17 May 1992
Arnold Hall Theatre, Colorado Springs, CO
David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel, and Derek Smalls must not have been thinking clearly when they booked this reunion tour--their first in ten years. After all, playing at an Air Force installation (the Academy) for their first gig should have spelled trouble from the get-go.
True to fate, it didn't take but mere seconds for trouble to surface. Opening with "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight", the stage crew lowered the three principal members by guide wires which, unfortunately, got caught on the rafters, and left Nigel and Derek dangling for the duration of the song.
The band recovered with their current hit single--I must say it was quite a sight to see a 65 percent capacity crowd at Arnold Hall, in unison, pound fists in the air to the two words, "Bitch School!!!". Prior to performing "Hell Hole", Nigel brought out his Marshall stack guitar. During a soundcheck, Nigel and the audience determined that it needed more volume. Consequently, Nigel chose to have his guitar technician add another stack. The microcamera attached to Nigel's microphone stand projected an impressive image of the lead guitarist, showing his true ability to chew gum and play at the same time. An additional closeup revealed that Nigel's background Marshall stack included one small, pocket-sized red amplifier atop the stack. I guess every little bit counts.
After the audienced swayed back and forth to "America", the group launched into their soon-to-be followup hit, "The Majesty Of Rock", which includes lyrics such as, "The farmer takes a wife, the barber takes a pole--we're in this together and ever" Unfortunately, Nigel's eight (8) pickup guitar couldn't distract the audience away from the 20' high pillars behind the band, which unexpectedly deflated because of an air compressor anomaly.
St. Hubbins introduced "Just Begin Again" with a reference to Cher, who, of course, sang on the studio version. He read a telegram from her which read, "I would be there now were it not for the fact that I've not chosen to do so." Cheesily, the band attempted to make up the difference by slapping pictures of her from 1989 on an overhead display, and superimposing imposter lips over her image in a pathetic attempt to make it look real.
The Tap added a nice rap interlude within "Sex Farm". Then, disaster struck once again--though the guys learned their lesson about bad stage design during their 1982 tour, when their Stonehenge model proved to be comically small, this time around, however, it proved to be too big--so big that they were unable to lower it through the rafters.
A la their 1982 tour, after a break in the show, they emerged from zygotes to begin "Rock And Roll Creation". Everyone, that is, except for Derek, who let a chicken imposter crawl out in ersatz, perhaps in fear of flashbacks to hatch problems during the 1982 tour.
During "Listen To The Flower People", Nigel savagely stole a riff from "The Little Drummer Boy". Original, eh?
Nigel, David, and Derek all had microphone stands which each must have had over a hundred picks on it. Guys, I know you want to be safe and sure, but, come on!
The three also commenced with an acoustic set which included "Rainy Day Sun", "Clam Caravan", and "All The Way Home".
The Tap performed a lot of material from their latest Billboard Top 200 Album, Break Like The Wind, including "Cash On Delivery" and "Diva Fever", which launched Nigel into an extremely extensive guitar solo, during which St. Hubbins was able to receive a backstage makeover, and Smalls was able to dine at a local establishment (I'm not kidding, they even showed them on the overhead monitors!!!). Nigel's solo was a bit silly, with him throwing horseshoes at a Fender Stratocaster resting on a guitar stand.
The band pathetically failed in their attempt to add affects during "Break Like The Wind"--during a guitar solo, bassist Derek Smalls stood in the face of a breeze created by a fake wind machine, which looked like a cloud with a face. As it turned out, it was merely a portable fan covered with a cardboard cutout, which, much to the stagehand's dismay, tipped over during the solo.
Spinal Tap ended with "Stinkin' Up The Great Outdoors", the totally unseasonal "Christmas With The Devil", and "Big Bottom", during which a rafter-mounted white skull rotated around a reveal a derriere. Okay, we get the point, guys!
To add insult to injury, for an encore, they sang the most inappropriate, tactless song they could have, the morbid "Track 13" from Break Like The Wind, which isn't even listed on the album's song list.
Not even after Spinal Tap had completed their first song of the show, a concert patron summed it up by saying, with complete sincerity, "This band sucks!.....Is it me?"
[*****] - Steven T.
Click Here for the official Spinal Tap Home Page and other Groovy Musical Links!
Back to Concert Reviews Main Page