One of the benefits of having a child with almost total recall is being able to ask a question with the confidence of receiving an absolute answer. When I asked Ben how many times we had seen Justin Roberts, there was a split-second of calculation (I don't remember the exact number, but it was impressive). Just counting venues, there's Symphony Space and New Victory Theater as well as World Cafe in Philly.
We returned to Symphony Space on Saturday, December 10 for a performance by Justin and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. The last time Justin played there (November 2015), it was a stripped-down three-man show with Liam Davis and Gerald Dowd. Going further back (April 2015) was our last show with the full band. So we were stoked and ready to see full-band versions of songs from the latest CD, LEMONADE.
The band brought out some rarely-played songs, such as their ballad "Wishing You A Holiday" and a rocking "Jingle Bells." Since it was coincidentally Justin's birthday, "It's Your Birthday" drew special significance from the crowd.
I would normally shoot 3-4 videos from the one-hour show. That's been my procedure at this venue and other facilities for the last 10+ years. However midway through my third recording, I felt a tap on my shoulder. "Excuse me, sir..." This has happened before. The ensuing conversation can go two ways, either "You're blocking my child's view" or in this case, a staffer informing me that "house management prohibits videos except of your own child enjoying the show."
I don't know who instructed him to shut me down but I didn't protest. I matter-of-factedly stated I've recorded songs before – for my blog – including this performer and this venue. Then I turned off the camcorder and enjoyed the rest of the performance. Which was very entertaining.
The show wrapped with the band doing an encore. "We're from Chicago and we're quite happy with how the baseball season ended," Justin said. Then the band launched into a spirited rendition of "Pop Fly." A reminder that as we prepare for winter, spring training is just around the corner. And summer music and sunny songs are just a playlist click away.
Purchase Justin's latest CD, LEMONADE, from his website.