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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Funky, funky, funky times at Millennium Stage

Big Sam's Funky Nation at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage/patricia leslie

Funky, funky, funky…Big Sam and his Funky Nation came to the Kennedy Center Thursday night in a free performance at Millennium Stage and forced the audience to jump out of our seats and dance right away

“Get up! Get up!” he ordered the crowd, as soon as he pranced on stage.

“Get up! Do you feel like movin' your body?" he screamed, and the crowd roared:  "YES!"

Big Sam told us to "get up," and we got up.  He was looking for a "funky donkey."/patricia leslie

We couldn't help but do what Big Sam told us to do, and we leaped and gyrated and moved our bodies.  No sitting down listening to pretty music with Big Sam.  That's not what it's all about. 
Under the lights and on the video screen was Big Sam's Funky Nation at Millennium Stage/patricia leslie
Young (five months), old (several in their 80s) and those in-between bumped and grinded (ground?) and waved hands (or had them waved) for almost all of the 50-minute show.

You missed your exercise Thursday?  You could have exercised with Sam and used up about 500 calories.
Big Sam Williams at Millennium Stage/patricia leslie

Of course, it was a SRO-crowd with four or five rows deep behind the ropes and standing on their feet the entire time, but we with seats were standing, too.  We were dancing in the aisles.

The horns!  Sam plays a mean trombone!  Big Sam's Funky Nation is from New Orleans, he told us twice, and one of the band members said Sam was 6'2" and 225 pounds, but from way in the back, he didn't look that big, however, with a name like "Big Sam," I was expecting a really big Sam, like maybe 300 pounds, so 225 looked normal.  Where was I?
Big Sam and Funky Nation at Millennium Stage/patricia leslie

The announced band members, save for Chocolate Milk (drums) (that's what Sam and the program said his name was), did not appear to be the band members' names in the program which were Andrew Baham (trumpet, vocals and keyboard), Andrew Block (guitar), and Eric Vogel (bass guitar).

Two of the tunes:  "Thank you for Letting Me Be Myself," (we sang along) and "She's Got Me Breakin' the Rules, I'm About to Lose My Cool, I Got to Get Away" or something like that.  It's not like I know funky.

Millennium Stage is a fantastic place to take children and introduce them to live music and dance. Noise is not a problem, and they (and you) can be free and move and sing with everybody else.  Plus, the cost can't be beat.

But there's the little matter of service at the Kennedy Center


Attention, Kennedy Center:  Presumably, a goal is increased revenue.  One way to increase revenue is to increase the number of bartenders and cash registers, and then you can sell more products!  (Well, duh.) In the ONLY line Thursday night, I stood with 17 others waiting on service for Happy Hour. 

“Just a beer,” I pleaded when I finally made it to the front of the line.  “Any old beer will do as long as it's the coldest and not those hot Stellas you just brought out in that box.  Oh, and I'll take some nuts, too." 

Kennedy Center: You could take some of those 1,000 ushers in the red coats who always seem to be beating us down and practically throwing us out of our seats for who knows what violation, maybe having the gall to cross our legs, one of which might just stick out in the aisle a wee bit, and have them sell beer and what-nots.

What?  You didn't know beer-drinkers were going to show up for Big Sam's Funky Nation?  I didn't hear Guy Lombardo playing at the Millennium Stage Thursday night.  But that might be because he died in 1977. And you don't know who Guy Lombard was, do you?  Well, a single refreshment line might have satisfied his crowd just fine, thank you.  Please check your listings.

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