The Smother Brothers made their only regional visit to the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, March 13, 2003. The comedy duo entertained a sold out house in the beautiful Dutch countryside with their unique style of vaudevillian humor and folk music.
The Kingston Trio appeared as the opening act for the rural folk music fans assembled. Both folk combos share a common routine of singing standards and stand up. Tom and Dick Smothers personify the perfect pairing of a slapstick clown and straight man in their two man team. The Kingston Trio blend harmonies with memories for grade A entertainment.
The Smothers Brothers
Tom and Dick Smothers eagerly appeared on stage before a packed house. Immediately after a brief musical prologue, Tom segued into a bumbling monologue repeating the word historical. The entertaining duo proceeded to perform a dog-themed vaudeville routine. "Dog Songs (The Dog Trilogy)" and "What Kind Of Dog Is It?" combined music and humor to deliver the orphaned punch line "female".
Dick sang lead on the Spanish lyric for "Cuando Caliente El Sol" with Tom adding harmony vocals. Tomas segued into a Spanish routine that was amusing as he tweaked Ricardo in a foreign tongue. Tom exited the stage allowing Dick to introduce the "Yo-Yo Man" skit. Tom strutted around the stage, demonstrating his skill and technique with a yellow yo-yo. For the Blast Off trick, Tom caught the yo-yo in his pants pocket.
Dick narrated a video screen Smothers Family Album presentation complete with archived television clips from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Family photos of the Smothers family showed the two brothers and their little sister during younger years. The visual view of their yesteryears acted as a fond remembrance to their mother and father.
Beatle George Harrison appeared in a cameo spot with the brothers. The bombastic clip of Pete Townshend smashing his guitar during "My Generation" performed on The Who's American television debut from 1967, acknowledged their cutting-edge programming.
A Comedy Hour clip of the duo singing "We're Still Here" was abruptly interrupted as the Smothers Brothers burst into this song from the darkened stage (as a gesture to negate their April 1969 cancellation).
To close out the show, Dick took the lead on "Impossible Dream" with Tom adding an impressive harmony vocal before commencing a rap solo to a backing track. Together, the Smothers Brothers ended with a soaring a cappella crescendo.
After the concert, the woman seated next to me, Karen Frisch, invited me to join her back stage to meet the Smothers Brothers. Frisch had been a member of their fan club JUST SAY BROS!. Tom Smothers came out first and chatted with us. Dick Smothers was very kind and friendly. Both brothers signed the back of my ticket stub.
I asked Tom about jamming with John Lennon on the 1969 hotel recording of "Give Peace A Chance". He said it was a fond memory of his and remembered the scene as a party atmosphere. I told Tom his participation was a recent game-show question. Lennon sang the name-dropping lyric "Tommy Smothers" in his anti-Vietnam War protest song.
The Kingston Trio
The Kingston Trio opened the evening for the Smothers Brothers in Lancaster County. The classic American Trio has undergone personnel changes. Guitarist Bob Shane is the remaining original member joined by Banjo player & guitarist George Grove, and guitarist Bob Haworth. Paul Gabrielson is their silent bass partner.
The Kingston Trio had the hometown crowd in stitches with their witty repartee. In between the funny bits and pieces, the group sang their timeless tunes as an added performance bonus. Lively and engaging, the Trio warmed all hearts with their classic covers and golden oldies.
The Kingston Trio opened with "Hard Ain't It Hard". Grove sang a moving solo rendition of "It Was A Very Good Year". Haworth reappeared on stage to play a large hand saw for a humorous instrumental version of "Home On The Range". The band regrouped for a rousing harmony on the 1958 Kingston Trio classic "Tom Dooley", and for an encore, the Trio performed "Corey Corey".
Smothers Brothers setlist: Timpani Roll * Boil That Cabbage Down Boys! * Opening Talk & Welcome * Madrigal (The Fa La La Song) * Dog Songs (The Dog Trilogy) * What Kind Of Dog Is It? * Cuando Caliente El Sol * Dick's Big Brother Talk * Yo Yo Man * Video Family & the Comedy Hour * We're Still Here * Impossible Dream * Bows
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Reveling in Sibling Rivalry
The Smothers Brothers embody American Entertainment
by Timothy Tilghman