Just in time to welcome American Idol back to the fold (will this finally be the year that Paula sings that duet with her dual personality?), I thought Iâ€™d post a few words here to bring my faithful readers up-to-speed on the Karaoke Assault I waged this past weekend at some random Chinese Restaurant in Auburn, MA. Yup, I rocked the mike all night long (and thereâ€™s pics to prove it). While Andi may be the gifted soloist in our family, I bring something different to the table. NO SHAME. So, what follows is a few fond memories of one wintry night of drunken warbling. Hey, donâ€™t laugh! With this Writerâ€™s Strike stretching deep into early â€™08 itâ€™s only a matter of time before Fox broadcasts Auburn Idol and Iâ€™ll kick that William Hung to the corner for good.
Karaoke is cheesy, goofy, crazy fun. Itâ€™s true. Itâ€™s a fun time. And the best part is like Chinese Food, bad karaoke is sometimes just as good as decent karaoke. You spend several moments listening to some briny 360 lb longshoreman awkwardly crooning I Think Weâ€™re Alone Now (the Tiffany remix) and let me tall yaâ€™, thatâ€™s 7 Minutes in Heaven, right there. For my money, strangled cat renditions of Fernando bests automobile accidents as appointment viewing any day of the week.
So, this past Friday evening, I found myself alongside my better half joining her Momâ€™s Club cronies for a little Dim Sum, a fountain of Mai Taiâ€™s and microphones by the fistful. Momâ€™s Club Cronies? Who am I kidding? Letâ€™s do this proper. She may have met these people through the Momâ€™s Club but by this point, weâ€™re all old friends. Would I sing Funky Town to complete strangers?
Now, in the past, whenever I have found myself staring down the microphone, itâ€™s often been at an establishment where the regulars are deeply entrenched. You know the drill. You pour through the song book for 45 minutes or so before finally settling on the perfect song to open your set list (For those keeping count, itâ€™s Wake Me Up Before I Go Go – for my money thereâ€™s nothing more Butch than Wham). You jot it down on a slip of paper and pass it to the MC who glances down at your selection, nods approvingly, gives you a wink that seems to indicate â€œYour Next, Playah!!!â€ and then slides it to the bottom of a pile about fist-deep. You then sit and wait, your pitcher of Planterâ€™s Punch your only friend, until after several rotations of the clock and one trip around the sun they finally call your name. Pushing your way past the assembled regulars â€“ who just brought the house down with a stirring, soulful rendition of Ninja Turtle Rap â€“ you hit the stage and look out upon the twinkling eyes of your fanbase â€“ all gleaming in anticipation. As the backbeat kicks in, the bass starts pumping, their toes start tapping, you donâ€™t bust a move. You hurl your food. Suddenly those in the front row wish they had brought a poncho to your impromptu Blue Man revue. With your tail between your legs, you exit the stage dodging bottles and flaming teriyaki stakes in swift retreat to your darkened corner of the bar where you spend the rest of the night humming along to Beauty School Dropout.
Thatâ€™s a typical night.
At this place, things were different. We were the regulars even though it was our first appearance in the area. No matter how many songs our large group tossed at the DJ, we were called up time and again. And itâ€™s not for lack of bar patrons (the place, while small, was pretty full). The DJ called us up so much that at one point I even dispensed with my normal trick of trying to slip one by the goalie by changing my name on each request I sent up. As if calling myself Ed, Eduardo and E-Diddy on subsequent submissions was really going to trick the all powerful Oz.
Picking a song was a bit difficult. In the old days Iâ€™d unleash my inner Axyl and Welcome yâ€™all to my Jungle but these days, I get The Backyardigans stuck in my craw. Letâ€™s see, would the crowd want to hear Eureka, Weâ€™re Going to Mars or I Love Being a Princess?
Well, I decided to play it safe at the outset, and my initial play list read as follows:
Ed & StaceyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Paradise by the Dashboard LightÂ
Easy EÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Just a Gigolo
Ned & StaceyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Love Shack
On that last one, Stacey brought back-up and we were joined by Andi and our friend Anne Marie. The E-52s were born. New alias, duly noted.
Speaking of Andi, she brought the house down with a couple of solo efforts including Madonnaâ€™s Crazy for You and Debbie Gibsonâ€™s In Your Eyes. At one point, during the latter tune, one of the people with us said they had chills listening to her sing. Later on, someone remarked that Andi and I were Karaoke Royalty. They got that right. Every Queen needs her Jester.
Our friend Stacey (you remember her â€“ sheâ€™s the Fruity Pirateâ€™s Wench â€“ (Stacey, I kid!!! Josh, I don’t!!!) â€“ anyway, Stacey was apparently cutting an album that night. She was called up so many times theyâ€™ve made her the official House Band. Stacey sang duets with me, Chris, Andi, Michelle as well as several trio performances. At one point, we started tipping her and then later on, with fame firmly in her head, she left Josh for one of her back-up dancers.
Which may explain why every time I asked for requests, Josh fished for Itâ€™s Raining Men. Chris wanted “more cowbell“. Me? I gave â€˜em Just a Gigolo.Â
Iâ€™m just a Gigolo.
And everywhere I go.
People know the song Iâ€™m singing.
And that song Iâ€™m singing is Groove is in the Heart.