Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Unwigged and Unplugged at the Warner Theatre

Unplugged and Unwigged isn't quite a concert and it isn't quite a comedy show, so let's just call it a performance. And just like Spinal Tap isn't quite a great rock band, the performance is highly entertaining even if you can't completely understand why.

J and I appreciate humor in any form and in almost any situation, so a blending of music and comedy is right up our alley. Not to mention these two little bits of trivia; we got married at a "This is Spinal Tap" filming location and J's sister worked on, and briefly appeared in, a recent Christopher Guest movie.

The trio of of Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer are probably best known for their comedic chops (as evidenced by the long list of successful and not-so-successful films), but they are certainly more than serviceable as musicians. Each demonstrates some versatility across instruments and musical genres but let's face it, you don't like "Big Bottom" or "A Mighty Wind" for the guitar solos or three-part harmonies, even though they are quite good... you're there for the lyrics which are packed with clever double entendre, sarcasm, and hyperbole.

The audience was packed with loyal fans who were clearly more knowledgeable about the career works of Guest, McKean, and Shearer than we were. However, even for the uninitiated, the playful interchanges and stories that were highlighted by 30+ years of perfectly developed chemistry and timing made the evening a fun one.

Of particular note was the deadpan reading of NBC sensor Bill Clotworthy's notes which were prepared for the adaptation of "This is Spinal Tap" for network TV. But almost as entertaining were the playful quips and odd gyrations sprinkled throughout the show.

So whether you go for the music or go for the comedy, you'll walk out with a smile on your face even if you don't really know why. Or to put it another way, how would I rate the performance on a scale of 1-10? Well, this performance goes to 11.

J Says

I'm a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to Christopher Guest films. I started with "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind," and finally saw "This is Spinal Tap" a few years ago. As a result, a lot of the references were over my head but I was still very entertained by the music and witty dialogue. Just like it is hard to describe Christopher Guest's movies, it is hard to describe this show. It's sort of like VH1 Storytellers meets Saturday Night Live. Regardless of how you describe it, you're in for a fun (and very unique) evening.

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