Sunday, March 25, 2012


A celebratory hometown gig in Athens, Georgia, for the venerable party band, at 34 years of age.  Sure, they aren't the carefree kids of Planet Claire any more, but they can still party out of bounds.  It's remarkable how well their music has stood the test of time, and how well they continue to make those good vibes.  Always oddball outcasts, it must be gratifying to see how much influence and goodwill still comes from their music.

The packed crowd is almost as much fun as the band on the DVD, with aging original fans mixed in with kids that know the legacy, and many of them decked out in outrageous finery, silly sunglasses and whatever colourful contraband they can muster.  They have no problem embracing the newer songs, and in fact those tunes fit in well with the classics, so much so that Love Shack can be left to the end of the set, and Planet Claire and Rock Lobster saved for encores.  Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson prove much better vocalists and performers than you'd think, given the casual atmosphere that's always surrounded the group.  When they sing together, which is often, their voices blend well, the harmonies are strong, and their smiles light up the room and your heart.

Fred Schneider admittedly speaks more than sings his leads, but that's the style that made the group unique.  He's a goodwill ambassador, letting us all know it's a-okay to laugh as well as sing along, and better still, dance. 

There's history in the air through the whole concert, with old Athens haunts in the lyrics getting big whoops, and the fact the group is going strong worthy of a great party.  52 Girls, with its shout-out to the Athens women who were friends in the old days, takes on new importance in this party, and Deadbeat Club, what they used to call each other before they were a band, must feel extra-special to them so many years later.  The accompanying interview with the group has them going through the history, a great story of fun and friendship that proved even freaks and geeks can become the popular kids.

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