Tuesday, February 21, 2012

William Shatner at the Music Box

From the Playbill:
"A one-man show by definition is one man. I know we are all alone in life, and as much as we try to reach out to other people, fall in love, have children and keep social contacts alive, still we are alone and we die alone. Our life is pretty much a one-man show. And yet...we mask it with our flurries of activities and meetings, and texting and jokes and gossip and Pilates, all of it to hide our essential aloneness."

Well said, Shat, and what an ambitious undertaking. Say what you will about William Shatner, and feel free to laugh at his efforts because he is laughing right along with you. And bringing home lots of money. As he pointed out, somewhere in New Orleans, someone is living in a house that his kidney stone bought! It was an interesting night with Shatner talking for an hour and forty minutes. He covered a lot of ground, talked about his life, not just his career. Parts of it were slow. Parts of it were cringe worthy. Parts of it were outstanding. What I took away from it, and him, is that you have to embrace what you are.

Throughout the night, he spoke a lot about death: the death of his wife, his father, his great black stallion, Good Day. I was touched at how honest he was when he spoke about one of the first horses he owned and how he destroyed its life and felt guilty for that. I laughed when he spoke about buying the inexpensive pine box for his father's funeral because it's what his father would have wanted. This man does not take himself that seriously and he knows how to use what he has. Multiple times during the night, he thought aloud, "I can work with that."

I, of course, am partial to music. More so than his Star Trek days, I adore William Shatner for his spoken word albums. He spent the last twenty minutes of the night talking about his musical career. Although Ben Folds did not appear on stage, I knew it wasn't going to happen, but a girl can dream, his presence was felt and recognized, humbly, by Shatner. When I told co-workers I was going to see Shatner on Broadway and I told them how much I enjoyed Has Been, the 2004 collaboration between Shatner and Folds, most of them admitted they had never heard it. It is a serious album, with Shatner writing the lyrics and Folds writing the music. But let's really delve into the history behind it.

It's a follow up to the 1998 Ben Folds solo album Fear of Pop, where Ben asked Shatner to perform the song In Love, and the reprise Still In Love. Here's the world tour performance on Conan, not only showcasing Folds and Shatner, but the amazingly talented John Mark Painter, the dude rocking the V guitar, and his wacky wife Fleming McWilliams, who has one of the most beautiful voices on the planet:

This pretty much kicked off everything for Shatner, musically. He was everywhere performing spoken word covers. I thought it was great that Shatner gave props to Folds during his one-man show. He played clips of songs and even danced with his rolling chair during Familiar Love. (That alone was worth the price of admission!) The night ended with Shatner performing Real, the closing track off of Has Been, and is over in the music player off to the right. The chorus is as follows: And while there's a part of me/In that guy you've seen/Up there on that screen/I am so much more/And I wish I knew the things you think I do/I would change this world for sure/But I eat and sleep and breathe and bleed and feel/Sorry to disappoint you/But I'm real.

While he performed this song, pictures flashed on the screen behind him. From his early Shakespeare days, to Star Trek, with his dogs, with his horses and one of the last images was this:

An evening in Shatner's World was unlike anything I'll ever see again, therefor, well worth it. I never thought I'd experience that!

Unfortunately, one sibling was under the weather and didn't make it. Here is a photo of Nick and myself with my new, super short hair.

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