Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wiggly Party

Last Friday, David, Paul, Mary and I were really, really amazing parents and took our daughters to see the Wiggles Live! at Cox Arena. Man, are we generous people, so deeply attuned to our daughters' need for stimulating entertainment that we'd pony up about a million dollars for concert tickets.

Oh, let's drop this charade: the tickets were for me. That's right, Readers, MOI. The toddlers were simply my beards. I love the Wiggles. There, I've said it, and it feels so much better to have it out in the open. From the moment they arrived on stage in The Big Red Car, I was enraptured. They had me at Hot Potato. We had good seats considering the vertigo-inducing chasm of the arena, and a T-shaped stage enabled giant dinosaurs, teddy bears and refreshingly buxom ballerinas to dance right into our midst. I clapped, I danced, I giggled, I got choked up when both Jeff and Murray came up the stairs and stopped to shake Jarrah and Joy's hands. I kind of lost my voice from a lot of shrieking and woo-hooing. I even shed a few tears during--of all things--a soaring rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," in which the only lights in the stadium came from the audience's cell phones, and Jarrah held her hands over her head and twinkled her fingers. We all admired the playful lightness of the performers, who chatted with the audience, ad-libbed their banter, and chuckled over technical glitches.

And did the intended viewers of this spectacle appreciate it? Oh, I suppose so, Readers. At first they seemed stunned, blinking at all the color and light and the people who usually stay in the television. Later, they danced and cheered, ate snacks, and set about annoying people in front of us by kicking their heads. To paraphrase Dudley Moore in Arthur, who was speaking of yacht travel, if pressed they might have admitted "The Wiggles don't suck." But whether they still tingled and glowed from the wonder of it all thirty minutes later? On that subject, Readers, I can only speak for myself.

I was ready to chuck ordinary life and go on the road, following the Wiggles around like the Dead. I could hang in parking lots before and after shows, passing the Gerber Fruity Snacks with the other acolytes. Clearly, though, I can stop feeling slightly weird about this because if you go on YouTube and search on the Wiggles, you will currently pull up several dozen "tributes" to Greg Page, the Yellow Wiggle, who recently announced his retirement due to a chronic condition that makes it hard for him to dance. Despite his public assurance that this condition will not kill him, the YouTube videos are structured in the fashion of "In Memoriam" montages at the Oscars, or like slide shows in junior high of the girl who was hit by a car while skateboarding. Somewhat ironically, these tributes are not set to Wiggles music, but to popular adult songs. My favorite: Coldplay's "Yellow." The one that made me snort inappropriately: Sarah McLachlin's "I Will Remember You."

I know about the Wiggles latest YouTube coverage because of a conversation that David and I had after the concert, in which he asked me what I thought of the video that opened the show. See, the Wiggles have, out of necessity, swiftly replaced Greg with another Yellow wiggle, Sam Moran (a move I refer to as "hiring from the inside," since he was already a secondary cast member.) He's a friendly-looking fellow, has a stunning voice, and is about a foot shorter than Greg. Honestly, if kids notice anything different about Yellow, it will probably be this anatomical discrepancy.

But that's not true for their parents. David pointed out that whoever is making these YouTube tributes, they're not three years old. My new friend Robyn from Jarrah's preschool told me she attended an earlier Wiggles concert when Sam understudied for Greg, and the substitution occasioned a wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the stadium. And those doing the gnashing were over 30. Clearly, the official change was a matter requiring delicate diplomacy, and kudos to the Wiggles for treating their fans (of every age) with honesty and respect.

In the concert's opening video ("...and now, a message from Greg!") we zoom between close-ups and extreme close-ups of Greg talking about his condition, and his hard decision to retire from the Wiggles. Then we see a two-shot of him sitting with a man whom he describes as "my good friend, Sam." In a gesture both sweetly earnest and tongue-in-cheek, Greg announces that he would "now like to officially transfer the Yellow skivvy to Sam," which he does, and which Sam accepts like it's a royal sceptre.

And what was I doing during this video, Dear Readers? I was crying. Crying as a two-year-old would never do over the presentation of a polyester shirt.

I'm happy to report that Sam did a bang-up job in his inaugural outing. He sang and danced and smiled, and did so bravely, considering how many people were holding signs with deluded messages like "Greg, we miss you! Get well soon!" But all was soon forgiven and forgotten by the very small. Down in front of the stage, the young ones cavorted to the music, and when the time was right they held out their long-stemmed red roses.

These roses were snacks for a dinosaur, dontcha know. Next time I'll be sure to bring some, for the kids to hold. Or maybe just me.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sam!

Now I see why they make jackets with "Wiggles Mom" on the back! They were fantastic. We will have to make this an annual tradition! Dinner was yummy, too!



Robyn said...

Hi there,

So it's not bad enough I cried during the video of Greg presenting his skivvy to Sam. Here I sit crying over your recounting of it RIGHT NOW! I have enjoyed poring over your entries from the past year. I'm glad we met and I'm looking forward to more lunches. Here's to the kiddos...they bring unexpected new friends into our lives.

See you tomorrow, bright and early!


P.S. I need some help with HTML tags. I really wanted to italicize "during." Darn my inadequate programming skills. But if you ever want video edited with text, titles, music, voice overs, etc...I'm your girl!

Type (little) a said...

I love the tshirts the girls are wearing. My daughter has the same one, but long sleeved.

What's more adorable is that they are in matching tshirts.

And I've said it before, the Wiggles scare the bejesus out of me. So we're going to the Big Apple Circus, and then on Easter Sunday, Sesame Street Live:Elmo's World. I'm going to need a little more than yummy yummy fruit salad for that one.

Jess&YeaYea said...

You all look like you had a fabulous time! What fun!

mira said...

Hey Sam,
You come a long way musically from our old canary in the coal mine days!
Love, Mira

Cheri said...

Deliciously warm read, like a cup of cocoa.

Anonymous said...

Sam, the picture of you is ADORABLE!

Miss J

Lisa & Oliver said...

Came across your sight on another adoption blog, so thought I would stop by.
Little did I know that I would be hearing about the Wiggles .. my daughter's ALL TIME favorite performers! lol