You just can’t keep a good thing down. Nine years after it debuted as a major motion picture, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical – based on the New York Times best-selling book, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, is back with a national theater run. The two-act rock musical, written by Rob Rokicki and Joe Tracz (Be More Chill), first played in NYC in 2017 for a short run. Due to the show’s popularity, fans of the book series demanded that the play be available to a larger audience, and a National Tour was launched in January. This past week, the tour made a four-day stop at NYC’s Beacon Theatre, and I was able to check it out.
Nostalgia doesn’t have to look a certain way. My first memory of nostalgia as a movement, or social phenomena, is from the 1980s, when the States experienced a massive wave of sentimentality for the pop culture of the 1950s. Suddenly, modern trends were pushed aside as the populace indulged a compulsion to revisit and appropriate the music, fashion and lifestyle of that era. It seemed like a big deal at the time, but as I get older I understand that the experience of nostalgia need not take place on such a grand scale. It can be drilled-down to keenly personal moments: a favorite scent, a photograph, or even a song can carry with it the power of full transportation to the past.
A publicist recently asked me what bands I’m currently listening to – and I know she expected me to name some “new” bands, but I had to confess that the bulk of music I’ve been loading on my iPod or adding to my collection in recent months is music from the 1970s. Because, from The Beatles through Glam, Prog Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, the onset of Electronica, Punk Rock and New Wave, the Seventies really had it all. This realization actually brought back an awkward memory of the time an editor (whom I still affectionately refer to as Iron Nuts) accused me of being “desperate to like a modern band.” Okay, guilty as charged. Still, I’m not going to apologize for it.
This past Thursday I was super fortunate to have been able to see Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry perform at the Beacon Theater here in NYC. He looked great and sounded amazing! He also did a fun and varied set of songs that ranged from both early and later period Roxy Music, his own solo stuff and covers of Bob Dylan and Neil Young tunes. Ferry is changing up the song list on this tour, so every show is a little bit different, but if you weren’t at the Beacon on October 6, 2011, this is what you missed.
The Main Thing (Roxy Music)
Slave to Love
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan cover)
Casanova (Roxy Music)
If There is Something (Roxy Music song)
Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
Boys and Girls
Kiss and Tell
To Turn You On
Like a Hurricane (Neil Young cover)
Tara (Roxy Music)
Bitter Sweet (Roxy Music)
You Can Dance
Reason and Rhyme
Avalon (Roxy Music)
My Only Love (Roxy Music)
Love Is The Drug (Roxy Music)
All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
Let’s Stick Together (Wilbert Harrison cover)
Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover)
Hold On (I’m Coming)
2010 has been a great year for seeing some of my favorite stand up comedians: Ricky Gervais, Demitri Martin, and just last night I was lucky to catch Daniel Tosh – certainly one of the most wildly popular comedians on the circuit right now – at the first of two shows he played at New York City’s Beacon Theater. I’ve been an avid fan of Tosh’s Comedy Central show, Tosh.0, since I discovered it accidentally about a year ago. As soon as I heard tickets were going on sale for his Tosh 2010 tour, I made sure I grabbed a pair.
For fans of Tosh.0, Daniel’s stand up is slightly different, in that there are no screens, no videos and no props onstage with him at all. It’s all 100% pure Tosh, just riffing seamlessly and brilliantly spot-on about everything and everyone – from the citizens of New Orleans, to Brett Favre to rap artists, whom he sarcastically thanks for “keeping women in their place” – in his signature un-PC style. He is not afraid to say offensive things about every group of people – from religious zealots to political conservatives and liberals as well, not to mention poor and fat people. I love how he simplifies how ridiculous we all are with our “I’m a victim” mentality. No quarter is given, and that’s why Tosh just slays every time. But if you are humorless, overly PC, or offended by anything at all you should probably stay home.
It was a sold-out crowd for the Beacon’s 7:30 show (Tosh performed again at 10 PM) and obviously everyone in attendance was a huge fan of the Comedy Central show. One of my favorite bits was Daniel’s recollection of having been delayed on a flight that sat on the tarmac for three hours while the airline waited for another flight to arrive, so that they could get more seat belt extenders, which are needed when heavy passengers cannot fit within the confines of a standard safety belt. “Not only were they out of seat belt extenders on the plane, they were out of seat belt extenders in the entire airport,” he exclaimed hilariously. This, of course led to his riffs on fat Americans, which are always hilarious, because they are so true. I also enjoyed his bit about what Johnny Depp, at age 48, goes through in his nightly routine to get ready to leave the house, as he decides he needs to accessorize with eight bracelets instead of just seven (this is probably a lot funnier in person than it sounds written down).
One of the more complicated bits Tosh did tied together a horrifying incident at an Atlanta amusement park, where a young man was accidentally decapitated, and how annoying it is when you have a cast on your leg and all anybody wants to ask you is “how did you break your leg?” I didn’t really see where he was going with this one but, trust me, he pulled it off beautifully. The amusement park decapitation/broken leg bit was a perfect example of how you’ll think Tosh is going in one direction with the joke, and then he zigs and zags so much that he gets four or five different punch lines in before he then manages to bring it all back to where he started. I don’t know anyone else who is really able to do that live. It’s also worth noting that one hundred percent of his material was completely new to me, so even if you watch Tosh.0 faithfully, you will probably be surprised by most of what goes down in the live show.
While Daniel’s set was only slightly over one hour long, (not including two warm up acts, one very funny and the other not so much) every second was absolutely, ridiculously funny. I would definitely see him again on any future tour and recommend you check out the Tosh Tour 2010 when it comes to your city. Daniel Tosh!