I liked “Spinal Tap” a lot. (Seen it five or six times.) And I thought “A Mighty Wind” was pretty funny. (Seen it once.) But do I like either of those films enough to truly enjoy “Unwigged and Unplugged,” an acoustic show featuring Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest — the actors and writers behind the films?
At the musicians’ show on Wednesday at the Paramount, the die-hards came out and sang along, quoted the movie and dropped every “Spinal Tap” reference possible. They even had the opportunity to ask the actors questions during a Q&A segment, although given the ridiculous level of fandom at the show, the quality of questions was poor.
But while the men worked their tails off on stage, playing an impressive assortment of instruments, I failed to see the draw of hearing many of these songs acoustic — save for the Folksmen stuff. Hearing “Stonehenge” or “Bitch School” on acoustic instruments was anti-climactic.
And granted, Shearer, McKean and Guest couldn’t have been more clear about the intentions of this tour. Unwigged. No costumes. Unplugged. No electric guitars. But something inside me thought the songs would transcend the instrumentation and shtick. But sadly I was wrong.
None of this takes away from the group’s genius. The show made me want to watch “Spinal Tap” again — just to remember that defining moment made up of electricity, volume and ridiculousness.
Ricardo Baca is the founder and co-editor of Reverb and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post. He is also the executive director of the Underground Music Showcase, Colorado’s premier festival of local music. Follow his whimsies at Twitter, his live music habit at Gigbot and his iTunes addictions at Last.fm.
Joe McCabe is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.