Oh What a Night!
Sunday marked the 63rd year since my teenaged mother was forced by her right-wing fascist parents to carry her unwanted pregnancy to term. What better way to forget my shame for being born than to enjoy a night of good food and good music with some good company?
So after a nice vegetarian dinner at Applebee’s, Tandelayo Schwartz and I went over to the Stillakoomish Riverboat Bingo Palace for the much-anticipated Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons concert. It was only six o’clock when we arrived at the venue, but the place was already SRO with geriatric, blue-haired groupies trying to relive their glory days. From wall to wall, the dance floor was a polychromatic sea of open-seated sweat pants, polyester leisure suits, and faded poodle skirts hiked up to reveal pasty white thighs covered with roadmaps of varicose veins.
“Woo Nellie!” I bubbled, rubbing my hands together with anticipation. “We’re in for one wild show! Ol’ Frankie V. never disappoints!”
“Aren’t these guys a little old?” Tandelayo asked. “I mean, my gramma listens to their music.”
“Music?" I replied with a snort of derision. “Who cares about the music? It’s all about the message, baby! If you want candy-ass, bubblegum pop tunes, go to a Neil Young show. People come to see Frankie V. for his biting political commentary and knock-your-socks off stage act!”
“I think I just got felt up by Larry Linville,” she said dryly.
I brushed aside her negativity and lead her to our seats. “Just relax. Sit down. Ignore the old people smell and fasten your seatbelt, Dorothy, because you aren’t in Kansas anymore and this ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile!”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
But before I could explain, The Jersey Boy himself took the stage to a standing ovation. A ray of pink light glanced off his sequined tuxedo and shot straight into my eyes, and for a moment I existed on several planes of both space and time simultaneously. Frankie’s trademark falsetto rang out the familiar words from Dawn, a Sting-esque ballad railing against Bush’s reckless environmental policies that snapped me out of my euphoric trance. Next came Rag Doll, a touching tribute to all the innocent children murdered in Bush’s illegal and immoral war for oil, followed by Sherry, an obvious jab at Bush’s drinking problem. They finished the set with an up-tempo version of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You that brought that house down.
I glanced over to catch Tandelayo suppressing a yawn.
“Don’t you GET it?” I snapped at her. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You? He’s talking about Bush’s domestic spying program!”
She shrugged. “Can we go now?”
Not a chance, toots. I stood in line for nine hours buy these tickets before realizing I was actually at a Marlo Thomas book signing. Nobody, not even an androgynous, hatchet-faced wannabeatnik with a goofy beret and lensless glasses was going to ruin my special day. But before I could tell her to go catch herself a cab, a hush swept across the crowd as Frankie called for the stage lights to be dimmed.
“I’d like to dedicate the next one to the peeResident SElect and Commander in Thief,” he announced, his dentures punctuating each word with a profound clack, like a judge's gavel pronouncing Bush guilty as charged for all his crimes against humanity.
Suddenly, the stage erupted in an explosion of smoke, and a giant image of Bush’s face with a little Hitler mustache materialized overhead, seemingly floating above the astonished crowd as the familiar opening chords of Walk Like a Man blasted out the speakers.
Tandelayo sprang from her seat with excitement. “OmiGoddess! It’s so true! Bush IS Hitler! Why didn’t I think of that?”
The crowd erupted with wild applause as Frankie donned a rubber Bush mask and performed simulated oral sex on a crucifix while riding a donkey draped with the American flag. Behind him, a procession of shaved monkeys wearing Pope hats threw feces-smeared Bibles and used prophylactics at the audience while all four of the Seasons ignited their farts to the tune of the National Anthem.
And after all these years, it was good to see that age hasn’t dulled Frankie’s edge one iota. Way past their music prime, many artists feel the need to perform increasingly obscene acts on stage in order to maintain their fan base. Others slam the peeResident just to sell records. Not ol' Frankie V. he's still the same rock n' roll rebel he was late December back in '63. In these American Dark Ages of fascist oppression and squashed dissent, Valli is a modern day Paul Revere, riding roughshod through the streets of conformity, unafraid to yank our collective doodle dandy to make his point.
After the concert, Tandelayo and I stood in the parking lot, soaking in the afterglow.“Oh Jeffy, you were so right!” she breathlessly confessed. “Everything he said is exactly what I as a progressive have known deep down for years, but have never had the musical talent nor the flatulence to properly express! I haven’t seen anything so politically relevant since Bob Goulet sodomized Bush in effigy at the Evergreen State Fair. Frankie Valli is a God amongst mere mortals!