With Kid Creole and the Coconuts, you never knew whether you were zoot-suitin', East Side Gangin', crashin' the Copacabana, or on a sea cruise, but one thing was certain: you were in for an evening of righteous entertainment and a mean mess of git off'n yer booty music. August Darnell (KC hisself) was a fine writer, composer, arranger, director, singer, and choreographer, and he also lost no points when knocked up against Bette Midler and other cabaretic performers. This two-fer DVD set from WDR/Rockpalast preserves the dynamic stage extravaganza of the enterprise permanently. KC & the Cocos may have been been a cool-ass LP band, sure, but when you caught them live, they ratcheted up the attraction five times over…and here you get four full hours of 'em. Whooo-eeee!!! What Second Republican damn Depression? We got us some swingin' times, y'all! Don't bogart that margarita and clear the dance floor, I'm ready to boogie.
Boasting a 13-piece, tight, rollicking ensemble, Creole fully intended to create a multi-ethnic, multi-genre stage carnival and succeeded handsomely. Somewhere between rock, jazz, latino, theatrical, and some kind of New York City stand-up comic Kurt Weill doin' the do with Lionel Hampton, the band is energetic, ironic, sassy, eternally mugging, and savvy. More, Darnell couldn't have found a better foil than in Coati Mundi (Andy Hernandez), a lithe, peripatetic, athletic, and hilarious cat who at first looks looks like a period version of The Honeymooners' Ed Norton that got Sha Na Na epiphanized. The guy then proceeds to transform even more flamboyantly as the show progresses. The whole Kid Creole enchilada went over so well with the German people that the band was asked in twice in a single year, first at Satory Halls, then at Grugahalle, both large venues.
The performances feature a number of hits—Annie, I'm not your Daddy, Stool Pigeon, I'm a Wonderful Thing, Baby, and others—as well as greatly extended versions of Maladie Amour, In the Jungle, and more. In truth, the entire smorgasbord is non-stop, just like a Broadway revue. Lucy had her Ricky Ricardo, we have Kid Creole, and this set leaves no doubt as to that. Watching these two gigs demonstrates that this group was destined to make the breakthrough that it did. My only question now is: when's the reunion? Oh, and I suggest you split up the discs between successive nights or maybe even play 'em on different weeks because no one should have that much feel-good all in four straight hours. Where do you think we are? Heaven? Welllllllll, if Rockpalast keeps releasing these amazing DVDs, you just might be right.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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