The New Standards Christmas Show, Fitzgerald Theater

This was our second Christmas show featuring The New Standards (we missed out on the first year), and it might have provided the jump start I needed to get into the Christmas music mood. I didn’t start listening to Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving, but it felt forced. I wasn’t enjoying it, and I was going through the motions. This show reminded me that the holiday season could be fun, and it was about being around your friends and family and enjoying yourself.

(Yes, I’m aware that’s pretty obvious, but all I can think about lately is that I have a ton of shopping to do, not a lot of money to do it with, and no desire to battle the crowds in case there’s another trampling incident, or at the very least, an outbreak of cranky in my vicinity. Sure, I could have been better about saving money and not going to as many shows or restaurants or Vegas, but I also need to maintain my sanity. Okay, now that all my personal issues are out in the open, let’s move on, shall we?)

Last year’s “wow” moment was when Haley Bonar performed her rendition of “River.” Everyone in the theater had goosebumps. One of this year’s occurred when The Brothers Frantzich performed an acoustic cover of “Love Is the Law,” backed by The New Standards (and original composer Chan Poling). It was an unexpected take on the song, and the vocals were powerful. 

(Okay, another digression. I just went to the site for The Brothers Frantzich, and they founded an organization called Feed Them with Music, which helps feed starving people. 10% of the bar tab went to the charity, and it gave us an excuse to buy two extra vodka/sodas. However, I did not realize that they also founded something called Wild Christ, which immediately sent my brain into a parody of Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys.” Lest you think I’m going to hell, I get comeuppance at the end of this post. Just wait.)

The Brothers Frantzich also did a really cool (and even more unexpected) performance with Robert Bly, who read poems while one guy played acoustic guitar (I think it was an open D chord) and the other played bongos. Because Robert Bly’s work has such rhythm, it worked well. He has such a cadence to his voice, and he has this amazing stage presence that exudes coolness and authority and wisdom. I felt really honored to be in his presence. 

Lucy Michelle, whom I’d never heard, did a rendition of “Santa Baby,” which is one of my least favorite Christmas songs (thanks, Madonna!), but she pulled it off with her charisma and unique voice. I think it helped that she wasn’t trying to be too cutesy with it, and she had this retro vibe that worked. She also sang “Last Christmas,” which is one of my favorite Christmas songs. The entire band, horns section, choir, and all joined in, making it a rollicking good time. At some point, I heard laughter, and saw a guy making his way towards the stage with a beer in his hand, dancing all the way. He returned to his seat at the end of the song, though.

In addition to the Christmas music, The New Standards performed several songs off their new CD (which was available in the lobby, and we promptly purchased the CD as we entered the theater). My favorite track so far is their cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” 

During their cover of “Watching the Detectives,” some dumbass yelled out “Free Bird.” John Munson responded by saying “This is my ‘Free Bird.'” He also said that during “Toxic.” 

I’m going to write to my senators (whenever that race happens to be decided) and request the following:

  • It should be legal to smack someone who yells “Free Bird” in concert. 
  • It should also be legal to smack someone who yells “Toolmaster” at any event featuring Trip Shakespeare alumni. 

(Really, people. It’s not funny. It’s tired and unoriginal and obnoxious and lame and dumb. Also, it’s most definitely not gay. If it were gay, I’d actually enjoy being around it and I’d want to take it shoe shopping. I think we should start a campaign to make “gay” synonymous with “awesome.” Like, The New Standards show was really gay. Wow, I sure do like the tangents this evening.)

Other highlights: Jeremy Messersmith had a nice performance of “Miracle” and was backed by Chan Poling’s daughter, whose voice blended really well with Jeremy’s. Matt Wilson also delivered an epic version of “MacArthur Park.”

Okay, so at the end of the show, we gave everyone the traditional standing ovation after the last song. And by “we,” I mean everyone except me for the first few seconds, because somehow I forgot to use my feet. I don’t know if I got up too quickly, or if my boots were not giving me the proper support in my heels, or if I absorbed those two vodka/sodas too fast, or if it was the first day with the new legs, or what. All I know is, I tried to stand and then I heard gravity calling to me, loudly. I grabbed my husband’s left arm and slowly righted myself, dusted myself off, and clapped and cheered loudly for the performers. This would have been all well and fine and unnoticed, except that we were IN THE FRONT ROW. World, behold my clumsiness– this is what it’s like to be me, every day! 

As an encore, they performed “Angels We Have Heard on High” with the entire band (cellos, horns, choir of all the previous performers). And I remembered how to properly stand for the second ovation. Hooray!

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