The Sparks show last night was the exactly the sort of show* you want on a Monday. It started on time at 8pm, no waiting around, no surprise openers, nothing but the pure wonder of the brothers Mael visiting Seattle for the first time ever!
I walked in about 10 minutes late, right as my faaaavorite Sparks song "At Home, At Work, At Play" started. I stopped dead and, I don't know, felt like crying? Is that ridiculous? On the Neptune's cozy stage, Ron was perched behind his giant keyboard (with brand name Roland rearranged to spell Ronald), Russell stood front and center wearing pedal pushers and holding a cordless mic. Ron looks basically the same as he ever did—a perpetual and stylishly unstylish old man with slicked-back hair (and now with owlish glasses and a pencil thin mustache instead of the Chaplin), wearing pleated pants belted high. Russell's looks have changed, and though I wish he still had the fountain of T. Rex-esque curls (he now wears his hair sort of plastered down and with side-swooped bangs), he looks fantastic for his 62 years.
AND HIS FUCKING VOICE? Are you kidding me? The entire Sparks show amounted to Ron and Russell alone on stage, plonking and belting out masterpieces from Kimono My House, Angst In My Pants, No. 1 In Heaven, and beyond (I certainly didn't know every song, but that didn't really matter). A few highlights included the recitation of a scene from their terrifically strange concept album The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, the best version of "Singing in the Shower" (originally a duet with Les Rita Mitsouko) ever, and of course, Ron's frenzied-dancing finale.
Though I would have killed to see them with a live band and all the bells and whistles of a full-on Sparks rock show, there was something more... dignified and engrossing about this kind of performance. Maybe they don't need to pretend that nothing has changed, maybe they're just owning the change that is inevitable and showing off what truly sets them apart: their ridiculous talent and everlasting weirdness.
* Yes, the show didn't sell out. Yes people in Seattle are bad at dancing and clapping and being alive at shows. But looking at Sparks' Facebook page gives me the impression they had a really good time! As I think most of the audience did (looking at you wasted "WOOOO" dude behind me), so I'm not going to mega-negs about that.