Sunday, June 28, 2009

'Oke Dokey

Last night was the best karaoke adventure so far. I had low hopes at the start of the evening, when we saw the Tigers get slaughtered by the Astros, 8 – 1. I even thought, “I just want to do a song or two and go home”. Ha! I sang five solos, two duets and did a bit of backup for Danny, as well. It was the most fun I’ve had in quite some time. This comes after a couple of really un-fun weeks, which makes it all the better.

Again, the greatest thing about this place down the road is the crowd. The hipsters weren’t there, just a handful of really friendly people who love to sing. There’s the KJ, who I’ll call Ned. Ned looks like a young Jim Leyland, has a smoky voice, and a penchant for the same songwriter-y classic rock that I love (we did a duet of “Black Water”). “Rick” also loves that stuff, and did a pretty good version of “Do It Again”. Anyone gets that Steely Dan party started is cool with me.

There are a couple of really talented ladies. One is (I think) the wife or girlfriend of the pub owner. I’ll call her Karen. She has one of those honey voices that gently glides over all the notes. Karen usually does a lot of country, but she busted out some old timey jams, like that song that goes “Hold me, hold me, never let me go until you've told me, told me…” I envy her for being able to sing those pretty songs, but I also love just listening to her. Then there’s Shavonne, who is the best singer on any night. She specializes in R&B ballads, the kind that I attempt only in my fantasies. Of course, she did a Michael Jackson song (it was more or less expected of her), and she made an unusual but very lovely choice with “She’s out of My Life”. Danny and I made a special request that she sing “You Got it All” by The Jets, which she’s going to work on later. I figure if I can’t do my favorite songs well, I’ll just get my vicarious thrills by way of Shavonne.

Dan is definitely the best guy singer. It isn’t just his voice; he really goes for it. He’ll do a falsetto. Everyone loves when he gets on stage because you know that whatever he sings, he’ll go balls out. The highlight for me was “Two Faces Have I,” for which I sang back-up. That’s one of our special songs that we sing together at home. It’s one that most people don’t think about unless they hear it on the oldies radio station, but I think it's genius (definitely one of the most vocally complicated pop songs). When the title came up on the monitor, no one recognized it, but they knew it when Dan started singing. And the crowd was completely floored. Honestly, I felt so proud being on stage with him!

We also did “Tramp” together. I got a good laugh from the crowd when I said “straight from the Ypsi woods”. But the funniest moment of the evening happened when Dan was singing “Kiss”. By that point, a crowd of young, already-drunk people had come to the bar. A few dudes standing behind me were snickering and one of them scoffed, “Ha ha, he actually sounds like Prince,” which I think was code for, “Ha ha, what a fag”. Then, a trio of tipsy girls to my left all gasped and one of them whispered, in awe “Oh my god, he actually sounds like Prince”. Then the guys shut up and started cheering for Dan, along with everyone else.

My own rock star moments are never quite as grand. I’ve quickly learned the limits of my range. It leaves me with a lot of guy songs, and that’s fine. I may not have the prettiest voice, but I’m good at timing and I have a knack for picking crowd-pleasers. My recent discovery is that Paul Simon’s songs are perfect for me because I know them well, and he isn’t a very skilled vocalist (that’s why he kept Garfunkel around for so long). So, I started the night with “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and ended with “You Can Call Me Al”. But I think my personal best was “My Best Friend’s Girl”. I can totally do the Ric Ocasek voice, which is like crooning downward. Lots of fun, especially when Ned did the air guitar solo.

Obviously, I’m completely addicted. I have that fuzzy, glowing, next day feeling you get after you go to a really great party, but this is the kind of party you can find just about any day of the week! I always thought that dancing all night to really great music was the ultimate way to rock out, but this is the new plateau of rocking. And I get to pick the music.

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