Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Evening With Spinal Tap

Last night, Michael and I went out for a BIG date. We've gone out a couple of times for an hour or two, but last night we were excited to go to Washington DC for dinner and a concert. We were heading to see Unwigged and Unplugged at the Warner Theater as our ultimate destination. After discussion about Metro, parking, food, etc. we decided to really make a night of it and drive into town, park, have a nice meal, enjoy the show, and go home. Because I haven't been to Washington since December, I was in a bit of a state over planning our night on the town once the decision was made. However, I must give the Warner Theater's website its due. That site has it all--directions, nearby restaurants, parking, etc. Turns out it's blind friendly too! I read through the nearby restaurants section and the words "Washington's authentic British Pub" caught my eye. I sent the suggestion over to Michael, who hopped onto the Warner website and agreed it sounded like just the ticket.

So it was settled. I picked him up at 4:00 at Quantico and we headed to Washington. There was a slight glitch with Jane (our GPS) who was under the impression we were at the Naval Surface Warfare Center or something, but she quickly righted herself and we were off! We got to Washington before 5:00 and found a parking space by some miracle, and so we decided then and there to take our time over dinner. We selected Elephant and Castle as our dining location, and it was exactly two blocks from the theater. When we arrived, the sun was shining and we decided to dine on the patio! It's been so nice to be able to get out into the open air--Leah's spent the last 3 or 4 days out on our front porch taking in the good clean open air and we've taken lots of walks. Michael and I are well aware that summer is quickly approaching and that means a lot more indoors time, so we are getting it in while we can!

We ordered a short appetizer of potato skins, and then my main entree arrived--stuffed Yorkshire pudding, hell yes! (I actually wanted to type "stuffed Yorkshire pudding, bitches!" but I don't want any of you to take offense :-D) Oh my God, was it good. It was not as good as the Yorkshire pudding that my mom and I make, but it was pretty freakin' fantastic Yorkshire pudding nonetheless. Is there even such a thing as a bad Yorkshire pudding? Doubtful. Michael got the Union Jack pub burger, and he said it was awesome. The mashed potatoes with my meal were real--they had big chunks of actual potato in them, and Michael thought his fries had been fresh cut. We were in heaven. We took our time eating. It's a very popular place and a lot of people who seem to be very impressed with themselves were eating there. But we were seated under a lovely tall tree and I don't think we would have noticed if the President himself had shown up, honestly.

After our main dish, a wind kicked up and I got a little chilly, so I asked our excellent waiter Chris if they had hot tea and he brought me a cup of English breakfast tea. Michael got a cup of coffee and then we decided to get some dessert to kill some more time, so I got an apple berry crumble and he got cheesecake. Yeah, we were totally living it up. I don't know (apart from the Melting Pot) the last time he and I lingered over dinner for two solid hours. It felt like such a luxury to reconnect. We did both admit to missing Leah and we phoned home once during the meal, but my father-in-law told us everything was just dandy and not to worry about a thing.

So, after supper we gathered up our things and went back to the theater. We went up to Will Call and got our tickets and then the security guard suggested we stay in the lobby so that we didn't get trampled when the doors opened. Everyone else had to wait outside!!! Talk about the VIP treatment!!! It was AWESOME! They opened up the main doors about 5 minutes later and then I decided to make one final trip to the ladies room and they let me use the main level restrooms instead of going downstairs because I had Michael with me! VIP treatment!!! A private bathroom!!! LUXURY! :-)

The ushers couldn't have been more helpful and we got to our seats. We were in row B, seats 2 and 4, smack dab on the aisle, so close to the stage we could just about taste it. When you request ADA seating, typically you get put in the back where a wheelchair can just pull up, but we got this wonderful, wonderful seating right in the front of the theater. I'm telling you, these were the best seats I've ever had to any show or concert, bar none.

The show kicked off around 8:15. It was supposed to be no photography, but tons of people were taking pictures, so I snuck a couple myself. Due to the fact I didn't want to draw attention to my clandestine activities, I turned off the flash and kept the camera low. So sorry about the dude's head in front of me. But you can see how close we were!



They played a huge variety of songs, mostly from Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind. I didn't know a lot of the songs, I've only seen Spinal Tap once, but I greatly enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the hell out of the stuff from A Mighty Wind. They did a brief Q&A session with the audience, during which we learned that Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy are now working to turn Waiting for Guffman into a Broadway show. I'm not so sure how it'll work, but I'll be interested to see what they do!

They are all tremendously witty, I'm sure that goes without saying, and there was lots of laughter and humor in the show. They made a special video themselves for the Stonehenge song, during which some Troll dolls "danced" around a miniature Stonehenge. They showed a couple of user submitted videos of their songs--one by some dude Reverend Stevie in Perth, Australia and another with the song being sung by Lego people--I have now seen a Lego mosh pit, and it is as cool as you think it could be.

Annette O'Toole (Michael McKean's wife) came out and sang a couple of songs as well, and then it was winding down. They did 2 encores, however, and when they sang "Old Joe's Place", the place went wild. The entire audience yelled "Ea a Oe's" at the appropriate place and then everyone busted up laughing. It was so great. It looked for a minute like they'd do a third encore, but they didn't, and the lights came back on so we headed out. We got home around 11:30 to a couple of rather harried grandparents--Leah gets into little fits at night. She's a perfect angel all day, but at night she kind of goes a little bonkers. Well, they hadn't seen bonkers baby, only angel baby, so I think they were glad we made it back! But they had done an excellent job putting her to sleep, so it was a grateful me who got to sleep all night.

What a great evening and what a treat to see these guys perform live! We left with great big grins on our faces. The Guest mockumentaries are something we've enjoyed since very early on in our marriage, and so it was kind of special to see these guys in person.

Here are a few more pictures! Again, sorry these are blurry--no flash and all of them dancing around, it was hard to get great pictures! (Oh and Harry Shearer kept looking the other way, so I never did get a really great one of him, but I've met him before, so I guess I can live with my disappointment!)





6 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Cindy said...

We love A Mighty Wind. I even got the soundtrack for Jeff for Christmas one year. My favorite song is one that didn't make the movie - The Good Book.

Kate/Susan said...

They actually added an extra verse to The Good Book! It was something about Moses and the last line was "But what if Moses had stuck with roses?" re the burning bush. HILARIOUS! My fave was "When You're Next To Me" which only featured prominently in the credits.

Talmadge Gleck said...

I am, to put it bluntly, insane jealous.

Glad you all had a great night of it.

Kate/Susan said...

Russell,

I suppose in some measure this is akin to how I felt when you met Janet E. :-)

Talmadge Gleck said...

Perhaps. And I cannot see you as EVER having embraced Spinal Tap.

Kate/Susan said...

No, I saw the movie once and actually was kind of bored with it and never pursued listening to the music. I was there purely for the Folksmen end of things, as well as Guffman and gossip about Best in Show :-)