Monday, January 05, 2009

My Cruise Talent Show Performance

While I was on a cruise with my family, I participated in the ship's talent show. This show was hosted by our faithful Cruise Director, Big Tex, a Texan who was actually not that big (although at the time of our cruise, he claimed that he had lost 80 pounds in the last 6 months, the video of him linked here appears to be before he shed the pounds).

I can't specifically recall why this seemed like a good idea at the time. Boredom maybe? Big Tex came over the ship's intercom in his authoritative radio voice to give us another one of his famous "Tex Messages" (awesome, I know!) and when he said that there were still some spots open for the talent show, I just decided to go see what it was all about. When I got there, there was a book that listed the songs that the ship's band knew, and sure enough, my karaoke favorite, "Crying" by Roy Orbison was on this list (although I later discovered that aside from the band leader, nobody else in the band had ever even heard "Crying" before - This was a list of songs that the band could probably play, not necessarily songs they had ever heard before, a testament to their ability to sight read/fake it. I have always been strangely fascinated by this breed of musician, as I myself am not much of a sight reader).

I told them I'd be doing "Crying," and ten minutes later someone came back with photocopies of the fake book version of the song, one for me, and one for each member of the band.

The band leader asked his band if anyone besides him had ever heard this song. Silence followed. Not to worry, the band leader quickly rattled off some instructions and twenty seconds later the musicians all nodded their heads and seemed to "get" what this song was about despite never having heard it. We ran through it, and it went fine, except for the fact that neither I or the person who transcribed the song realized that the second verse has one extra measure during the line "You don't love me, and I'll always be..." At first the band leader said that they played it wrong, but I later realized that the transcription was wrong. So I had to mentally adjust, and I also had to make it a point to memorize the lyrics. No karaoke screen now. Crap.

Showtime came at 10 PM, and my brother Greg was there to record the sound of this event. The result is below, but I think that the most memorable part of this experience was not the song, but the awkward banter that takes place between Big Tex and I after the song. This gem starts at about 3:00.

I guess it's true, when you're on top of the world as the cruise director on a Carnival Cruise, going to graduate school to become a professor of Japanese is kind of absurd.

I received a trophy in the shape of our vessel, the M.S. Fantasy, and a $10 gift certificate to a store in Cozumel that I later found out only sold what appeared to be fancy women's clothing. $10 might have bought me one red plastic bracelet. But let's face it, the real reward was that this performance made me somewhat of a minor (minor!) celebrity on the cruise, my presence elicited awkward and misdirected praise for the remainder of our voyage.


Funny thing about this trophy

As I was getting off the boat, I had my trophy tucked into the side pocket of my Upward Bound backpack, and there was a woman behind me with two small children. She got my attention and said to her boys "Look, he got a trophy too!" She then asked me what I did to get my trophy. I told her that I had done a song in the talent show. She then told me that her sons had each received trophies identical to mine for decorating cookies while on the boat. Yup, decorating cookies.


sarah k. said...

He had to have made that slip about the "cheap se---, the-uh balcony" on purpose. Except that later, he really does sound mentally challenged. That was awesome. Way to go, winning a prestigious trophy only reserved for people who have distinguished themselves in such unique and remarkable ways.

Shannon said...

That is outstanding.

"Decorating cookies." Nice one.

Anonymous said...

whoa. didn't know you could sing like that.

Jennifer J. said...

oh man oh man....
that is one amazing recording.