OBSERVATIONS AND RAMBLINGS FROM A CRANKY OLD GUY -By: Jeff Spaulding
Written by Staff on September 13, 2022
Recently, I accomplished one of my bucket list items, a list far from complete but worth checking off.
Still on that list, staying in broadcasting to age 71, making fifty years in the business, the Good Lord Willing and I don’t lose my job or die…that looks good so far. I also want one more “wild and crazy” top 40 music show like I did in the old days, just to show kids what great radio used to be like. I also want to get back on a theater stage in a performance, one where I have to memorize a script too, so stay away Alzheimer’s.
One item on the list accomplished, more vacation/travel time. My wife just retired, and we’ve never been on a cruise, so we booked a jaunt with our two oldest grandsons and hit the North Atlantic with a short stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I won’t bore you with thoughts on food, service, activities yada yada, but it exceeded our expectations, the focus here is on musical entertainment on ship. Anywhere you looked, there were music performances, for the most part reggae. I get that, you’re under the sun. However, if we cruise to Canada, couldn’t someone do a little Rush? I’d settle for the Guess Who, or Gordon Lightfoot, in desperate times a little Anne Murray or Paul Anka.
Nonetheless, the bands were top notch, even if I didn’t understand a single word they were singing, and here me without my ganja. In other spots on ship, totally amazing big bands, and for the sophisticated crowd, sporadic acoustic guitar performances from guys like “Renaldo,” or “Excalibur, or “Harvey”.
All said, while those performances were quite good, let’s look at a night of music that left much to be desired. I’ll preface by saying the singers, dancers and musicians involved were all talented, the show itself, not so much.
This was a musical revue called “CAN’T STOP THE ROCK!”, billed as (my words not theirs) the greatest hits of the last 50 years. That’s a very long time period to cover in about 45 minutes. I had a feeling this was gonna be Vegas style, at least Branson, but this was like a low rent performance at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham.
Here’s highlights that stand out. Again, those in the show had talent, but the show in concept was the “Ishtar” level.
Three or four Connie Francis songs at the start. I like Connie Francis, but for such a short show one song is enough, that said I giggled when one of the male singers did “Where the Boys Are.”
That leads me to the oddest moment of the night. As there is a lot of rock music in films, you had a lot of rock music in the show. I guess I can buy that. What I can’t buy was a white guy singing, accompanied by three white women, the theme from “Shaft”. Let me repeat that, a white guy singing, accompanied by three white women, the theme from “Shaft”. This is not meant to be a race thing. If the guy singing that night was a bad mother (shut your mouth, I’m talking about “Shaft”, well we can dig it) guy, I might have been able to mention it. He didn’t fail.
The only Elvis selection, a duet he did with Ann Margaret in “Viva Las Vegas.” Couldn’t they do an Elvis song that was an actual hit? I would have marked out if they did, say, “Return to Sender.”
A performance of “Sounds of Silence” like it was done by two of the Three Tenors.
A performance of “When Doves Cry” that started as a cheesy organ inspired ballad. If Prince wasn’t already dead, this would have taken him.
The obligatory performance of “I Will Always Love You,” by a female singer with Whitney-like pipes, I just wish someone would do it Dolly’s way once.
In a salute to ‘all singing all dancing’ and “All That Jazz” with a Bob Fosse interpretation of “Bye Bye Love.”
Finally, what does rock have to do with music from “Charlie’s Angels” or “Men in Black”?
Don’t get me wrong, it was “entertaining,” but not like they intended.
So, if you cruise, and go Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of The Seas, expect this show, but don’t go with a clear head.
Be hearing you