Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Jane Wiedlin Leaves 'Em Wanting (Way) More With the Les Paul Trio

Had a hoot seeing the Les Paul Trio -- with special guest Jane Wiedlin -- last night at the Iridium Jazz Club in Midtown. I should probably clarify that a bit, I suppose: The "trio" was actually a quartet and the "special guest" was an uninvited (by me, at least) Steve Miller, who after talking and playing entirely too long eventually abracadabra'd his ass off the stage to make room for Jane, who was the actual special guest. Oh, and that part about having a hoot? Well, that mostly had to do with my company, literary-agent friend Christopher and his pals Laura and Lesley, who was deceivingly hilarious all night long.

The band provided some fun too, although Jane's promised set of "solo, Go-Go's and standards" material left a little to be desired, namely more of it. Still adorable, if not a slightly more plump pixie, she took the stage and asked us to be patient as she and the quartet had never rehearsed before -- then promptly announced she'd forgotten to bring her chord sheet out. Pianist John Colianni strongly encouraged her to go retrieve it so Jane -- working her newly blond ditz appeal -- ran back and got it.

She surprised us by opening with "But for the Grace of God," the song she and Charlotte Caffey wrote for Keith Urban's American debut. (It hit No. 1 on the country chart and even crossed over to the main Top 40 back 2000, helping to launch his mega career.) It was fun hearing her sing it -- got me wishing she'd do the Murmurs' "Smash" sometime -- sort of like hearing the Bee Gees do "Chain Reaction" or "Islands in the Stream." "Cry Me a River" came next, which I didn't mind but my tablemates strongly disapproved of. ("You just don't do that," Christopher chagrined.) A sexy rendition of Ann-Margret's "13 Men" was met with universal approval -- Jane's got curves now and knows how to use 'em -- only to see its momentum stalled by a stab at "Over the Rainbow" which, in Jane's defense, she pointed out was one of Paul's favorite songs to play.

She pulled the whole table back in with a playful version of Kay Starr's "I'll Never Say Never Again Again," then quickly disappointed us again (again) by announcing that "Our Lips Are Sealed" would be the show's final number. (But you just got here!) The inclusion of Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields doing the "Jane" part didn't exactly please anyone, either.

Afterward, she came out and held court as 12-inch singles of "Blue Kiss," "Cool Places" and "Fur" LPs and "World on Fire" CD singles flew around the room (was shocked there were no "Vacation" cassingles to be found!). Jane graciously posed for a pic ("Look at you, Mr. Fancy Man!" she cooed. "I feel like I'm on a date") and then Christopher denied telling her the show was "fabulous" as the four of us littered the streets of this town, that for a fleeting moment was a bit more glamorous thanks to the punk-rock mouseketeer who is Jane Wiedlin.

With me, Jane didn't have to suffer the humiliation of making change


Ed Biebel said...

I just realized reading your post that I sat at the table across from you at the show. I'll say one thing for that show, it was an interesting mix of characters both on and off stage.

Jane Wiedlin said...

Hi Kenneth,
I had an entire set planned but had to cut it very very short as the band wasn't available for rehearsals.
Thanks for coming,
Jane Wiedlin

Todd Kimmel said...

Hi Kenneth,

Jane looks great! I'm not sure if you're aware but you made reference to her weight a couple of times in this post. I'm sure you meant no harm by it, but those types of comments perpetuate the stereotype that women have to be rail thin. I've enjoyed reading your blog for years now, so please don't take offense. Hopefully I'll run into you at one of the Go-Go's shows this summer.


Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Todd: Hey! Thanks for visiting.

I appreciate the sentiment of your comment, but I think you're reaching a bit here. While I pointed out that Jane has filled out "slightly" (haven't we all?), it was a set-up to saying how she used her curves to her ADVANTAGE -- remember "Throw Me a Curve," which was meant to be an anthem for this very thing? -- so I don't see how this is in any way perpetuating a stereotype that all women need to be rail thin. I'm not taking offense by your comment, but I think it's important that we pick our battles wisely, and clearly there is no battle here -- as even you didn't believe I meant any harm by what I said.

Thanks -- and I will be at the Go-Go's show at Irving Plaza. Isn't this the Fat Chicks Rock tour? :-)