Okay, that joke is getting old -- I never really thought Barenaked Ladies was anything but a rock band before their Nov. 27 concert at the Turning Stone Casino Event Center in Verona, N.Y. And as it turned out I couldn't have been more entertained it really had been a troupe of nekked females.
In the spirit of full disclosure, prior to the show I wasn't much of a fan of the Toronto-based Barenaked Ladies -- featuring Ed Robertson on guitar and vocals, Jim Creeggan on bass and vocals, Kevin Hearn on keyboards and vocals, and Tyler Stewart on drums and vocals -- but I sure was when I left. At first, I simply figured it would be a fun way for Gabby, Sammy and I to kick off the holiday season, something they would enjoy since Barenaked Ladies' music is more from their generation.
(Barenaked Ladies musicians, from left, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart thrill the audience with music and mirth Nov. 27 at the Turning Stone Casino Event Center)
Familiar hits like "One Week," "Brian Wilson," and "It's All Been Done" got the crowd to their feet singing along and moving to the beat, and their quips between tunes set a fun and festive tone that enhanced the show and grabbed the attention of even a novice Barenaked Ladies concertgoer like myself.
Kevin's jest about the "gambled eggs" being a hit on the breakfast buffet table at the casino might have fallen a bit flat, dying even after a couple of attempts to raise a chuckle from the crowd. He finally accomplished the guffaws by an exasperated "(F-bomb) me!" that brought a roar of laughter even from Gabby and Sammy, who I'm sure have never heard that word before. It was a part of the fun as the audience laughed along with him (and not at him) as his joke choked.
His vocals on "Another Heartbreak," however, proved an unexpected highlight in the show as he quickly won over the audience with his emotive live take on the track from their latest CD "All in Good Time."
The theme to TV's "Big Bang Theory" offered a surprise guest appearance. It seemed 13-year-old audience member Danielle Fleming had learned all of the gazillion words to the song, and her mom held a sign to tell the band of her accomplishment. Suddenly, Ed invited her up on stage to prove her talents, ordering her a microphone and sound monitor headset. Danielle appeared a bit nervous at first, but Ed loosened up the mood by letting her know she was free to say anything she wanted on stage.
"Are there any swear words you've always wanted to say?" he asked her, telling her it was OK to use any language she wanted. Danielle confessed she did not swear, so Ed responded, "Do you want a smoke?" The audience loved it, although I couldn't quite see how Danielle's mom reacted. The young singer did a great job and Ed gave her the advice to leave town and never come back in pursuit her career into stardom.
(If I had $1,000,000 I'd hire Barenaked Ladies to come back for another show)
"Pinch Me" brought the concert crowd to the penultimate peak of pleasure, and by then anybody wondering if this band formerly known as a quintet could function as only a foursome had those doubts quelled. Of course, lottery theme song "If I had $1,000,000" was the big hit of the evening, made even more fun with some seriously creative improv at the end including a lively rap by Ed.
Tyler took a trip into the spotlight himself during the encore, saying he was making amends for his quick rendition of ELO's "Turn to Stone" superimposing the words "Turning Stone" at the end of the regular set (Hey, I liked it, especially since the ELO hit IS from my generation!). He belted out a raucous lead vocal on "Alcohol" and "Feliz Thanksgiving" that proved he's more than just a bald head behind the drums.
A line in their "Thanks, That Was Fun" concert closer perfectly captured the spirit of the night as the group sang "Thanks, that was fun/Don't forget, no regrets." It's certainly not to message in the rest of the song, but that particular part caught my ear as the sentiment I had for the band as we parted ways. Thanks for a great time, and I can't wait to catch up with you again next tour.
(Mike, Gabby, and Sammy kick off the holiday season with a fun night of Barenaked Ladies)
Check out a complete setlist for the evening at http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/barenaked-ladies/2010/turning-stone-resort-and-casino-verona-ny-7bd2aea4.html. For more on Barenaked Ladies log on to http://www.barenakedladies.com/ and tell them Hot Scoops sent you!