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Barenaked Ladies
A Concert Review

August 24, 2001

The Tweeter Center

Tinley Park, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
It was one of those evening’s that looked like rain as I made my way to The Tweeter Center to catch the Barenaked Ladies after it had been years since I’ve seen them. A little warm, very humid, and lots of clouds – it wasn’t looking promising. As I was waiting around the gates outside, it really wasn’t the weather that was surprising me – it was the level of security for those entering the venue. Now I know the Barenaked Ladies usually attracts it’s share of troublemakers, especially those crazed people with Kraft dinners, but was it really necessary for all of the dudes to empty their pockets, dudes and dudettes to get full pat down searches, and for people to return their little flashlights on their keychains (not laser pointers, those nice, little flashlights) to their cars? I can understand the umbrella ban, especially as the security dude had to diligently explain to one dude how, one – an open umbrella blocks the view of those behind him, and two – if the dude opened his umbrella and poked some lady in the eye that, well, it was the venue that would also get sued, but at least there was one consolation after making it into the venue – free condoms being handed out by the Trojan folks.

As I continued to wait I pondered the olden days when Barenaked Ladies played a smaller venue like The Riviera in Chicago. There was the first time I had seen them when I didn’t know one song and was mystified, before the show, at how they could pack the venue without one solid radio hit, but realizing, after the show, that these boys were quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. Their fan base at that time consisted mostly of pert, college girls and dudes in golf shirts, totally dedicated to the band. I saw a few other shows after that, but really lost touch with the band and their music, except their radio hits, after the "Rock Spectacle" album. I wondered if they still had the same energy on stage. I wondered if they still told stories. I wondered if they still did their rap numbers. And I wondered if they were still the great performers I remembered from a few years back. All of my wonderings would soon be answered as, following a nice rainstorm which turned the lawn people into one, giant, wet t-shirt contest, well, it was time for the show.

Technically opening with Kevin Hearn’s piano solo, the rest of the boys of Barenaked Ladies made their way to their respective stage locations for "Never Do Anything." What followed is exactly what I wanted - a great mix of the radio hits, some classic Barenaked Ladies that only the harder-core fans would know, lots of joking around, improvising, and rap.

For example, you could be pretty confident in getting songs like "Pinch Me," "Get In Line," "The Old Apartment," and "Brian Wilson," all of which you got and all of which turned into sing-a-longs. But for me, especially being lax on ever getting copies of "Stunt" and "Maroon," I was looking forward to some of the older stuff, and I got that in the likes of an "Alternative Girlfriend," "Break Your Heart," "Shoe Box" and a great version of "Wrap Your Arms Around Me."

Of course now I can hear you grumbling, wondering how I can review a show without knowing the songs, especially songs from a band’s latest album, but for me, as was the case with seeing Barenaked Ladies before, I truly enjoy songs I haven’t heard that make me say to myself "Self, wow – that was a great song – you really need to find out exactly what it was and get the CD." Such was the case as I listened to "Alcohol" and "Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel." The radio hits don’t always show the great songwriting of a band, as I found out with Barenaked Ladies before, and this show just reminded me to keep up to date with a band I really liked before.

Alright, enough explanation of why you shouldn’t hate me.

As much as spotlighting their music, seeing Barenaked Ladies is as much about the antics of the band, their stories, their entertainment value, and crowd watching. This night the band was in great form, as was the crowd. We got to see that Steven Page is afraid of moths, about putting foil in a microwave, and a quick rendition of "Too Sexy for My Hat" as Steve donned a cap flashing the word "Sexy." They made fun of how muggy it was this night, Tyler proclaimed "I Love the Drums!", there was a great bass solo by Jim Creegan, a nice discussion on Ed Robertson’s fashion sense (or lack there-of), maybe the world’s largest "Chicken Dance" and a great rap set including songs like "Lady Marmalade," "You Got What I Need," "Get Your Freak On," and what would a rap set be without "Bootylicious." There was a great crowd member winning the "hair and beard combo", people did sneak in some Kraft dinner and appropriately tossed it during "If I Had $1,000,000", and watching the crowd made me remember the song "Dancin’ Like White Guys" from a band called The Nerds because, well, rhythm wasn’t greatly present in the audience, this reviewer included.

The Barenaked Ladies have always been about squeezing the most value out of your entertainment dollar, and even though part of me wishes they had more of a cult following so they’d be still playing in venues like The Riviera, well, it’s great to see that size really doesn’t matter to a band like the Barenaked Ladies because they can make any size crowd have a good time. It’s TWO "ED’S SHIRT WASN’T THAT BAD" THUMBS UP for Barenaked Ladies.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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