SLCR #196: Herman’s Hermits (November 20, 2013)
After the success – and you can define that however you see fit – of the Bobby Curtola show in September, Mika, my dad, my stepmom, and I reconvened at the casino for Herman’s Hermits.
To be clear, this was Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone. Depending on what country you’re in, I could get into legal trouble for calling them the wrong thing. Wikipedia goes into great detail about the split between lead singer Noone and the rest of the band. The short version is that they’re like the Beach Boys, with different band members fighting over the name (and variants thereof). My dad repeatedly reassured me that we were getting the real deal because Peter Noone WAS Herman. Good to know.
Like the last casino show, we went for dinner at said casino beforehand. And like last time, every senior citizen in Regina had the same idea, so (like last time) we wound up spending a half-hour in line before getting seated. We made it to the show on time but it was a bit of a photo finish. I really need to leverage Toastmasters to perfect my elevator pitch for eating at a different restaurant a block away and avoiding this nonsense. I mean, the casino restaurant isn’t bad but it’s decidedly unmemorable.
Peter Noone is in his late 60s, a fact he mentioned repeatedly. He looks great for his age, in a way that non-surgically-altered 60+ year olds can’t manage. He had CDs for sale in the lobby; maybe his plastic surgeon should have been booking appointments at the merch table too. There’d be money in that.
I will confess to not doing detailed internet research, but I’m pretty sure that the rest of Noone’s band had nothing to do with the original Herman’s Hermits. The remaining originals toured without Noone for a while and just called themselves The Hermits; maybe Noone’s band should be named… okay, I just spent too long in an online thesaurus, trying to come up with something more clever than “Herman & Whoever He Could Get.” No luck. Moving on.
I went into great detail about my history with my dad and his love of Bobby Curtola’s music. However, when it comes to Herman’s Hermits, I think of one thing and one thing only – Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley skipping down the beach in The Naked Gun, hand-in-hand, clotheslining another couple to the tune of I’m Into Something Good. So when Noone opened with that one, I thought I might be in for a whole lot of songs that I didn’t know.
Of course, this was not the case. Herman’s Hermits had lots of hits and Noone played a big ol’ pile of them – I’m Henry VIII, I Am; Silhouettes; Sea Cruise; There’s a Kind of Hush; Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter (which I had somehow never actually heard before, despite being a very famous song with a memorable title)… I’m sure I could give you a more complete list if I wasn’t writing this nearly two full months after the show. Funny how that works.
This does remind me of a funny moment a while after the show, when I mentioned that Herman’s Hermits didn’t seem to have written very many of their hits. In response to this, my father explained the concept of a “cover song” to me, using the small words and patient tone with which one might talk to a preschooler. “You see, a song like ‘Sea Cruise,’ that was a hit for Herman’s Hermits. But before that, it was a hit for someone else.” I think I did a good job of nodding earnestly. I had to; he was paying for lunch.
So how was the show? It was pretty okay, if dangerously close to one of those just-a-show shows that doesn’t leave me with much to talk about.
There were a handful of jokes that… well, they likely wouldn’t have gone over at most shows I go to. Not offensive things, just eye-rollers; things along the lines of “my father is Mick Jagger, and my mother is Elton John,” and one unfortunate attempt at a South Asian accent. You play to your audience, I guess.
However, that was a minor thing. As a whole, the show was a lot more polished than Curtola’s, and Noone’s voice was stronger. Noone also did a good job of tailoring the show to the crowd (and not just in a dated-joke way), working Regina’s name into one of the songs and making references to the unseasonably cold weather and that weekend’s Grey Cup championship game. It showed a degree of effort compared to the usual “I’ve played a lot of shows, but the best crowds are right here in Your Name Here” shtick that too many bands still do (and too many people still fall for).
Ultimately, for a show that my dad picked, this was about as good as it was going to get. I dread the day that the casino books Ray Stevens.
• Neil Young w/Diana Krall (January 17)
• A Tribe Called Red (February 18)
• Ben Folds & the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (May 21)
• Regina Folk Festival (August 8-10)