March 24th, 2009

krazy koati

So honey don't you fret

Brian McCann's spiel warming up the audience to Late Night included --- in 2009 as in the times I'd visited the show in the 90s --- a few further warnings, like not to take pictures, do obey the APPLAUSE signs, and if you see on the TV monitors that you're in frame, don't look up, because cameras work at the speed of light and what people will see at home is pictures of your throat and you will look silly, which would of course be quite dangerous. And with that it was time to bring out the Max Weinberg 7.

The band is called out to the theme of the Blues Brothers, then as now, with each member running from the stage doors across the set to take his position in turn, with Max Weinberg coming in last. As in the 90s, they start right off playing some exciting jazz piece that if I knew a blasted thing about music I could probably identify. It sometimes would turn up in commercial intros and outros, though. In the 90s, when Conan came out for the warmup, he would also mention the band and give some line about getting closer to the audience --- and then order the band to ``GET THEM!'' at which point they leapt up from the band shell and climbed on the railing to the audience. This would be stopped by Mark ``Love Man'' Pender grabbing a loose piece on top of the railing at which point all would stop, sheepish at the broken set, and Conan would complain about what a cheap set this was, and they'd settle back to their podiums and Conan would go off behind the proscenium to start the show.

They didn't do that this time, and I think even had Conan been out they wouldn't have as there was no obvious part of the railing which could come lose. They did keep up another tradition, though: at one point in the warmup songs Mark Pender, playing trumpet, comes to an extraordinarily long held note. Which he holds, and holds, and holds, as the rest of the band slowly falls away and comes to stop, staring in awe at Pender continuing to play as his head turns bright red and veins throb across his skull in this last moment of warming-up excitement before the show proper begins. I've never known how long Pender's Long Note goes on, but it's always impressive and draws a great applause. The difference this time is that La Bamba --- the one who chants ``In The Year 2000'' for that bit --- was by his side, taking pictures.

Trivia: In March 1925 the Eskimo Pie corporation, valued at $25 million, went public. Source: 1927: High Tide of the 1920s, Gerald Leinwand.

Currently Reading: Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, David S Reynolds. Reynolds takes an expansive view of the Age of Jackson, including in it the ages of Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K Polk, Zachary Taylor, and Walt Whitman.

[ Oh, yes, for the record ... so help me, I laughed at Ziggy today. ]