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Kathryn Spira

Listening to New Year’s Concerts or Noise

I had Herman record Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve as I expected to fall asleep long before the ball dropped. Herman recorded some other concerts that he found on PBS TV that night also, and I’m glad he did.

I grew up watching the ball drop on TV from Cleveland. Mom would scurry my sisters and I off to bed long before midnight, but we managed to sneak back down to the den. Mom and her siblings were in the living room talking, laughing and dancing their own made-up dance called “the Yehudi,” loosely based on a jig with brothers and sisters in a line with their arms linked.

With all the uproar in the living room, no one noticed our sneaking down to the den and quietly watching New Year’s Eve festivities on the TV with the den door shut as it usually was since it also served as a coat room.

By the time I was in my early teens, I was allowed to stay up and watch the ball drop, which by then was hosted by Dick Clark. He still makes an appearance on the show, but the last few years he seems to have aged badly or possibly had a stroke since his speech seems greatly altered.

This year, as I expected, I fell asleep long before midnight, actually about 9 p.m. But I woke up about 1 a.m. and I asked Herman to tune into Dick Clark and caught Florence and the Machine followed by One Republic and Taio Cruz, all pretty listenable. We tuned out after those three and didn’t see any other performers until New Year’s Day, but as far as we were concerned, nothing else was worth listening to anyway what with all the rappers, hip hop and frenetic head banging music.

As Herman said, “If this is what the future generation holds as popular and worth watching, we’re all in trouble.” He sometimes shows his age, but this time I have to agree.

Fortunately, he had also recorded Chris Botti in Concert in Boston with guests Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Josh Grogin, John Mayer and Stephen Tyler all singing great jazz and pop songs. I especially appreciated Stephen Tyler dedicating his ballad to his dad who was in the audience.

Unbeknown to me, Herman had also recorded Paul McCartney in concert in New York City, Cold Play in concert on Austin City Limits and Jeff Beck’s tribute to Les Paul. All these concerts were far superior to the music on Dick Clark in our opinion and the best part was I had no idea he had made these recordings.

Whatever you did to usher in 2012, I hope it was a good night with great memories and good music as we look forward to a new year.

About Kathryn Spira

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland, OH who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County, New York. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site