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Barenaked for the Very First Time

You might say I've been around the Barenaked block. I've seen so many Barenaked shows, youcould call me an exhibitionist. I just celebrated my sixth year of Nakedness with a fullblown weekend with the boys in not one, not two, but three Texas cities, Dallas, Austin,and Houston. I'm not new to this scene, but lots are, what with the incredible success of"One Week" and the Stunt CD. I spy the newbies at the shows, and likethe mature, older, experienced woman that I am, I try to make them feel comfortable and atease. I impress them with my knowledge. I know all the band members' birthdays. I knowwhere the name came from. I talk about the time they ran naked in Austin. I know that Enidspelled backwards is "dine". I tell them I have seen BNL 43 times in 23 citiesin 14 different states. They are frightened. I try to prepare the naive and unsuspectingfor what is about to happen, but nothing can prepare you for the most satisfyingexperience of your life. You just have to trust your instincts and experience it foryourself.

Here in my home of Houston, I had invited many of my friends to do just that. Sure, theyhad heard all my lurid tales, the spontaneous chatter, the clever lyrics, the amazingtalent...but they had lived vicariously long enough. It was time that they tasted theBarenaked world for themselves. I get a little verclempt as I remember my first time. Theuncertainty, the hot anticipation, and then the pure joy and utter disbelief that I ambeing so thoroughly entertained. And then, moments after the show, wondering how soonbefore I could get it, that unbelievable high, again.

Sure, I've written tons of reviews of BNL shows. I wonder, am I still able, after all thistime, can I still capture the moment? Or has it become routine, a habit? Can I relate tothe world what it truly feels like to be Barenaked for the Very First Time. I looked tosome of the BNL virgins, spoiled for any other band after the Houston show, for theirthoughts, their comments, their innermost feelings on the men that I have loved for solong. I asked several of my friends to give me a brief review of the show. The word thatcame up in just about every case was "spontaneous". Every good relationshipshould have an element of spontaneity and BNL has a unique ability to capture the moment.Like when Ed was "Meeting the Security Guard" and Andre said his favorite showat the Aerial Theater had been Lenny Kravitz. Steve suggested "Are You Gonna Go MyWay", and the next thing, Andre and BNL are jammin' to Lenny. Or in Austin, duringthe last encore, Ed begins an Alanis Morisette style "Thank You" routine and therest of the band tires of it, so they leave the stage. Ed, calmly decides he could do hisown blues show without the band and starts groovin'. Seconds later, Tyler is onstage inhis undies doing a sexy little dance. Or, in Houston, how they cleverly work in storiesabout their trip to NASA and the WCS or World's Coolest Shitter. They have a rare talentof improvisation and make it look so easy, so seamless.

Another word that kept creeping into each persons' reviews was "entertaining".BNL is there for us for the entire two hours they are onstage. It's not about them, itsabout everyone having a good time. They're unselfish with their entertainment. Stevecaptures everyone's attention with his rousing rendition of Memories, but just secondsbefore he is goofing on a rap about getting a hand job. Ed sings about the Great Providerand then he's the beat box for a choreography routine that would make Janet Jackson proud.Joy, sadness, guilt, shame, redemption, laughter, and about 100 other emotions areexplored during a BNL show. It's that simultaneous contradiction of emotions that is soperfectly unique. Guess what? Steve plays the flute on Who Needs Sleep and he looks prettyhot in a green dress...Break Your Heart, apology or kiss off..."These Apples aredelicious, as a matter of fact they are, she said." Jim plays "Itsy BitsySpider" as an intro to "Hava Nagila", as an intro to "OneWeek"...Never is Enough, or is it? "Never" would be a crime if it camebefore "seen BNL live". Songs from Gordon hold up as well as songs from Stunt, and "$1M" is always a crowd pleaser, no matter how many timesthey've done it, no matter how many tons of macaroni have been pelted, it's alwaysdifferent and it's always good.

Finally, the most common comment was "it was the best damn live show I have everseen". The best.... We all aspire to being good, even great, but the best, well, thatmeans there's no one better. Sometimes we tell others that they are the "best",but do we really mean it? When we are talking about BNL, we do. Anything less than theultimate superlative would be skimping on praise. Who else can do what they do? Where elsecan you go and know that for the next two hours, you will be completely satisfied. Nonegative thoughts, no stresses of the day, no whiny coworkers, no checking your watch, nobills to pay, no worrying if he'll call, or if you're gonna get that big promotion, or ifyou're gonna graduate on time, or (Insert Your Own Concern Here).....  Fromthe power of the first chord of "It's All Been Done" to the last gut wrenchinglyric of "What a Good Boy", the Stunt show has you and doesn't let yougo. At a BNL show, you are surrounded by a thousand happy people, and for that time, theyare all your best friends.

So, to summarize, a BNL show is spontaneous, entertaining, unselfish, charming, humorous,and the "best". It's like the perfect man. Once you've had him, if you've hadhim, you're spoiled for anyone else. Sure, you'll go to other concerts, you might evenlike them, but you are always wondering, waiting for the next time it will be themindblowing, all encompassing feeling of full body ecstacy that can only be achieved at aBNL show. BNL is a sure thing, they never disappoint. And every time is as good as thevery first time. Hey, I should know. While I don't endorse smoking in any way, if I didsmoke, I'd need a cigarette right now.

On That Note, I'm outta here......


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Last updated: May 02, 2001