Thursday, December 21, 2006

Guitarmageddon it

Last night, "Rock and Awe: The Countdown to Guitarmageddon" went down on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, where Stephen Colbert met (and subsequently ducked) the challenge from The Decemberists in a guitar solo duel. It was a night that saw Morley Safer of 60 Minutes, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, New York governor-elect Eliot Spitzer, Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo, Peter Frampton, and none other then Henry Kissinger, who beckoned Colbert to shred with a call to "crank it up."

(View the episode here.)

The whole thing began with a green screen challenge that Colbert made for his viewers (involving him jumping around with a light saber.) When The Decemberists followed suit with their own green screen challenge ("Re-animate The Decemberists,") Colbert called the band out as 'coat-tail riders,' and counter-challenged his viewers to infultrate The Decemberists challenge with his light saber antics (the best of the Colbert-Decemberist mashup here.) The Decemberists then counter-challenged Colbert's counter-challenge by proposing a guitar duel, to which Colbert replied "you walked right into my trap."

And so the stage was set for last night... and what a night it was. Before they even got to introducing the judges, Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo came out and performed a bouncy Beatlesque ode to the challenge called "Oh Stephen," with lyrics like "who's the television host who understands what matters most?" It might be some time before I'm able to get that tune out of my head.

Chris Funk, lead guitarist for The Decemberists led off with some favorable riffage (for a hyper-literate college act,) enough so that Colbert looked nervous. But Colbert had some tricks (make that friends) up his sleeve (even though he pulled off those sleeves.) First he called upon Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick (who wrote and performed the Colbert theme song,) borrowing his five-necked guitar ("I might shred so hard tonight that I'll blowout the first four necks.") Then, after faking a finger injury after the first few notes, he called on Peter Frampton to finish the solo.

Needless to say, the fix was in (there was even rumored to be a bribe to Spitzer,) and Colbert crowned himself (and Frampton) the winner(s.) And what did he win? A copy of The Decemberists' The Crane Wife. They then ended the program with Rick Neilsen leading them on an all-star jam to The Colbert Report theme song.

Colbert may have walked away with the... uh... er... spoils, but, as Kissinger so aptly put it, "tonight, I think the American People won." Truly one of the most hilarious (and oddest) 30 minutes of television I've ever witnessed.

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J Shifty said...

Thank you several times over for that smoothly narrated and annotated report. I missed the episode as it transpired, and you wrapped the whole shebang into a perfect gift box!

Perfect. Except, did he say "Nick Nielsen"? Ah, who can argue.

Keep on rocking in 2007!

drake leLane said...

Yes... you're right, he did refer to him as 'Nick.' I took it as a 'recorded live' flub.

Thanks, J... and a rocking new year to you and yours as well.

The Covalent Bond said...

I must say that was great! I would never have been aware of it, if it wasn't for your journalistic skills.

Happy Holidays

Freudian Slip said...

What a fantastic half hour of television that was. I enjoyed reading the recap here :)