It's all about bouncing back

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Joel Hodgson: still the sexiest man alive?

So what's the verdict? Can Mystery Science Theater 3000 work effectively before a live audience sans robots? Whaddaya think, sirs?

I was lucky enough to attend the sold out Cinematic Titanic show at the John Anson Ford amphitheater this past weekend and, for me, it exceeded expectations. Of course, a great setting always helps and the Ford is one of my favorite venues on the planet -- intimate, charming, fine wine list. Cool evening breezes blowing through the tall trees and reflections of the Hollywood Bowl fireworks on the stage. I really can't think of any place where I would rather see a show. The last concert I saw here was in September 2002 when we saw Minus 5 open for Wilco, which was amazing. The Ford is so tiny that I felt as though I was attending a backyard bbq at Jeff Tweedy's house and Peter Buck was going to tap the keg. . . but I digress. My point is simply that the stage itself added to the sweet and simple joys of the evening.

Joel and crew delivered a playful and energetic commentary to the alarmingly annoying "Doomsday Machine". Granted, "Doomsday" was rather easy pickins' for such an adept and accomplished crew -- but that didn't matter because picking the correct film for abuse is actually part of the challenge - much like picking the correct set of symphonies to highlight an orchestra's key talents.

And this is truly a talented crew, obviously coming back to their true calling. They worked from a prepared script propped on music stands which kept the narrative crisp and quick so the performers stayed well ahead of the many more obvious jokes that the movie brings immediately to mind. After all, that was always the triple charm: bad movie + joke I hear in my head + joke I didn't seem coming = spewing giggles. Of course I won't deny the warm feelings of nostalgia and the happy memories of Saturday mornings past; but this really didn't feel like watching an early 90s grunge band touring with just their old material. It truly felt fresh and full of glee. I considered the passing reference to "Manos: The Hands of Fate" to be a personal gift to me, wrapped up with a sparkling pink bow and sprinkled with sugar on top.

I hope that they continue to perform live from time to time. They obviously really enjoyed drinking in the laughter of a live crowd and yet it never seemed to throw their timing. Even the Bowl fireworks didn't cause them to skip a beat.

Tom Servo, RIP.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joel is still the sexiest man alive! Sexy, I say!