Monday, August 29, 2016

"Love, Love, Love"

“We love you!”

A welcome sentiment, to be sure.  More gratefully, by far, received than…

“You’re roobish!”


“We love you!”

Shouted from a crowd to a performer – or performers – onstage, though more likely to a single entertainer, as loving a group can prove pinpointingly problematic.

AUDIENCE MEMBER TO THE ONSTAGE BEATLES:  “We love you!… Though we are less enthusiastic about Ringo!”

Then there’s the problem of speaking unsolicitedly for the entire audience. 

We love you!” 

I mean, sure, the people are there, demonstrating some modicum of interest.  But their mere presence could reflect anything, including, “I couldn’t get tickets for the ‘Stones’” and “My date wanted to come and I was hoping to get lucky afterwards.”  Hearing shouts of “We love you!” one can imagine other audience members thinking, if not outwardly mumbling,

“Well I wouldn’t go that far.”

I don’t know about you, but I cannot see myself professing public affection for an entertainer.  Not that it’s scary or difficult.  An anonymous “We love you!’ from a darkened auditorium, and it’s over.  The risk is minimal.  Little chance you’ll called up on stage and told, “Prove it!”

All right.  So what brings all this up?  (Some people care about that.)

A review of a Barbra Streisand concert at L.A.’s Staples Center.  Barbra, who’s been performing for six decades, is releasing a new album.  Ipso facto – a series of accompanying promotional concerts.

Here’s what happened at the reviewed event.

Barbra delivers one of her trademark numbers – “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, or something she recorded with Neil Diamond – the audience goes predictably crazy and someone from the audience shouts out, “We love you!”

To which the verbally nimble Ms. Streisand, when she could have simply said “Thank you” responds…


Which struck me as… hmph.  (Not a pejorative “hmph”, but a skeptical “hmph.”)

I read this and I’m immediately thinking, “What exactly should be taken from the response, ‘Still?’”

What initially comes to mind is,

“That’s a long time to love me.”  (The assumption being that the love was of six decades’ duration, although it is possible it was a spontaneous reaction to the previous song.)

My subsequent reaction to “Still?”

“I understand loving me when I was young and vibrant, but you actually love this?”
(Implication:  I have plenty of days when I don’t love ‘this’.”)

And my final thought about “Still?”:

“I understand your loving me originally – I’m Barbra Streisand! – but still?’” 
Moving on… considering performers also include politicians….

“We love you!”


Okay, that’s sweet.  (Nixon never said that.)  The thing is, if he really loved us, how come the president never says, “I love you” to us first.  It’s always a reaction.  Leaving some of us – the highly emotional contingent – warily suspicious of his sincerity.

When stepdaughter Rachel was young and going to a party, I’d say, “You look beautiful.”  To which she would inevitably reply,

“You have to say that.”

That’s how it feels when the president’s “I love you” comes second.  What exactly at that point are his options?

One additional comment in this context…

You call out “We love you!” to a president because shouting “I love you!” could find you surrounded immediately by Secret Service agents.  (Their perhaps over-zealous rationale:  “I love you.  Michelle has you.  But a certain action on my part will have us bonded forever in the history books.” 

It’s not a smart move.  One “I love you!” and you’re in a room in the back, facing hostile questions and psychological profiling.  Safer, by far, in this situation:  We love you!”

My last and favorite public “We love you!”, one I actually witnessed in person…

James Taylor performing at the Universal Amphitheater – wrapping up “Fire and Rain” or maybe “Sweet Baby James”, and someone from the audience calls out,

“We love you!”

The onstage Taylor, seemingly familiar with this reaction, shoots back,

“That’s because you don’t know me.”

Not really what you expected.  But eminently quotable down the line.

The adoration of the multitudes.  Something you dream about in your bedroom.  (Did I just give too much away?)  My imagined reaction, if “I love you!” happened to me:

Instantaneous blushing.

Hardly historic.

But it’s better than “Still?”


Wendy M. Grossman said...

A fan once proposed marriage to Steffi Graf from the stands when she was in mid-match. Her reply - which has always seemed to me uncharacteristic of the person she actually was, but you're mid-match at Wimbledon, and making coming up with good jokes isn't your top priority - was "How much money do you have?"


JED said...

I went to a James Taylor concert during the time he was married to Carly Simon. Someone in the audience shouted, "Where's Carly?" I guess he was hoping to find out if she was going to make an unannounced guest appearance. Mr. Taylor said, "I thought she was with you."

Ed said...

Carly Simon said in her autobiography that she and Taylor don't speak anymore. And she's not ok with that. So I'm assuming, he's stonewalling her. Maybe he really is too vain?

Saw Barbra do an interview Sunday Morning (I think) and the interviewer pointed out that in 6 decades of entertaining, she's only done about 100 concerts. She's not exactly overwhelming her fans with performances so maybe that's why she said "still?"

Or not! And appropriately, I think I read that today is Elliott Gould's birthday.