It is absolutely not a secret to regular readers of my little blog that I’m completely a child of the 1980s, love nearly all TV, movies and music about the era, and kind of think, at least musically, the ’80s were the best decade of music ever. The Sirius XM 80s on 8 channel is by far the most listened to in the Lewis-mobile, and much of my iPhone is filled with songs from that decade.
So when I tell you the wife and I took in a Pat Benatar/Melissa Etheridge double bill at the Beacon Theatre last week, you shouldn’t be surprised.
Loved, loved, loved the show. They each played for 90 minutes each, and while of course the only people in the crowd were aged 40 and up, and of course neither artist has had a hit since Bill Clinton was President, I was inspired by watching them. Here’s why:
It’s easy to make fun of aging rockers like Benetar and Etheridge, playing their greatest hits to an audience that knows them by heart, even if neither of their voices was as strong as they used to be (Benetar definitely used some pre-recording on the high notes of “We Belong” and “Invincible.”)
But they were inspiring because they were still out doing what they love. Singing the same songs for 20-30 years must get boring and repetitive, but both stars put everything they had into it, even at their age (Pat Benatar is 63! Seems impossible). They now play for 3-5,000 people instead of four times that number. But they still care enough about their audience to put on a great show, and no one left the Beacon feeling cheated.
As I rocked out to “All Fired Up” and “Come to My Window,” Benetar and Etheridge reminded that excellence is always to be appreciated, and that it doesn’t come easy. To be still near their best after so long is one hell of an accomplishment.
**Next up today, speaking of music, my dream girl Anna Kendrick teamed up with the fabulous James Corden for a really cool and funny skit a few weeks ago on his show, that I somehow missed.
It’s sort of a “history of a relationship using only lyrics to love songs,” and it goes from great at the start, rocky in the middle, and great at the end (like so many relationships, right?)
Anna’s voice is fantastic, Corden’s a great performer, and I just really loved this. Especially the frying pan bit.
**Finally today, a few words about the Wimbledon champions of 2016. Serena Williams once again dominated for two weeks, winning a very close final against Angelique Kerber and proving that at worst, Serena is among the top 2-3 players of all time.
Hard to believe this was her first major title since last Wimbledon, when she won her third Slam of the year and headed into the U.S. Open looking for a calendar Grand Slam.
But she was entirely worthy and by far the best player this year at Wimbledon, and I again must give her kudos (since I have ripped her plenty in the past) for being so gracious and humble-sounding in her post-match interviews and comments. And winning the doubles title with sister Venus was pretty cool, too.
The story of the Williams sisters, as much attention as it has gotten, continues to be underappreciated. Two sisters from Compton growing up and being this dominant, and being good for so long, is amazing.
Also, this Serena point against Christina McHale in the second round was as good a point as you’ll see:
As for the men, well, of course I was very disappointed Roger Federer lost in the semis on Friday, but part of me was glad to see some “new blood” finally break through from the next generation of men’s players. Milos Raonic had a terrific tournament, but Sunday he ran into the guy who was simply better.
Andy Murray, remarkably, seemed to play better Sunday than he has all year, and he’s been to all three major finals. Murray was fantastic in all aspects Sunday, and when he won his 2nd Wimbledon title, he broke down much more emotionally than he did when he broke that long British title drought in 2013.
While I’m not a huge Murray fan (his on-court language and behavior toward his coaches/friends box is deplorable, and he has the worst body language of any top athlete I’ve ever seen), I admire how he’s persevered while clearly being the Ringo Starr of the “Big 4” of men’s tennis. He took advantage of Novak Djokovic’s upset loss and grabbed the crown.
And yes, I did think several times while watching the finals this weekend, “Man, I can’t believe I was actually there during this tournament!”
With Serena going for a record-breaking 23rd Slam title and the Djokovic-Murray rivalry heating up again, this year’s U.S. Open is going to be awesome. Can’t wait.