Friday, August 06, 2010

The Wiggly Circus

Paige may not have been too impressed by my interview with Anthony Wiggle, but she was very excited that I scored us tickets to see the show. (I know this because she keep saying "Dad, I'm very excited for the Wiggles concert.)

When we made it to the venue, my only worry was that the Aussies may not live up to the four-the-year old's ultra-high expectations. No problem, there. Paige loved every minute, singing and doing her Elaine Benes-esque dancing to every song.

Curtis, however, was a different story. I'm used to taking him into the foyer at church when he's being bad, or taking him home from the 4th of July fireworks because "fireworks are skeery, Dad." But taking him out to the concourse because the Wiggles, who he loves to watch on TV, were too scary, caught me off guard. And that was before the band even came on stage.

Once the show actually started, we finally got him settled down and he sat tight-gripped on my lap. After every song he'd say, "Is the Wiggles all over, Dad?" (He did manage a smile and a wave when he saw Dorothy the Dinosaur.)

On the way home, Paige, who was still beaming with enthusiasm, asked, "Do the Wiggles know my name?"

(This was tricky territory. I felt like she was asking me if Santa Claus was real. But luckily I had the answer.)

"Of course they do. Don't you remember that I talked to Anthony on the phone about you?"


(I've impressed her now, I thought. Finally.)

"But what about Murray?"


"Hey, how 'bout we go get a Slurpee."

(Sweet distraction.)

A very successful evening.

And here's the show review.

The Wiggles
August 3, 2010
The Maverik Center

As the lights came up at the conclusion of the 90-minute “Wiggly Circus,” my four-year-old daughter turned to me, with her upper lip trembling, and said, “Is it all over?”

“Yes, it’s all over.”

“Why? Why is it over?”

“Because The Wiggles played all of their songs.”

“But I want them to play a thousand songs!”

Those four Aussies, and their team of dancers and characters, certainly know how to the leave the Pre-Kindergarten crowd wanting more.

This was my first “kid” concert. Going in with no more expectation than that of cotton candy, sticky kid fingers, and overpriced merchandise, I left feeling quite pleasantly surprised.

First of all, parking was a breeze, given that everyone in the crowd had carpooled in their mother’s minivan (though it was a real struggle to find our minivan after the show, amongst all the look-a-likes). Secondly, the show was over by 8:30, so I still had time to buy a hotdog at the 7-11 on the way home before putting the kids to bed.

And, as an added bonus, the show was pretty good, too. Of course the kids were happy to dance to “Hoop Dee Doo” and “Rock a Bye Your Bear,” but as an adult, I was happy with The Wiggles handled themselves on stage.

These guys do a ridiculous amount of touring—something like 200 international dates a year. But rather than putting on a well-oiled, auto-piloted performance, the group is refreshingly loose. They easily laughed off the technical problems that plagued the first third of the set. (When Captain Feathersword’s mic went dead, Blue Wiggle Anthony Field quickly put his hand over his mouth and spoke in his Captain Feathersword voice and the Wiggly Pirate lip-synched the words. Both actors got a good laugh from the improv act.) They graciously interacted with the crowd, personally thanking each child who had brought a homemade poster, and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the set.

They were also good with the parents, regularly throwing appreciation and jokes their way. “We drove all the way here from Los Angeles in our Big Red Car [their little golf cart]. We sang ‘Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga, Big Red Car’ the whole way—something like 3,000 times. I’m sure some of you parents can understand what that feels like.”

The Wiggles kept the energy high throughout the set with plenty of singing, dancing, and circus fare. The band, whose ages range from early 30s [Sam Moran] to nearly 60 [Jeff Fatt], swung and rolled, flipped and flopped, without missing a beat or losing their breath. (I got a little tired just watching ‘em.)

The kids left happy, I left happy. And though I do regret not buying myself a t-shirt that says “I’m the Fifth Wiggle,” I couldn’t have asked for a better night.

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