SLCR #222: Chubby Checker (September 26, 2015)

Here are some predictions, written on the day before the concert:

  • The casino food can be summed up as “yep, that’s food, alright”
  • Chubby Checker will play not only his own songs, but random songs from that era
  • He will close his set with The Twist
  • My dad will sing along with random lines from random songs in exaggerated fashion, and then laugh self-consciously to himself
  • At 39, I will be among the 10 youngest attendees
  • I will leave feeling that this would have been a great show had I seen it decades ago
  • I will cash in our ticket stubs (or PDFs, whatever) for slot vouchers but will win nothing of note

Here is a review, written on the day after the concert:

ahahaha “written on the day after the concert” you hubristic dink, you don’t get to change that to “22 days after the concert,” leave your laziness and shame for the world to see

ANYWAY this is a show about which I have some feelings and opinions. Let us review those above points in no particular order:

  • The casino food can be summed up as “yep, that’s food, alright”

Presumably this would have been true, had we eaten at the casino. What with Mika having Celiac disease and the casino restaurant feeling not particularly trustworthy on that front (it is a restaurant in the technical sense of the term; infer my opinions from that statement as you wish), we decided to skip the casino dinner in favour of a big salad at home. This was one of the wiser things I’ve ever done because the casino food is as previously described and my mom’s salad dressing recipe is great.

  • At 39, I will be among the 10 youngest attendees

This was almost certainly true.

  • I will cash in our ticket stubs (or PDFs, whatever) for slot vouchers but will win nothing of note

Shockingly false! I didn’t cash in the stubs that night, but went to the casino at coffee time a few days later and won $25. Delightful!

  • I will leave feeling that this would have been a great show had I seen it decades ago

You know, I am not certain about this. I think Chubby Checker might have been as good on this night as he would ever have been. I mean this positively. I had a really fun time at this show and it was the best of the shows I’ve seen with my dad. I rank them 1. Chubby Checker, 2. Herman’s Hermits, 3. Bobby Curtola, 4. Charley Pride. This is a stunning upset victory of which Bobby Curtola should be very proud.

But I digress. We had an actual opening act, which doesn’t happen at the casino all that often. It was Roberta Nichol, a local folk singer and retired schoolteacher singing lighthearted songs about loving food and getting old and loving her pets. This was… not expected, let’s say. At one point, I looked at my dad and he looked at me and we didn’t say anything but we both burst out laughing. I had bought these tickets as his Fathers’ Day present and he thanked me for the memorable gift. Then Mika hit the server call button so we could get more booze and we both laughed again.

It was a short set. She played three original songs and two covers; one of which was If I Had A Hammer and I thiiiiiink the other was Walkin’ After Midnight but it’s a month later now, you know? “You know, she’s actually not that bad,” said my dad. This is true. Just… yeah, like I said. Not expected. But maybe a good fit considering the audience? I mean, it is worth noting that the table directly in front of us LOVED this woman. Cheered wildly for every song, laughing until crying at all her jokes. They were also basically orgasmic over Chubby Checker too. They were enjoying their evening more than I have ever enjoyed anything (combined). Good on them.

  • Chubby Checker will play not only his own songs, but random songs from that era

Of course this is true. This is what everyone my dad goes to seems to do. I wonder if in 2065, Justin Bieber will be playing shows for senior citizens at casinos? And if he does, will he play a medley of Uptown Funk and Fancy and Thrift Shop and Call Me Maybe and Get Lucky and Gangnam Style and Blurred Lines because the seniors will remember those songs, even though they’re not his?

But as far as I am concerned, Chubby Checker can do whatever he feels like. He earned it. Unlike some of his casino contemporaries, his voice has held up. And he spent a lot of time interacting with the crowd, walking through the audience singing, shaking hands, getting hugs, making people dance and sing, and getting iPhones the hell out of his face. Yes. As he was walking and singing, some guy was recording this on his phone and Checker grabbed the phone out of his hand and put it down on the table. Chubby Checker does not want to be in your video. I thought this was the best thing I’d seen all day. That lasted for about 20 minutes.

At one point, Checker sang Limbo Rock, which is the famous limbo song (I never knew the title!), obviously popularized by an episode of Perfect Strangers where the lyrics were changed to be about the Myposian pastry called the bibbibabka. How I remember this, I have no idea. How there are SO MANY references to this online, I guess I can chalk up to “because the internet.” I am seriously in awe of the Perfect Strangers episode guide I am reading right now.

ANYWAY. Limbo Rock. And there was a dude in the crowd with a Chubby Checker Limbo Rock record – maybe even an original from the looks of it. Dude got very excited to hear this song. He waved the record. Chubby didn’t see it. He waved and waved the record some more. Still nothing. Because when you’re on a brightly-lit stage and the audience is darkened, you can’t see past the second row, much less 50 feet back. But this dude was undeterred. He walked up to the front, still holding his record high in the air, and walked the length of the stage with it. Finally, Chubby saw it, and though he didn’t say anything at the time (he was singing and all), he gave this guy the absolute most perfect “what the fuck are you doing, idiot?” look. This was so great. So so great. Mika leaned in and excitedly whispered “CHUBBY CHECKER IS AWESOME” and I so agree. There have been better concerts this year but not better moments.

After the song was done, he did offer to sign the guy’s record.

Anyway, yeah, this was what you’d expect in terms of songs. Lots of fun-time songs about dancing and partying and twisting, and various other songs from that era because why not? And all delivered better than I was expecting. Fine work.

  • He will close his set with The Twist

No, idiot. He closed his set with The Twist followed by Let’s Twist Again. Shoulda seen that coming.

  • My dad will sing along with random lines from random songs in exaggerated fashion, and then laugh self-consciously to himself

I don’t know that this happened? But mayyyyybe the four of us and most of the rest of the casino all danced The Twist when it was time to do so? That might have happened. I do not believe there to be video evidence of this and for that I am thankful. And we did not get up on stage to do it, unlike a bunch of people, one of whom I believe to be either Saskatchewan Roughriders legend George Reed or the safety guy from my office.

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