Photos, review: Yo Gabba Gabba brings the Fray, more to 1stBank Center - Reverb

Live review: Yo Gabba Gabba @ the 1stBank Center

The man buying a Foofa T-shirt at the merchandise booth in the 1stBank Center summed up Tuesday’s Yo Gabba Gabba concert succinctly – “I don’t know what it is, but this show is like heroin for my kids.”

Yo Gabba Gabba is a cable television show that is part HR Pufinstuf and part MTV before the damned reality craze eliminated the music from the channel. Yo Gabba Gabba communicates to kids but also to hip parents with catchy songs and appearances by bands like Band of Horses, Weezer and Hot Hot Heat.

It is now on the road, like Disney on Ice, Barney and Friends and the other kiddie shows that have cleverly figured out a way to stick a vacuum into the wallets of parents of young children. But Yo Gabba Gabba has something more to offer than giggly songs that make a grown man retch.

On Tuesday at Broomfield’s arena, the costumed characters danced, sang and got the audience grooving in such a way that no one could have left disappointed. I even saw hipsters without kids loving every song.

But there was more than the typical toddler-mania. The show featured guest appearances that were obviously more for the moms and dads than the kids. Gift of Gab, part of the rap duo Blackalicious shouted out an amazing song with words from A-Z. I have no idea what he was saying, but it was pretty intense. Rap star Biz Markie gave the audience a tutorial on beat boxing. And even Isaac Slade and Joe King from the Fray came out to teach the audience how to disco in the special “Dancy Dance” segment of the show.

I went with two of my daughters who are unequivocally Yo Gabba Gabba addicts. I watched them lapse into utter bliss as they were able to see their TV heroes in person, singing songs they know by heart and dances they mimic every night in front of the mirror. In my day, I saw both Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street characters in person, and I never forgot it. I remember even asking Mr. Rogers if he was real. “Yes,” he said, as parents in the audience laughed at the question.

Today, not only do kids get to see TV characters live and on stage, they get full-blown concerts, with confetti, top-notch sound and magnificent visuals. Man, to be a kid today must be unreal. I fear that if now we can even make a bizarre TV show come to life before their eyes, will real life be a let down. Will they expect their dreams always to come true?

I sure hope so. Lucky kids. Today’s entertainment sure beats some old dude hanging up his sweater and changing into sneakers.

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Jeremy Meyer is a politics reporter at The Denver Post and a regular contributor to Reverb.

Michael McGrath is a Denver area photographer. His work is available at Twist and Shout Records. Visit his website.