Helen's DaveCon 2008 Trip Report
II. The Big Show
By the time we were led to our seats, I was feeling great. Pumped. Excited to see Dave.
We ended up getting split into two groups, half seated together in about rows 2 and 3 of the middle section, and the rest of us in another block over by the band, about the 3rd and 4th rows. I was on the band side, which offers a great view of the show, but I knew that once again I would never get called on for the Q & A. A couple of non-AFLers sitting near us actually complained about the seats (good grief, you are right down in *front*), but we explained that this would give them a much better view. Sitting in the front of the center section, you spend most of the show looking at Tony Mendez's rear end, with your view of Dave completely obstructed by cameras and a big black box containing a portable monitor and a clock. Over by the band side you are a little farther away, but most of the time have a clear line of sight to Dave.
Eddie Brill came out and greeted the audience, mentioning that the "alt letterman people" are here (I'm sure the non-AFL folks had no clue what he was talking about, but we were psyched to get the shout-out), and gave a few instructions (no wooing, yes yes, we know) before showing the Dave Works at Taco Bell video, which I believe I have seen at each and every DaveCon I have attended. Eddie told a few jokes; we were grateful that he had some new (and funny) material this year. Then Eddie introduced Alan Kalter, and I think Biff Henderson, then one by one, the members of the band. Paul as always was introduced last, after the band played one song without him. It's always great to hear the band live in the theater, but I really wish the pages weren't standing right between our seats and the band, jumping up and down with the rhythmic clapping, completely blocking our view of the band.
Another song from the band, and then...the most exciting moment of the day, David Letterman comes running out across the stage, a split second before Eddie introduces him. I've been to the show nine times, and this gets me every time. I know intellectually that I am at the show for the very purpose of seeing Dave, but every time it is a great, heart-stopping surprise when he comes running out.
Foxy, who was sitting front and center, was called on by Dave during the Q & A. This was her fourth time getting called on. I don't think she should be allowed to raise her hand anymore, just as Bill Lehecka is no longer allowed for the same reason. Seriously. Foxy chatted with Dave for a moment, and at one point Dave asked about the guys sitting next to her, was one of them her husband. Foxy just shrugged and said beats me, instead of telling Dave that she was there with 25 of her friends from alt.fan.letterman. Oh, Foxy, Foxy, Foxy. Sheesh :-). Foxy's question did make it into the show, however. She asked why there isn't a likeness of Dave in the was museum. His reply was something like maybe he should go there in person. Referring back to this during the monologue, he struck a wax-figure pose. Nice job, Shirlee, but next time let's give someone else a chance, OK? (WTL, AWTL.)
OK, on with the show! Dave goes running offstage to get his jacket and make his grand entrance, the band starts up the theme, Alan Kalter does the announce, and here comes Dave! Tonight's guests: Jason Bateman, Teri Garr, and musical guest Keyshia Cole.
I had a great sight line to Dave during the monologue and most of his time at the desk. There were several video pieces during Act I (one of which was cut from the broadcast), most of which I ignored because there's no sense watching the monitors when you are in the Ed Sullivan Theater. Watch all the activity that you can't see when you're at home -- the band, the various staff and crew, and most importantly, keep your eyes on Dave. Dave, I can say, appeared to be in a great mood throughout the show. There was lots of joking around and laughing between Dave and Bill Scheft during the commercial breaks, and not a single ass chewing.
Tony Mendez had a pre-taped bit in Act II, an interview with the (supposed) CEO of Chevron. Tony, like the rest of us, isn't happy with gas prices, and the interview ends with Tony hitting the guy over the head with a vase. The best part of this, which was cut from the broadcast, was Dave asking for a replay of part of it when they came back from the break, and teasing Tony about his line reading. It's always fun watching Dave and Tony crack each other up.
After Jason Bateman (who was a decent guest), there was a long break. I had mentioned to Traci before the show that I hoped we'd see Johnny Dark do his B. J. Twain bit, and sing Hooked on a Feeling. Well, we didn't get that exactly, but better yet, we got a new variation. We were treated to Johnny Dark as Francis Albert Lincoln. After the usual "My wife is so ugly" jokes, Johnny Dark as Frank Sinatra dressed as Abe Lincoln sang a rousing rendition of My Way. He sang the entire song all the way through, really selling it, and it just got funnier and funnier as it went on. We were laughing our heads off in the audience, and Dave was grinning ear to ear the entire time. Unfortunately most of the song was edited out of the broadcast, and the result didn't really work as well on TV. It was great in the theater, though.
Some of the AFL group (particularly those in the center section) got on camera during the Act 5 audience sweep. I haven't gone back and watched closely, but I don't think I made it on this time.
We were expecting them to bring Teri Garr out during the break, so that she would be already seated when Dave introduced her. Instead, Dave introduced her from the desk, then walked over to escort her to the desk. She had obvious difficulty walking, and part way to the desk she started to fall. Fortunately Dave grabbed her and kept her from hitting the deck, and helped her back up. Once they made it to the desk, Dave commented that the best part of that was that he got to grab her inappropriately. This got a nice laugh and lightened things up a little. Kudos to Teri Garr -- who not only has Multiple Sclerosis, but suffered a brain anyeurism last year -- for walking out on camera (it must have been her decision), but it was a scary moment when she almost fell on the floor.
The panel with Teri Garr was the highlight of the show. She's still sharp and quick, and it was great to see some of the old chemistry between her and Dave, harkening back to when she was a regular guest on Late Night.
The show finished up with musical guest Keyshia Cole. Yeesh. Had I been watching at home, this would have been an immediate Fast Forward. Traci thought she was lip synching, and afterward she and Micah decided if not outright lip synching, she was at least singing along with a pre-recorded track for reinforcement. The backup dancers were, um, weird.
And that was the show. The time just flies by in the theater, and before you know it Dave is saying goodnight.