A few hours before Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies took the stage at Pikes Peak Center on Saturday, I sent them a tweet asking them to please play a certain song.
So when, 15 songs into their set, I heard the familiar chords of the ballad "Light Up My Room," off the band's 1998 release "Stunt," I just knew it was for me. It couldn't possibly have already been on their set list. That's the power of Twitter and/or my ego.
Even though the song about a hydrofield electrifying the singer's neighborhood, it's also a love song: "If you question what I would do/ to get over and be with you/ Lift you up over everything/ To light my room, my room." I love that song.
In truth, there were so many other songs I could have requested. I've been a fan of this band not long after they came to be in the late 1980s - or the late 1900s as lead singer Ed Robertson put it. Let's just say they've been performing for far longer than some of the reporters in The Gazette newsroom have been alive.
Barenaked Ladies is a band that constantly reinvents itself. They've recorded some 33 albums, including the recently released "Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies and the Persuasions" - a collaboration with a capella group The Persuasions. The band has lost founding member and a lead singer Steven Page in 2009, and percussionist Andy Creegan, who both split from the group to pursue solo careers. The current lineup includes Robertson on lead vocals; Kevin Hearn on keyboards, guitar and, on Saturday, accordion; Tyler Stewart on drums; and Jim Creeggan on bass.
The near-to-capacity crowd of Barenaked Ladies contemporaries (mid-40s or so, some who brought their kids with them) at Pikes Peak Center came to sing along and to dance. And to sip pounders of Bud Light or cocktails while they did so. Opening act Gary Jules warmed the crowd up for about 40 minutes, playing his version of "Mad World," a song Tears for Fears first recorded in 1982 and Jules reprised for the "Donnie Darko" motion picture soundtrack in 2001, as well as "Falling Awake," recorded for "Grey's Anatomy."
When Barenaked Ladies - looking fit and rested, despite having a rough trip from their last stop in Deadwood, S.D. that included running over a deer - took the stage around 9, their mood was jovial, casual. The band spent the day Saturday exploring Manitou Springs, and in particular the penny arcade. After a few songs ("Boomerang," "Duct Tape Heart" and "Easy" which kept the crowd on its feet) Robertson did an impromptu rap with lyrics such as "In Colorado Springs and everything that brings," much to the delight of the audience.
Fan favorites "It's All Been Done," "Brian Wilson," "Blame it On Me" and the "Big Bang Theory" theme song had virtually everyone singing and dancing.
The one new song they performed, "Don't Shuffle Me Back to Bottom of the Deck," but without The Persuasions chiming in, had the effect on the audience I've seen when performers beloved for so many decades sing a new tune. The nostalgic, Doo-wop like song sent many people back into their seats. But immediately after it BNL jumped into the upbeat "Four Seconds," most seat-holders were back on their feet.
I sang along, too, and I danced more than I've danced since I moved to Colorado Springs two years ago. Full disclosure (you may have already guessed): I'm a huge fan of this band. I was surprised I wasn't familiar with every song they played. But I liked what I heard.
So here's another positive review, a la my previous reviews of Elton John and Lisa Loeb. They are all amazing performers and entertainers, and I see no reason they all shouldn't get "A" grades from me.