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.