Walt Disney Concert Hall

November 22, 2006

I went to a concert here over the weekend – if you spin around in that panoramic image, the seats between the organ & the stage were where the missus & I sat.  Randy Newman was the act, who I’ve seen a few times before, but he’s always good for a show.  One of my favorite songwriters ever, and criminally overlooked.  There’s both karmic justice and rich irony in the fact that he’s a ridiculously wealthy musician, but only for his frivolous children’s songs from Pixar movies, etc. 

All during the show I kept thinking “this one, this is my favorite” right until the next song began, but in thinking it through after the fact, my clear favorite is the song Sail Away.  Written from the point of view of a 17th centry slave trader trying to sell the captured Africans on the benefits of slavery, it’s just about the perfect mix of lovely song & horrible subject matter.

In America you’ll get food to eat
Won’t have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You’ll just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
It’s great to be an American

Ain’t no lions or tigers-ain’t no mamba snake
Just the sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake
Everybody is as happy as a man can be
Climb aboard, little wog-sail away with me

Sail away-sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay
Sail away-sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay

In America every man is free
To take care of his home and his family
You’ll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree
You’re all gonna be an American


  1. Yep. That’s pretty creepy.

  2. Two posts in a row involving monkeys. Now THAT’S creepy!

    I love the Disney Hall – I think I’d go see damn near anyone/thing there just to get in and look around. We went to see Handl’s Messiah a few Christmases ago, and everyone is so aware of the amazing acoustics that after an extended period of soft music, everyone who had been stiffling a cough let loose during a crescendo.

  3. I don’t know RN at all. I have to find some of his music… Where to start?

  4. Get Good Old Boys, it’s probably his best work. Bear in mind that everything he sings is not necessarily what he himself thinks, but more like an author writing from the point of view of a specific character. So some of the songs express unpleasant viewpoints…

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