Between the time we entered the Hamilton and wandered our way through the restaurant looking for Will Call, it was abundantly clear my friend and I were underdressed. Our lack of boat captain hats and aviator glasses were the least of our problems, especially because those were available for purchase at the merch table, along with beer cozies and survivor Yacht Rock Revue t-shirts.
“Are you the photographer for BYT?” the lady at Will Call asked me, eyeing us over, aware of the fact that there wasn’t a shirt collar, expensive wristwatch, nor blue eye between us.
“Sure…yup. That’s me.” I said with a shrug, beginning to regret that I’d promise to snap three or four photos to go with my write-up.
“Where’s your camera?” She said, looking at us incredulously. Guess that was something else I should have worn.
“It’s right here.” I patted the iPhone in my pant’s pocket, instantly wishing I’d pointed to my head instead. That would have really freaked her out. “I’m really a writer. I’m going to write a piece about the show.” I said, and I tried to give a very confident looking nod.
Her response to which was to take my I.D., then somewhat reluctantly handed over the tickets.
For many, yacht rock might not be a familiar term. Especially for you, my fellow snake people, (though the current popularity of the term itself and its growing usage streams from the Web-series, Yacht Rock, so I may be wrong to assume any ignorance), who did not have the pleasure to bask in the W.A.S.P.-y glory of the great white American yuppie’s birth, which occurred sometime in mid-1970’s and grew concordant with the ever-increasing wealth gap.
Yacht Rock: a musical movement brought to you by an unfathomable amount of cocaine—because when you really think about it, it’s truly amazing that Stevie Nicks and David Bowie made it through the 70’s intact. Of course, the event would also not have been possible without the support of others, like white wine spritzer lovers, vocal advocates of the show The Love Boat, and frequent wearers of Polo by Ralph Lauren.
“I feel as if I’ve stepped into Patrick Bateman’s favorite bar,” was my friend’s immediate impression, as we fought our way through the sold out venue, trying to make our way to the bar—which was super goddamn busy due to the very short amount of time it takes for someone to down a wine spritzer, gin and tonic or rum punch—seeking to order two of whatever was their cheapest beer. But that’s when the band broke into Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl.” That’s when the audience lost its collective shit. They sang, I sang; we all sang, though I may have sung louder than others, while attempting to do my best Daryl Hall impression.
“Get this man a microphone and put him on stage,” said a gentleman nearby wearing a captain’s hat, white khaki’s, and a blazer embroidered with little pink horseshoes, which he regretted was not of some more seafaring object. “I heard you singing,” he said, taking a long gulp of his martini.
“Dude, you should be on stage. Seeing as you’re the one fully suited up for the occasion—really, I dig the duds. Mind actually if take a picture?”
“No problem.” He posed with martini close in hand. I took two quick shots, as people bumped into me, fighting to get a better position at the bar. But I was certain one of them would do. There, that was one photo down. Maybe this won’t be so hard, after all.
The next good photo I got also came fairly easily. With a Natty Boh in one hand and my iPhone in the other, I was able to get a decent shot of one of the members of the Yacht Rock Revue as they addressed the audience—“Everyone is looking and sounding particularly smooth today.” Everyone cheered: both the portion of the crowd that had loved these songs since they were original released and the twenty-to-thirty somethings, who, from as far as I could tell, were there and enjoying themselves without any notion of irony.
I showed the photo to my buddy and asked for his option. “Real nice, looks totally professional.” Great, I had two pictures now. At bare minimum I needed just one more. Next I thought I’d try to get something that capture the whole band, all seven of them. This was, however, impossible. Turns out, taking concert photos is hard. Lighting at concerts is awful and everyone on stage is moving so quickly. It’s difficult to actually capture a moment. When I turned the flash on my iPhone camera, I was immediately approached by security. Apparently, live theater isn’t the only place were flash photography is frowned upon.
Not only the whitest show I’ve ever been to, this was also the only show I’ve ever attended where there was an intermission. Which made it feel almost like Yacht Rock Revue had opened for Yacht Rock Revue. The band came out of the gates hot with their second set, breaking into a very respectable cover of Toto’s “African.” The band managed to bring something new to the old standby, changing up the vocal harmonies and speeding up the tempo to a breakneck pace. Then the band broke out into Michael McDonald’s astonishingly funky “I Keep Forgetting.” Again I found myself singing along with total disregard. My buddy gave me a curious look, not understanding where my genuine adoration for the tune had came from—“You really like this song?”
By the time the show was winding down, we were both surprised at how many of the songs we sincerely enjoyed. I mean isn’t everyone down with Billy Joel’s “Still Rock and Roll to Me” or David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance?” Though after hours of these mindless pop hits from the not-so-recent past, the Yacht Rock did start to grind us down. With the opening sax line to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper,” we knew it was time for us to leave. We’d had more than enough of our share of yuppie indulgence.