Sunday, December 14, 2008

The McGarrigle Christmas Hour(s)

I suppose it's a mistake to try and force the Christmas spirit, because about half way through this concert Wednesday night I was wishing that I'd just gone home after my office Christmas party and sat down with a book and a cup of tea. Which is such a nice feeling after one has spent money on tickets, no?

I do think, though, that the problem wasn't all me. The ramshackle, disorganized nature of the evening would play better in a venue more modest than Carnegie Hall. It feels like it should be taking place in someone's living room or a community hall, but it's impossible to make Carnegie Hall feel like anything other than a huge concert hall and moments get lost. Particularly when you're up in the cheap seats squinting just to figure out who's who. More problematic was the uneven nature of the material. I mean, was it really necessary to make us all suffer through Rufus Wainwright's (awful) Christmas is For Kids? And the Vincent Dow spoken word piece, which was also on the CD that came out a few years ago, wasn't particularly worthwhile the first time I heard it, much less now. A little editing would probably come in handy.

Still, there was a lot to recommend about the show: Laurie Anderson's spoken word; Martha Wainwright's contributions, particularly the French carol; Jimmy Fallon's imitations of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie; Rufus's mic-free rendition of "O Holy Night"; and so on. So it's a shame that I spent most of it wishing I were somewhere else as the hours dragged on. Lesson learned, I suppose. 

No comments: