Just got back from seeing The Polyphonic Spree Holiday Extravaganza 2023 at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas. It was five and a half hours of half-school panto and this classic epic and original band. The vision of Tim DeLaughter (master of ceremonies) goes from incredible soaring majestic songs to a Christmas show for kids including his 9-year-old niece singing Taylor Swift songs…his band Tripping Daisy is a distant memory. Even in epic mode a cover of INXS’ Don’t Change was a surprise which instead of coming across as the dynamic song that it is, it just made me sad for the loss of Michael Hutchence who I once spent a great evening with, staying at is pad that overlooked Hyde Park in Sydney, it was the last time I saw him.
The show was split into the adults and the kids’ evenings. It started with an opossum, an old tortoise, and a 9-foot yellow python from India, not forgetting the reindeer (all real) outside the theatre). There might have been more adults there if they hadn’t had to sacrifice their entertainment for the kids’ entertainment, taking them home as it got late for the 3-12-year-olds, taking them home to bed after their own spectacular that included Confetti Eddie (a magician), Pedal Steel Noah mixing up Tears for Fears with his covers of Joy Division, a contortionist, acrobats and an insane John Buffalo electronic set where a human owl sat on the stage with him – mainly just to look on. Add confetti cannons, balloons, and large rubber balls to bounce around the audience and it was a happy mess for all with the kids from the audience making it to the stage for Silent Night, which it wasn’t.
The day started with an early sesh with Bob in Boston, me going back to bed, and arriving a little late at the studio for our third jam session, John and Salim and I need a band name – suggestions? I was thinking there might be an anagram. When John had to leave for the show, Salim put down a couple of his own songs onto the computer, guides for the rest of us for later. Sarah was engineering, Kevin was overseeing. When it was time to go, Salim dropped us at the All Good café in Deep Ellum and all three wondered if we could walk from there to the Majestic Theatre, haha, Americans and Europeans with their different takes on vehicles versus legs.
After the show, we went backstage (again) and met drummer Jason who we play with in various projects, and guitarist Nick who is also part of the crew we know. We met a couple of members of the 20-strong band – five girl backing singers, French horn, trumpet, trombone, flute, guitar and pedal steel, violin, viola, cello, keyboards, lead guitar, 12-string guitar, bass, drummer, percussionist, and lead singer. A spectacle for sure, ‘Feliz Navidad’, that is, yes, they played their own Christmas set for the kids in red robes before they wowed the adults in the white robes for two hours until half an hour after midnight, but who is clearing up the tons of confetti and burst balloons, they’d need 20 people to have that done before the Saturday show.