Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Fourth

There's something distinctly American about the way we celebrate our birth as a nation. In the small towns and big cities across America, it always comes down to family, flags and fireworks. From my home in Arlington, across the river from the Nation's capital, I could see the grand pyrotechnical display from over the rooftops. But the day was over for me by then, and after being on the road most of the weekend, it was time to get a better view on public television. (Besides, I can always re-create my own here.)

The night before, we went to Wolf Trap to see Michael Bublé, a Canadian singer of so-called "traditional pop" in the vein of Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, and the like. The Washington Post said of him: "Clearly, the Vancouver native is better off swinging, though sometimes even that tack isn't fail-proof... Buble's breezy musicality and pop enthusiasms can't always compensate for what his voice lacks -- in a word, personality." (July 1 2005) But what the hell do they know? They'd probably fall all over Rod Stewart pulling the same schtick. That being said, I wasn't sure what to expect from Bublé. I mean, Sal had to talk me into seeing a guy whose main audience is a bunch of women who swoon over his boyish appearance and a voice that -- the Post notwithstanding -- is a shoe-in for Jack Jones. But when Bublé introduced himself by thanking all the husbands and boyfriends who came to see him, he had my attention after that. Of course, from way up in the back of the lawn section, we had people's attention for a few minutes as we couldn't stop swing dancing on the picnic blanket. My favorite was a piece he co-wrote on his latest CD "It's Time," a tune entitled "Home":
Another summer day
Has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home
Okay, the Madonna number wasn't bad either. The audience played their part very well. Bublé knew how to show his gratitude. After commenting on how he must have looked like an ant to the people out on the lawn, he proceeded to run off the stage and head for... you guessed it. What a trooper!

I celebrated the Fourth itself by fulfilling a promise to a gal who'd been in this country for three years and still hadn't fulfilled a long-held wish. I took Sal to Luray Caverns -- yet another installment of our "search for the real America." I had last been there when I was a kid nearly forty years ago. They've fixed up the place real nice since then.

(UPDATE: Bublé comes off better after the fact, in a Washington Post review to be accessed here).

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