A Prairie Home Companion at the Hollywood Bowl
As a child my memories of Garrison Keillor's wheezing, droning voice are inextricably linked with the long car rides to and from our Church Family Camp each summer. We'd load up the luggage, somehow cram my sister and me into the back seat of the Volkswagen (later a Toyota) and drive the 300 miles to Santa Cruz with Mr. Keillor regaling us with tales of his Wobegon hometown.
My first memory of Garrison Keillor outside of the tapes in my folks' car was seeing his picture on a book jacket and being completely unable to link that image of the man in suspenders and spectacles with the soothing voice that had accompanied me on those long car rides.
As an adult, I haven't listened to APHC much. If I get in the car, and the radio is on NPR, and the show is on, I listen for a bit. I've had a few "driveway moments" where I sat with the engine idling and listened to the end of one of his monologues, or waited until the latest episode of "The Lives of the Cowboys" wrapped up... but other than that I wouldn't consider myself a fan. It's a good show, I enjoy it, it is very well produced (not that I would know) and entertaining... it's just maybe a little too tied to my childhood, a little too close to home with my mid-west relatives, and maybe the music has just a tad too much "twang" for my tastes. Yet when my folks called and invited me to the show tonight, I just couldn't resist. Seeing APHC live was still on my 'bucket list' and I didn't want to pass up the chance to see it at a venue I love so much.
It's incredible to see this show put on live. Granted that they've been doing it for years and years and they have it down pat, it's still amazing to watch them pull it off. The audience was full of adoring fans, which made it that much more special. The show flows, and has a format that is familiar, yet not predictable. It's both entertaining and comforting, while still seeming fresh and new. Mr. Keillor's monologue was very good, extremely funny, and it's incredible to watch him work without a script. Also the special guest Martin Sheen was a consummate professional, even though he was obviously not 100% comfortable doing radio, and he had a few flubs, he pushed through and was a trouper. All in all it was a great show, and a great ending to another live season of APHC. Be sure to tune in this weekend on your local NPR station to hear the show that taped tonight.
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Sara Watkins stole the show. She was sublime. She's headed off to the east coast tonight and will be touring the South this summer... if she's coming your way don't miss it. You'll thank me later.
And that's the news from The Worst Show on the Web studios, where the co-hosts are bitter, the production is terrible, and all the shows are below average...