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Songs from the Idiot Box
The Earl
January 2006

Last year about this time I really enjoyed the Winter Formal, put together by International Hits. So when I got an email hyping "Songs from the Idiot Box, all of your favorite T.V. & movie soundtrack hits" featuring many of the same performers I looked forward to the show. I put on my Johnny Fever T-shirt, SW wore her Harper Valley PTA shirt, we picked up degenerate CD and headed down to the Earl, a bit later than I would've preferred but SW doesn't like to arrive early. I think we arrived about 10 so I was a bit surprised to see someone already on stage.

They had a few TV's behind the band for decor and a heap of computer equipment projecting slides on a screen behind the stage, giving the audience the visual clues for the tunes the band played. No, that's not Brokeback Mountain.

It turns out the whole affair was a benefit for some local martial arts studio (sorry, I neglected to write that down. Anyone?) Out came a big drum and a dancing dragon, giving SW and myself serious flashbacks to our New Year's Eve trip to Amsterdam back in 2003/2004.
The live music started back up with tunes from the likes of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and a fantastic cover of the theme from Good Times.

For every expected classic, such as the Dukes of Hazard theme, there was an unexpected surprise, sometimes something we couldn't even identify, like this vaguely jazzy number, played while the video showed a clip of some kids playing. SW's comment was "I get the feeling some people didn't understand the assignment."

I didn't mind the occasional surprise or confusion, but what I and others grumbled about most were the LONG delays between live acts. The International Hits people had done the Winter Formal right, only pausing to swap out the singer, or a musician or two. With Songs from the Idiot Box, they tried to cover for the long wait between acts with a looping audio visual display of a TV flipping channels, along with the occasional weird old commercial or Three Stooges short, but it wasn't enough.  The breaks were so long it was tempting to wander off in search of something else.

But grumbling aside, when was the last time you heard, say, the theme from Three's Company done live? Sure, even the live music provided some moments of pain, but they were contrasted with things like an Ennio Moricone tune from A Gun for Ringo, a tune that baffled most folks in the audience but gave me chills.

But when you put together a sampler show like this, it's like a box of chocolates. You can swing from Sanford and Son funky...

to Neverending Story fluffy...

to the agony of having to hear anything associated with Ralph Macchio. Sweep the leg!

My personal favorites were M*A*S*H, complete with lyrics from the movie, done by Day Mars Ray, and S.W.A.T., perhaps the coolest TV theme of all time, performed by Cadillac Jones.

Things wrapped up with I'm Alright, the credit music from Caddyshack, perhaps Kenny Loggins' only tolerable tune, complete with a dancing gopher.

This was likely a one-time affair, one of those events you were glad to see in person and will giggle about for months to come.


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