Review of concert from 2001-06-04: with Spinal Tap; Carnegie Hall, NYC; special guest at Spinal Tap concert
Billboard, 2001-06-05
- Jonathan Cohen

 

Edited by Jonathan Cohen / June 05, 2001, 11:30 AM

Spinal Tap Brings Rock, Guests To NYC


 

Beloved hard rock veterans Spinal Tap came back from the dead last night (June 4) at New York's Carnegie Hall with a 20-song, 90-minute performance as part of the annual Toyota Comedy Festival. Frontman David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), and bassist Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) were joined by a host of guests, none more surprising than Elvis Costello, who sang lead vocals and played guitar on the jangly "Gimme Some Money."

Costello's appearance came 13 songs into a set that featured all of Spinal Tap's most notorious songs, including "Sex Farm," "Rock'N'Roll Creation," "Bitch School," "Hell Hole," and "Heavy Duty." Among the other guests that appeared throughout the show were blues/rock guitarist Hiram Bullock on "Break Like the Wind," horn players Randy and Michael Brecker on "Sex Farm," bandleader (and "Spinal Tap" co-star) Paul Shaffer on "Short and Sweet," and Shaffer's "Late Show With David Letterman" bandmate Will Lee on a thunderous finale of "Big Bottom."

The show's highlight came during a rendition of "Stonehenge," which featured the familiar midgets in druid costumes carting out a miniature Stonehenge monument suspended from a coat rack. Hammering home the utter absurdity of the moment, St. Hubbins reminded, "you can read more about Stonehenge in your public library."

Earlier in the night, McKean, Guest, and Shearer took to the stage as a mock folk trio called the Folksmen, who first appeared in the 1992 home video "Return of Spinal Tap." The group strummed through genial originals like "Old Joe's Place" and a hilarious cover of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" before being kicked off the stage to make way for the headliners.

Spinal Tap was immortalized in the 1984 mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap," which was re-released on VHS/DVD and in theaters last year. The group's short North American tour continues tomorrow (June 6) in Anaheim, Calif.

Here is Spinal Tap's set list:
"Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight"
"Cash on Delivery"
"Hell Hole"
"Back from the Dead"
"Rainy Day Sun"
"Heavy Duty"
"Clam Caravan"
"Sex Farm"
"Stonehenge"
"The Majesty of Rock"
"Stinkin' Up the Great Outdoors"
"Rock'N'Roll Creation"
"(Listen to the) Flower People"
"Gimme Some Money"
"Christmas With the Devil"
"Bitch School"
"Break Like the Wind"

Encore:
"All the Way Home"
"Short and Sweet"
"Big Bottom"

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

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