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Spinal Tap @ The Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, June 1, 2001

I was a dazed and confused out-of-stater and thus got to The Greek an hour or so early. The extra time was put to good use with some preparatory drinking. By the time opening act The Folksmen appeared (30 minutes late), a mellow, slightly delirious chemical state had been established in some of my brain cells. I was ready — with a phenomenal seat in the orchestra pit and a poncho in case of rain or excessive spittle spray. Marty DiBergi was in the audience, but I don't think he was allowed access to Spinal Tap. He had a young boy with him, I presume as a bodyguard. There were other celebrity types in the "poorer" seats behind the orchestra pit as well, such as Tim Curry, Tap groupies Jamie Lee Curtis and Annette O'Toole, Beck (not Jeff), and others.
At first staying in my seat, I used tiny binoculars to determine that The Folksmen (and later, Spinal Tap) were properly groomed for the occasion (no protruding nose hairs, but no protruding appendages either). The Folksmen — such polite and simple gentlemen — were in their own sort of delirium, believing that they were in Athens. Their abbreviated set remains forever symbolized in my mind by the pathetic sight of little Mark Shubb hurriedly dragging his upright bass off the stage behind Jerry and Alan.
A 30-minute intermission allowed the crowd to use the fluid-recycling facilities. Although this Spinal Tap tour was prominently sponsored by Endure adult diapers, no free samples were available, so if desired or needed, the audience had to provide their own. I suspect Tap must have used them — although I couldn't tell — because they played energetically, but without squirming, for 90 minutes straight. Great sound and delivery.
Guest musicians joined Spinal Tap for several of the favorites (see reviews elsewhere for the set list), including guitarists Dweezil Zappa and Ry Cooder, fiddler Richard Greene, tuba-man Freebo, actor/bassist Stephen Collins and backup singer "special friend Cyndi" (rumored really to be songstress/pianist Judith Owen, married to some guy named Harry Shearer and trained specially for this occasion at the Nigel Tufnel School of Gum-Chewing).
I was fortunate to spend most of the time at the hip-high stage edge in front of Derek, who looked smashing in black-and-red leather pants and vest. Several pairs of "Bridget Jones type" tummy-control briefs were tossed back into the audience, but since I didn't see them originally presented from the fans, I can't tell you for certain that Spinal Tap did not bring them in themselves.
At one point, we at the stage edge tried to help Derek "project" a bit more with a foil-wrapped device but were unsuccessful in an attempted rear delivery. He was kind enough, though, to give it a kiss and hand it to back me, although it died two days later from being beaten so hard on the stage throughout the show. I've saved the foil. I think it also could have been useful stuffed into the end of Nigel's didgeridoo during "Clam Caravan" or tossed into the tuba during "Big Bottom." Another highlight was that I got kissed by a dwarf during "Christmas with the Devil" but was still the same height the next morning. —Cosmic Shambles, b.s.v. (bitch school valedictorian)


Spinal Tap @ The Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, June 1, 2001

Hello from a long-time Tap fan. Just saw the show at the Greek the other night. It was too cool. Tim Curry was sitting behind me (who knew he was a Taphead — he even purchased a T-shirt during the break after the Folksmen were on) and either Rob Reiner or Marty DiBergi (they look so much alike they could be brothers) was down the aisle from me. Some of us were having fun with a couple that had never seen the Folksmen! We couldn't believe they never had seen or heard of them. Well, after the Folksmen set, that couple was glad they got there early to see them. One lady towards the front of the stage had a vest on that said "Bitch School Valedictorian" and a zucchini wrapped in foil she waved at Derek. When he saw it, he said "I see you've found my zucchini." I'll be seeing them again at the Sun Theatre show on July 14.
A few weeks ago a combination Stonehenge/rock fountain was unveiled in Azusa, California. I wish I had time to inform Tap — what better way to kick off the Back from the Dead tour than at the unveiling of a new fountain next to a Sav-On in a small town. Anyway, it is at the corner of Foothill (Route 66) and Azusa (Highway 39). The only reason I know is that I happen to live in Azusa. I'm thinking of going down there with my ST figures and posing them around the Stonehenge, taking a picture, and sending to some people.
You can kind of see the end of the Stonehenge if you go to the official City of Azusa site, click on "Downtown Splash" and look at 3rd photo down, far left — you can barely see the edge. —Brenda Brubaker


