were properly groomed for the occasion (no protruding
nose hairs, but no protruding appendages either). The Folksmen
such polite and simple gentlemen were in their
own sort of delirium, believing that they were in Athens. Their
abbreviated set remains forever symbolized in my mind by the
pathetic sight of little Mark Shubb hurriedly dragging his upright
bass off the stage behind Jerry and Alan.
A 30-minute intermission allowed
the crowd to use the fluid-recycling facilities. Although this
Spinal Tap tour was prominently sponsored by Endure adult diapers,
no free samples were available, so if desired or needed, the
audience had to provide their own. I suspect Tap must have used
them although I couldn't tell because they played
energetically, but without squirming, for 90 minutes straight.
Great sound and delivery.
Guest musicians joined Spinal
Tap for several of the favorites (see reviews elsewhere for the
set list), including guitarists Dweezil Zappa and Ry Cooder,
fiddler Richard Greene, tuba-man Freebo, actor/bassist Stephen
Collins and backup singer "special friend Cyndi" (rumored
really to be songstress/pianist Judith Owen, married to some
guy named Harry Shearer and trained specially for this occasion
at the Nigel Tufnel School of Gum-Chewing).
I was fortunate to spend most
of the time at the hip-high stage edge in front of Derek, who
looked smashing in black-and-red leather pants and vest. Several
pairs of "Bridget Jones type" tummy-control briefs
were tossed back into the audience, but since I didn't see them
originally presented from the fans, I can't tell you for certain
that Spinal Tap did not bring them in themselves.
At one point, we at the stage
edge tried to help Derek "project" a bit more with
a foil-wrapped device but were unsuccessful in an attempted rear
delivery. He was kind enough, though, to give it a kiss and hand
it to back me, although it died two days later from being beaten
so hard on the stage throughout the show. I've saved the foil.
I think it also could have been useful stuffed into the end of
Nigel's didgeridoo during "Clam Caravan" or tossed
into the tuba during "Big Bottom." Another highlight
was that I got kissed by a dwarf during "Christmas with
the Devil" but was still the same height the next morning.
b.s.v. (bitch school valedictorian)
Spinal Tap @ The Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, June 1, 2001
Hello from a long-time Tap
fan. Just saw the show at the Greek the other night. It was too
cool. Tim Curry was sitting behind me (who knew he was a Taphead
he even purchased a T-shirt during the break after the
Folksmen were on) and either Rob Reiner or Marty DiBergi (they
look so much alike they could be brothers) was down the aisle
from me. Some of us were having fun with a couple that had never
seen the Folksmen! We couldn't believe they never had seen or
heard of them. Well, after the Folksmen set, that couple was
glad they got there early to see them. One lady towards the front
of the stage had a vest on that said "Bitch School Valedictorian"
and a zucchini wrapped in foil she waved at Derek. When he saw
it, he said "I see you've found my zucchini." I'll
be seeing them again at the Sun Theatre show on July 14.
A few weeks ago a combination
Stonehenge/rock fountain was unveiled in Azusa, California. I
wish I had time to inform Tap what better way to kick
off the Back from the Dead tour than at the unveiling of a new
fountain next to a Sav-On in a small town. Anyway, it is at the
corner of Foothill (Route 66) and Azusa (Highway 39). The only
reason I know is that I happen to live in Azusa. I'm thinking
of going down there with my ST figures and posing them around
the Stonehenge, taking a picture, and sending to some people.
You can kind of see the end
of the Stonehenge if you go to the official City of Azusa site,
click on "Downtown Splash" and look at 3rd photo down,
far left you can barely see the edge. Brenda
Spinal Tap @ The Beacon Theatre
New York City, July 16, 2001
I journeyed to the Big Apple
in search of a worm and found it at the Beacon Theatre
the ultimate marriage of incontinence and incompetence
Endure adult diapers sponsoring Spinal Tap's Back from the Dead
tour, opening with a bewildered folk trio (think triage) called
The Folksmen (who else but these guys could be inspired to combine
an acoustic interpretation of Mick Jagger's "Start Me Up"
with a "Kumbaya" finish?).
Now a new generation has had
opportunity to experience a Tap Attack and Tap Addiction and
to attain the surreal inner state of Tap-attunement the
choice of no one's choice. Gone are the heyday Peter Pan entrances,
the fireworks, the pods, and the costume changes (not even a
change of diaper on the miniature Stonehenge monument). The band's
dwarf fascination continues, although New York rental costs must
be prohibitive because dwarves only appeared once ("Stonehenge").
A new clean-cut drummer Skippy Skuffleton thus
far has survived the summer. It was not disclosed whether or
not he was named for the peanut butter.
Tap rules. Tap probably also
drools. The boys are all ancient now, but commendably
they can keep it up onstage for an hour and a half. Despite
their personal arrested developments and their raunchy attitudes
and silly philosophies, Spinal Tap exudes an underlying benign
innocence and sweetness, much like a sour burp after a cookie
binge. Tap, you make me want to be a better fan.
Bassman Derek Smalls is still
short and furry, and he's apparently had a few hair plugs added
to his thinning crown. Damn, he looks good in studs and leather,
and he can still project despite ... well, you know ... his shortcomings.
Lead vocalist and guitarist David St. Hubbins remains disconcertingly
god-like blond, blue-eyed, full-voiced, and dressed to kill (he
killed a lot of guitar strings, too). Nigel Tufnel, pretty in
pink at this show, still shreds on lead guitar and a new conquest
the didgeridoo through which he created what can
only be described as a cacophony of alien mating calls in "Calm/Clam
Tap put out a plea for panties
half way through the concert, so I tossed out a gargantuan pair,
which coincidentally appeared to match David's satin shirt. Nigel
hung them for a time from his own back pocket ( they reached
half way down his thigh) before draping them over the mandolin
head where they resided thereafter. Sadly, it was to be the only
panties Tap would receive on this particular evening (although
I don't know what happened much later after the show).
The mikes were set up too
far back on the rounded-edge stage, so Tap could only patrol
the front perimeter when they weren't singing. A looming Nigel
Tufnel at stage edge is an experience not to be missed! The set
list included the usual redundant favorite arrangements, as well
as a horny twist to a grooving funk arrangement of "Sex
Farm" and a jazz oddity introduction to "Heavy Duty."
John McEnroe joined on guitar (really) for a shortened (3 minutes
and 42 seconds), sweet'n'low version of "Short and Sweet"
(so that's who taught Nigel how to "flip it" back in
1982). The "Hell Hole" and "Bitch School"
twins were separated enough in the program to avoid confusion
for the listener, and thank goodness Tap came back to reality
and incorporated a greater variety of bottom styles for the "Big
Bottom" encore dancing extravaganza. Bi-coastal
Cosmic Shambles, b.s.v. (bitch school valedictorian - and
all honors classes!)
More Reviews:Joe D'Angelo of MTV on Carnegie Hall
Jambands.com on Carnegie Hall
Neva Chonin of the San Francisco Chronicle on San Francisco