Goldilocks went to a show. "This show is too polished and professional!" she exclaimed.
Then she tried another show. "This show is too unrehearsed and awkward!" she complained.
And neither show was just right, but damn that opening act was adorable.
First off, I have never seen such a sparsely-attended BNL show. Alburquerqians of my acquaintance explained it wasn't promoted at all. Still, everyone in the band was heard from, everyone sang a song, Jim played the piano (see figure 1), Ed played the drums (see figure 2), Kevin did a strip tease (see figure 3-a, b).
(An aside: you'll note that prior to Figure 3b a PETA protester doused Ed in red paint. Actually, that's Gary's new enemy, the red gel light.)
Such sweet boys. They appear to enjoy themselves so, especially Jim, The Quiet One. (Isn't there a scene in That Thing You Do when Tom Hanks assigns a personality to each kid in the band? "You, you're The Quiet One!")
It was very happy, polished, rehearsed. And of course that's my complaint. A few years back they introduced an adorable dance sequence to the tune of Angry People. It WAS adorable. It WAS adorable the first three times I saw it. And now, the sad Sound of Your Voice is augmented with a little do-wop parody set piece. It's just too cute. Ugh. That decision makes the balance tip from art into entertainment. Too polished, too perfect, too cute.
Still, at the end of the show the tiny audience was on its feet and storming the stage.
First off, I have never seen such a sparsely-attended Steven Page show. You'd think that would make it intimate, but you'd be wrong.
He began by saying "If you're a BNL fan, this will be like coming home and finding your Mom making out with her new boyfriend."
No. It was like coming home and finding Mom making out with her new boyfriend who doesn't really seem to like her all that much. He put a lot of effort into interacting with his new band, which was difficult because they wouldn't make eye contact with him.
I think the piano player MAY have chuckled once at something Steven said and then Steven turned his back entirely on his audience and sang half a song directly to the pianist.
Look at these people. They should be behind a curtain or a bandstand or in a boom box. Smile at our boy. Smile. We like him. Why don't you? Is it the drugs? What's going on up there?
He sang very well, though I think he missed the note at the end of Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel, which I had just heard Ed hit days earlier. But the note I've missed is the high note in the chorus of It's All Been Done, and it was there. Ah.
I was happy to hear the songs from the new CD, which had one particularly vile review. The reviewer didn't judge the songs as music, but as reflections of Steven's life choices. Of course, I judge them by how well they reflect my life choices. I love A New Shore (been there recently) but not so much Clifton Springs (been there, done that, twenty eight years ago).
Still, everyone else loved the old songs, clapped politely at the new songs, and swarmed the stage at the end when he played Brian Wilson.
I'm going to cheat. My favorite was Steven's opening act, Kate Miller Heidke. She left her band back in Australia. She brought her husband, who didn't speak yet still acknowledged her presence on the stage.
Sort of an operatic version of Regina Spektor, yet funny, not dour, but not overly cute.