Spinal Tap @ The Beacon Theatre
New York City, July 16, 2001

I journeyed to the Big Apple in search of a worm and found it at the Beacon Theatre — the ultimate marriage of incontinence and incompetence — Endure adult diapers sponsoring Spinal Tap's Back from the Dead tour, opening with a bewildered folk trio (think triage) called The Folksmen (who else but these guys could be inspired to combine an acoustic interpretation of Mick Jagger's "Start Me Up" with a "Kumbaya" finish?).
Now a new generation has had opportunity to experience a Tap Attack and Tap Addiction and to attain the surreal inner state of Tap-attunement — the choice of no one's choice. Gone are the heyday Peter Pan entrances, the fireworks, the pods, and the costume changes (not even a change of diaper on the miniature Stonehenge monument). The band's dwarf fascination continues, although New York rental costs must be prohibitive because dwarves only appeared once ("Stonehenge"). A new clean-cut drummer — Skippy Skuffleton — thus far has survived the summer. It was not disclosed whether or not he was named for the peanut butter.
Tap rules. Tap probably also drools. The boys are all ancient now, but — commendably — they can keep it up onstage for an hour and a half. Despite their personal arrested developments and their raunchy attitudes and silly philosophies, Spinal Tap exudes an underlying benign innocence and sweetness, much like a sour burp after a cookie binge. Tap, you make me want to be a better fan.
Bassman Derek Smalls is still short and furry, and he's apparently had a few hair plugs added to his thinning crown. Damn, he looks good in studs and leather, and he can still project despite ... well, you know ... his shortcomings. Lead vocalist and guitarist David St. Hubbins remains disconcertingly god-like blond, blue-eyed, full-voiced, and dressed to kill (he killed a lot of guitar strings, too). Nigel Tufnel, pretty in pink at this show, still shreds on lead guitar and a new conquest — the didgeridoo — through which he created what can only be described as a cacophony of alien mating calls in "Calm/Clam Caravan."
Tap put out a plea for panties half way through the concert, so I tossed out a gargantuan pair, which coincidentally appeared to match David's satin shirt. Nigel hung them for a time from his own back pocket ( they reached half way down his thigh) before draping them over the mandolin head where they resided thereafter. Sadly, it was to be the only panties Tap would receive on this particular evening (although I don't know what happened much later after the show).
The mikes were set up too far back on the rounded-edge stage, so Tap could only patrol the front perimeter when they weren't singing. A looming Nigel Tufnel at stage edge is an experience not to be missed! The set list included the usual redundant favorite arrangements, as well as a horny twist to a grooving funk arrangement of "Sex Farm" and a jazz oddity introduction to "Heavy Duty." John McEnroe joined on guitar (really) for a shortened (3 minutes and 42 seconds), sweet'n'low version of "Short and Sweet" (so that's who taught Nigel how to "flip it" back in 1982). The "Hell Hole" and "Bitch School" twins were separated enough in the program to avoid confusion for the listener, and thank goodness Tap came back to reality and incorporated a greater variety of bottom styles for the "Big Bottom" encore dancing extravaganza. —Bi-coastal Cosmic Shambles, b.s.v. (bitch school valedictorian - and all honors classes!)


More Reviews:

  • Joe D'Angelo of MTV on Carnegie Hall
  • Jambands.com on Carnegie Hall
  • Neva Chonin of the San Francisco Chronicle on San Francisco
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