New York

The Worst Opening Act Ever

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The most treacherous thing about going to concerts–aside from having large people in front of you insist on standing and belching along through the whole thing–is that the opening act tends to be a total crapshoot. Sometimes it’s an up-and-coming talent who’s an absolutely perfect fit for the headliner. And sometimes it’s John Sebastian.

I once saw the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, in concert, and Sebastian had weirdly been chosen to open for her. What a study in opposites that didn’t attract! Sebastian–a founder of the feelgood ’60s band The Lovin’ Spoonful–is a scrawny white guy with about as much soul as my aunt Angie after slaving over a meatball lasagna all day. I have nothing against him personally–in fact, he’s been an influential presence in music–but as he proceeded to sweetly warble “Welcome Back” (his theme song from the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter), I had a strange urge to rush the stage and grab him by the neck.

Ever been through a similarly unappetizing musical appetizer?

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