Gettin' Wiggly With It

Last Thursday afternoon I went by myself to see the Wiggles at the Verizon Center. Thankfully, this story doesn't end with me saying "and now I have to put a big sign in my front yard every time I move." I went because I lost a bet to J. Freedom about whether the Van Halen tour would actually make it to D.C. or implode before it got here. I bet on implosion and I lost. The loser had to cover the Wiggles show, and since I take my betting very seriously (also why I don't bet all that often), I sucked it up and headed off to see Murray, Jeff, Anthony and that new guy, Sam. Observations after the jump.

* I don't want to contribute to the disillusionment of any kids out there, but I think the Wiggles were using some recorded backing tracks throughout the performance. Sometimes Purple Wiggle Jeff was behind the drum kit rocking out but other times he was dancing around ... and the drums sounded the same! That's not to say that Murray's guitar wasn't plugged in for a bunch of tunes and that he didn't offer up a nice "Stairway to Heaven" intro before launching into a scorching "Play Your Guitar With Murray," complete with a giant, inflatable Murray balloon. Very Spinal Tap-ish.

* From the second I walked into the arena, I made sure to have my pen and pad out at all times. I was not going to let anyone think I was there for any reason other than reporting. I applied this same technique about halfway through a Kaiser Chiefs show I reviewed back in April, but for different reasons.

* Usually when I'm walking on the concourse of Verizon Center I see plenty of people with their hands full carrying multiple beers. Not the case on this afternoon. Just people with their hands full carrying multiple babies.

* There were a few similarities between the Wiggles show and the (stunning, fabulous) Morrissey show at Constitution Hall earlier in the month. Concertgoers brought flowers to both. At the Morrissey show, people brought gladiolas and a few attempted to throw them onto the stage. At the Wiggles show the little tykes brought roses for Dorothy the Dinosaur, since she enjoys munching on them. Instead of throwing the roses on stage, the Wiggles dancers come out and collect them. The Wiggles dancers also collect bones for Wag the Dog and they collected some birthday cupcakes, as well. It's quite a racket they've got going.

Another similarity is that at both Wiggles and Morrissey shows, fans rush the stage. Moz fans jump up, hug their idol, then get wrestled to the ground by security. Wiggles fans waddle up to the stage - which at about eight feet off the ground towers above them - and wave at Captain Feathersword or Wags the Dog for a few seconds. Then Mom sighs, gets up from her chair and goes to collect the wee ones and bring them back to their seats.

* One of the musical highlights was "Move Your Arms Like Henry," Henry being one of the many side characters - in this case a fun-loving octopus. Like most Wiggles songs, it was bouncy, repetitive and had an accompanying dance routine. This dance routine consisted of simply flopping your arms around. During the song, I looked down to the arena floor and there were hundreds of kids - some of them drooling, some of them shouting randomly - twirling around, arms flailing in every which direction. It was like the Grateful Dead concert I never got to attend.

* Definite highlight was "Fruit Salad," although set-closer "Big Red Car" was pretty catchy as well. But when I walked out of the Verizon Center after the hour and a half performance (nobody was complaining that "back in the day the band played for four hours!") all I had in my head was "Fruit salad ... yummy yummy ... fruit salad ... yummy yummy." In fact, a week later, that chorus is still lodged in my cranium.

By David Malitz |  November 15, 2007; 8:30 AM ET Lost Bets , Wiggles
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what a blast. sounds like the perfect training concert experience for youngins. something like having training wheels on a bike and then being set free. it's a must on my list for next time. any guys looming around looking for single moms?

Posted by: frank | November 15, 2007 9:48 AM

My boy just turned three, and I'm desperately trying to keep the Wiggles a secret. Seriously...isn't "Walking On The Moon" by the Police just as much of a great kid's song? And anything upbeat by the Brian Setzer Orchestra is perfect kids dancing music

Posted by: 23112 | November 15, 2007 10:58 AM

Somebody bought my son a Wiggles toy guitar that plays Wiggles songs and generates guitar sounds that allow you to play music in one key. It's horrible, which is why it stays at my parents' house, BUT it has a guitar sound that sounds JUST like the opening guitar on Cinerama's "Comedienne."

Posted by: Jet Age Eric | November 15, 2007 12:29 PM

Just to bring this back to Bruce...I've seen them both (20 times for Bruce vs. 3 times for The Wiggles), and The Wiggles are second only to Bruce in the energy they expend on stage. Exiting the MCI Center after the first time our family saw them, I told my husband it was a Springsteen show on training wheels. Anthony (the Blue Wiggle, I think; definitely the Cute Wiggle) has even been known to play a little Bruce during a Wiggles performance.

See? It's all about Bruce!!

Posted by: Jersey Mom | November 15, 2007 4:40 PM

Hey, 23112, prententious too-hip-for-your-own-good much?

I 'spose you'll be one of those parents who take their kids to a cultural tour of old Prague instead of Disneyland, too.

Posted by: proxl | November 16, 2007 6:55 PM

PS, yes, I do know how to spell pretentious. I don't know how to type, though.

Posted by: proxl | November 16, 2007 7:00 PM

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