By Dan McQuade
By Brian McManus
By Hilary Hughes
By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
I'm not sure what the boomer-something crowd was expecting from this "Christmas show." But by their befuddled looks, it's a bet they didn't plan on the stupendously sloppy slurfest Ronnie Spector dished out.
The show started more than an hour late because of "traffic troubles." And to a crowd of this, uh, experience, an hour wait is no longer just another excuse to get more drunk. A few folks up and left. Those fools don't know what they missed.
10:15, and a band of retro vets strolled up and rolled into an instro version of "White Christmas." From the trashy sax to the rimshot-ready drummer, it set up a '50s strip-club vibe perfect for the purr-fectly preserved Ronnie to waddle onto the stage. She chimed in after a few hip-high waves; apparently the song was "Sleigh Ride." In case you didn't know it from the frequent "I'm sorry"s, a couple of mimed bottle-to-the-lips motions, and lyric twists like "Our cheeks are falling and friends are rosy . . . ," Ronnie was sauced, off, and absolutely gorgeous.
She shook her head, babbled some vague fuck-off to Phil, and eventually started to pull it together for assorted tortured teen classics and a "Baby I Love You" undeniable enough to get the whispering yuppies to shut up and stand to cheer by the end. Emotionally, that sexually frustrated, teased-hair teen of their memories was right there, still singing "So Young" and grazing her crotch at every chance. But they wanted a "pro." Ah, go see Eric Burdon in a few weeks. As fans offered her bouquets, Ronnie tossed them to the ground, yelling, "After 20 years, it's gotta end!" This was practically a punk show.
A creepy plastic snowman stood in the middle of the stage, and Ronnie returned for an encore in an elfish red getup to sing a more damning "Happy Xmas" than Lennon could ever muster. What any of this had to do with the holiday is sketchy except as a call to partake in the spirits of the season and enjoy loved ones while you can.