Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tips for Teens

How to spend Valentine's Day...

Well, in my book, it's a "holiday" that shouldn't exist. I worked in a card and candy shop for many years, and V-Day was the only day when we could get away with letting the customer have it. Just stopping in to get a pound of cherry jellybeans? Guess what - we're out. Box of chocolates? Too late - you're screwed. Red roses? Unless you reserved them a week ago, you're outta luck. And these guys (rarely were girls stuck in this bind) couldn't get mad, they knew they'd blown it... and they would hang their heads and skulk away.

What fun we had at that shop!

Anyway, as my friend Matt pointed out to us this past Saturday night, "What could be more romantic that spending an evening with Sparks?"

I wouldn't say it was romantic, but it sure was magical!

I'm not the biggest Sparks fan in the world, but I do own quite a few albums (yep, vinyl) and somehow, quite a lot of their catalog has seeped into my brain over the years. This past summer, the Brothers Mael played each of their 21 records (one a night) in London. I knew people who flew out to see it, and one of those people is pretty well connected here in LA and convinced somebody at UCLA Live to let Sparks do a special show here, in their once and current hometown.

On Valentine's Day, they played their new album, Exotic Creatures from the Deep, in its entirety. When a group of women in lovely dresses came on stage, pushing Trader Joe's shopping carts with microphones affixed to the handles and singing... I knew it was going to be a special evening. After an intermission, they played an oldie, Kimono My House, in it's entirety, in full rock formation (with Redd Kross' Steve MacDonald on bass, even!). Then, the encore... for the next 45 minutes.

Matt tracked down the setlist, and here you go:

Act I - EXOTIC CREATURES OF THE DEEP (the new album)
Good Morning
Strange Animal
I Can't Believe That You Would Fall For All the Crap in This Song
Let the Monkey Drive (including Ron's famous shuffle dance)
I've Never Been High
(She Got Me) Pregnant (featuring six backup dancers dressed like a
pregnant Ron)
Lighten Up, Morrissey
This is the Renaissance
The Director Never Yelled `Cut'


This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us
Amateur Hour
Falling In Love With Myself Again
Here In Heaven
Thank God It's Not Christmas
Hasta Manana Monsieur
Talent Is An Asset
In My Family


Propaganda (from 1974's Propaganda)
At Home At Work At Play (from 1974's Propaganda)
BC (from 1974's Propaganda)
Number One Song in Heaven (from 1979's No. 1 in Heaven)
Mickey Mouse (from 1982's Angst In My Pants)
Dick Around (from 2006's Hello Young Lovers)
When Do I Get To Sing My Way (from 1995's Gratuitous Sax and
Senseless Violins)
Suburban Homeboy (from 2003's Li'l Beethoven)

Truly, a better Valentine's has not been had.