Monday, April 06, 2009
EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE I LEARNED FROM THE DAVY JONES DAVID CASSIDY CONCERT
As many of you know I attended a Davy Jones and David Cassidy concert last week. Yes, let me pause here while you swoon at the mere idea of seeing these two former heart-throbs in person. I know, I know, we can't all be so lucky to live close enough to the kind of venue that attracts this kind of top-notch talent so in case you don't live anywhere near an airport Holiday Inn or the State Fairgrounds, I'll sum up the concert for you and it will be as if you were there with me.
If, by the way, you are asking yourself, "Davy who and David what?" then just never mind. But if you came of age in the late sixties and early seventies then you surely had posters of one or both of these boys on your bedroom wall. Maybe you were even a member of their fan clubs? Surely you read about them in Tiger Beat so no introduction/explanation is needed.
So here's how it went. Originally I had snatched up four tickets thinking there would be a bidding war among my friends to see this concert but what really happened was, umm, not so much. I ended up dragging my daughters and my friend Beth to this concert against ( in varying degrees) their will (Grace was horrified, Lilly intrigued, Beth slightly amused).
We milled about in the lobby admiring the crowd of middle-aged women and the handful of non-middle-aged women and men and children they had forced to accompany them. We saw just four other children. Actually, we saw just four other people under the age of 45.
We had decent seats and mercifully there was no warm-up band. Just a brief introduction to give it up for the "world's greatest tambourine player" and out came Davy Jones singing "Then I Saw Her Face" At first the sight of an old man jumping around and singing that song was disconcerting but within just moments you could tell this was Davy. This was really Davy! He walked like him, gestured like him, sang like him, sounded like him, and yes, even did the "Davy dance" in which he holds his hands up like a hitch-hiker and points his thumbs over his shoulders. It was great!
He made lots of self-deprecating jokes about his height ("We just got back from performing in DisneyWorld. I couldn't go on some of the rides.") and his age,("I used to be a heart-throb, now I'm a coronary.") He talked about being a Monkee and how much fun they had going all over the world. He told us he still saw Mickey, Mike, and Peter. He sang a few songs we did not know but that was okay because they were sandwiched in between the old familiar songs we'd all come to hear like "Last Train to Clarksville" and that goofy song he sang to Marcia Brady when he took her to prom. He laughed and said everyone thinks he and Marcia got married and moved to Ohio and have six kids (he did not deny this by the way so you can continue to believe that if it makes you happy.)
Then he finished up with the big guns, "Daydream Believer" and they brought up the houselights and all five hundred of us old broads got up and danced and sang and just for a moment we were all thirteen again and our biggest TV crush of all time was with us. Did I mention it was great? It was.
Then there was an intermission and out came David Cassidy. Now, this man, unlike Davy Jones, was fit and still looked pretty good. As Lilly (10) said, "Is it just because we're sitting so far away or is that old guy still hot?" No, it wasn't just because we were sitting so far away, he was kind of hot. He played his own guitar and played quite well. His first song, "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat" was at first unfamiliar (a new arrangement) but then I could tell that's what it was and a chill went up my spine.
Now here, I have a confession. I had come to this concert for one reason and one reason only and that was to see David Cassidy. It was he who made my prepubescent heart race, not Davy Jones. I mean, I had loved the Monkees too, but I was a bit young for their heydey. No, David Cassidy, he was the one who pointed me in the direction of Albuquerque.
So it was with great disappointment that as the concert went on, I had to acknowledge that my heart-throb had turned into an ass. He made NO reference to the little TV show that launched his career, "The Partridge Family." Nor did he mention if he sees Susan Dey anymore. Come on! What did he think we came to hear? Apparently, he thought we came to hear him play new songs he's learned since the good old days--can you say "Garden Party"?(though he did play an excellent version of Clapton's "Crossroads" but hey that is NOT what we came to see!) When he did play the old songs he played them grudgingly ("I learned this for a friend. I say I learned it because it's been so long since I played it that I forgot it") and then he played "Doesn't Somebody Want to be Wanted", which was one of his biggest hits we all loved and he was dissing it!
The other weird thing was that in no way, shape, or form did this guy remind me of David Cassidy. Not the way he stood, or moved, or sang, or spoke. Nothing. It was as if he had deliberately recreated himself.
When he started telling stories about drinking too much one New Year's Eve with John Lennon I had seen enough. I mean really, you can't mention Danny Bonaduce but you want to tell us you knew one of the Beatles? At that point I'd seen enough of his D-bag behavior and we left the concert before he had a chance to defile my sacred memory of "I Think I Love You."
So there you have it. The one who still looks good and has a respectable amount of talent was totally upstaged by the dumpy guy with the tambourine. What the hell happened here? Well, let's take a look at the lessons we learned from this.
1. You can be old and dumpy but if you are still the essential "you" it will shine through. Like an old friend at a class reunion, Davy Jones is still Davy Jones. Though it was at first alarming to see how much he'd aged, within moments, you could see it was still him and he is still adorable. I'm not sure who that guy was on stage who said he was David Cassidy. There was not one familiar gesture, or movement, and his voice is even different.
2. Don't try to deny your past. Whether you were the clarinet player with braces or a teenaged heart-throb who toured the world it is never becoming to pretend it never happened. Why David Cassidy feels the need to escape his "painful" teen years when he was loved by millions and made a ton of money I do not know but it makes it that much more absurd to watch. He should be like Davy and acknowledge that it was silly, it was fun, and it is who he is.
3. Stop trying so hard. Here was Davy, just shaking his maracas, doing the Davy dance and letting his much younger, extremely talented band shine and shine and shine. There was David, telling us he used to play this song with John Lennon, showing off his Eric Clapton slow hand, and berating his tired old-man rock-and-roll band for not getting the sound right. You tell me who is more fun to watch?
4. Give the people what they want. When people pay upwards of $50 bucks to see an old crush play the old music from their old past then you better play the old music for them. It matters not that you have "evolved" into a much better musician, nor do we care that it was "beneath you" to play the music we fell in love with and fell in love to. We just want to hear the soundtrack of our youth one more time.
And so folks, that is what the concert was like. I was pleasantly surprised to rediscover my past by watching the delightful Davy Jones, painfully disappointed to learn that David Cassidy is still trying to distance himself from his own youth, and glad as always that I got up off the couch on a Saturday night for a change.