Photo gallery of Unwigged and Unplugged (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer) at The Wilbur Theatre on Saturday (May 23, 2009).
Though the Spinal Tap material is nigh on 25 years at this point, in much the same manner of fanaticism displayed for Monty Python's Holy Grail, people care about it so fervently because it's still so blindingly funny. The trio of Guest, McKean and Shearer kept their street clothes on (and dignity intact) by the absence of heavy metal mullets, spandex, and big amps as they played selections from Spinal Tap and other movies (A Mighty Wind, Waiting For Guffman) to a sold-out house.
Along with some reworked versions of their sounds ('Big Bottoms" was reduced to a slinky jazz number with just a single stand-up bass; Harry Shearer mentioned that the couple dozen bass players recruited for their Live Earth show had maxed out the idea, so now they were 'minning in'), they had audience participation via Q&A (one fan asked about the roast beef scratch and sniff patch included with a 12" record; the answer is that rather than smell like english roast beef, it smelled like a band-aid, which is what english roast beef tastes like), and a screen backdrop occasionally showed some music videos and assorted odds and ends from their past. Who knew that Jake Gyllenhaal's first grab for silver screen stardom would be as an extra in a cheese wheel rolling festival. As expected from anyone even vaguely familiar with their work, the wit on display was sharp and plentiful (talking about This is Spinal Tap's screening run, then clarifying it as more of a "power walk") and the audience ate it all up. The Glimmer Twins should waive any royalties they might receive for The Folksmen's reworking of "Start Me Up."
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