Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's fun to mock the rock: Stonehenge!

As the kickoff to 89.3 The Current's 11th birthday, the radio station hosted a screening of the movie "This Is Spinal Tap" the classic music mockumentary from 1984, at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. Little Man got to open with a half hour set. What a blast!!

I figured to live it up, play the part and have fun with the opportunity. We played our own songs, deciding not to cover any Spinal Tap but played it up in a Spinal Tap kind of way. From my previous posts you know that I'm into glam rock and the fashion of the genre. I wore red satin pants with furry boot covers and had a leopard print long sleeve shirt. I decided to cut off the sleeves to make it a tank like Nigel wore in the movie but botched one side accidentally. So now I didn't have a shirt but saw these cut sleeves on the floor, so I put them on backwards on my arms and they became glamorous glam rock wings! I loved it. I made a necktie scarf out of the rest of the shirt's remains. In addition, my wife helped me with some great make-up. And oh yes, I did have an armadillo in my trousers.

Two days before the show my wife and I brainstormed how we could do something special for the show. We thought it would be hilarious if we lowered a mini Stonehenge onto the stage just like in the movie. Watch the scene HERE. We didn't have much time though!! Brigid said she could make one and thought she could get it done. I really didn't think it was possible in the amount of time we had. The night before the show she got stared while I was at rehearsal with the band. She kept sending me updates but I kept it secret from everyone including the band.

It was looking great. I contacted the theater to see if it was possible to do what we wanted as far as rigging goes and they confirmed they could. (Yes!) The day of the show Brigid was completely determined to finish the monument by the time we had to leave for load in at the theater. She cut, sanded, painted, glued and glittered what would become the greatest stage prop ever! It was to specs too, 18"! She attached it to a base to make the rigging easier, plus we didn't want it to fall apart while it was hanging there. The paint and glue weren't even dry yet. Although if it did fall apart it would have been a classic Spinal Tap moment regardless.

You should have seen the look on Brian Herbs face when he saw the mini monument in the van when I arrived at the rehearsal space. Completely bowled over. Sean too laughed in disbelief. "We're going to lower this down on our last song!" I said and we had a good laugh. It got us really excited.

Sound check photo by Sean Gilchrist
The Fitzgerald Theater is a really beautiful, old opera style venue. Last time I was there was when I worked with Ike Reilly in 2001. Everyone was surprised when we showed up with our prop. Alan, one of the theater tech's, rigged and hung it way up in the rafters. I made sure to tell everyone not to post to social media about it yet. Sound check went very well although it's a little different playing in a theater like that but very fun. Also, it's a little bit of a maze backstage just like the Spinal Tap scene. They provided delicious food from Cossetta's in the green room area. I was a little worried we'd be provided with coldcuts and miniature bread ;). 

Mid descent! Photo by Allison Wagner
Brian Herb, Sean Gilchrist and myself. Photo by A.Wagner
Brian Oak, who just recently became a Current DJ, MC'd the evening. They had pre-show Rock Band video game set up for the audience on the movie screen. Brian introduced us and out we went! Really fun to play that stage. The audience was great. I could see many of them out of their seats dancing. The set was a good rock'n  8 songs long. The last song was Sun from our last Original Face album. A perfect closer to accompany our descending Stonehenge. And then it descended on the opening chords of Sun, slowly lowered from the rafters and the crowd went bonkers. YEAHHHHH!! The lowering of the Stonehenge piece turned our show up to 11. It gave us that extra push, you know?! Brigid gets the MVP for sure.

After a standing ovation (Thank you!!) we we headed off stage, with some big laughs. My band mates are awesome. It means a lot to share these experiences with them. Not easy to play such a short set sometimes though. It felt like we were just getting warmed up and wanted to play another. After the monument was unharnessed we got it out to the theater lobby during intermission and people gathered to take pictures with it.

Then "This Is Spinal Tap" started. I hadn't seen it in it's entirety in years. Just hilarious. See it if you haven't! So, so fun to be a part of this. Now what to do with our little Stonehenge??

This drawing by Eric Tretbar was given to me on the Zodiac scene!

Special thanks to Gretchen Webber for the video. If you have pictures or video from that night, please feel free to share them here with us!