Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Karaoke Madness, 2009 edition

My living room at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday Feb. 8: Two party-goers are about to leave, one has stumbled down from the guest bedroom where she was napping, and eight are still singing into the microphones, voices shot.

I'm one of those eight people. At times my eyes drift off into a thousand-yard stare, but I'm still going. Miraculously. I'm 12-weeks pregnant at this time and haven't been able to stay up past 10 p.m. on most nights, but no one there except me and my husband know this little secret yet.

Everyone is singing along to Africa by Toto. Why? I don't know. I mean it's Toto. Sure, the theme of the party is Bad '70s Karaoke, but I'm pretty sure Toto isn't '70s. Oh well, I'm too tired to care. We all keep singing. It's what we've been doing for the past eight hours or so. We've forgotten how to stop.

5 a.m.: Two more people have left. We're down to seven total. Everyone quit drinking hours ago. Empty wine glasses and water bottles litter the room. The stereo is blaring American Pie, which is our official last song of the evening. We always end on American Pie.

Midway through the song, we see car lights on the street. Are the police issuing parking tickets? Not sure.

Near the end of the song, a big white light shines through the drapes of our front window, illuminating the room. Yep. I'm pretty sure that's the police.

I walk over and turn the volume way down. We finish singing. The police go away. They didn't even ring the doorbell. Turning down the volume must have been enough. I don't even think the neighbors called to complain. Must have been a routine patrol.

Post-party after 5 a.m.: The clean-up crew kicks into action. Recyclables are collected. Glassware is carried into the kitchen. Food is put away.

Three people head out to find $5 parking tickets on their cars. (Oh, those wacky suburbs and their middle-of-the-night, on-street parking laws!) The remainder of us stumble up to our respective beds and guest beds.

The party is declared a success.

So what is this karaoke madness?

It's a party we've thrown three years in a row now. We set up a computer with iTunes and use a shareware program called MiniLyrics that will scroll the song lyrics on the computer. We borrow a mixing board, microphones and speakers from our friend Rod, and go crazy with the singing. Really crazy.

Oh, the evening starts out orderly enough. The hosts and the brave guests start with some songs we've prepared. The more reserved quickly discover they can act as backup singers. By the time the night is through, just about everyone has ventured onto the stage in some way, shape or form. It's silliness. Some people choose to sing pure karaoke, most choose to sing along to the popular version of a song, two people have even brought instruments and truly serenaded the group.

Some people have a lot of fun because they love performing and watching the performances. Some people have fun because the atmosphere is an automatic ice-breaker -- you don't have to work hard to make conversation.

My favorite memories of the night? 

All the fun costumes people showed up wearing. Mark, Mike, Brian and Angie in some vintage thrift-store finds, Kelly and Gene in their love-child hippie ware, Michelle in her glittery hat, Jules in her Ring of Fire boots, JC in her Mary Tyler Moore outfit and updo, Hilly in his pirate shirt and wig, Dave in his cowboy hat and John Denver shirt. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.

There was the number where Dave kept putting different hats on Mario while he sang. It was totally spontaneous, and Mario kept soldiering through the song, being a good sport about the silliness.

Dave's outrage when Hilly's Superstitious performance was rated the best of the night (even though he'd won the title for the same song last year, and Superstitious didn't even fit the '70s theme.)

Mark pulling out his flute to play along to Jethro Tull (really late in the night).

The fact that just about every girl managed to talk Mark into singing a duet.

The dogs wanting to be underfoot all the time. Thor eventually finding a hiding spot under the DJ table so he could be near me.

The three 28-year-olds working so hard to pull us out of our 70s mellow-song rut and livening things up with some Baby Got Back and Fresh Prince.

Hilly and Paul dancing with anyone and everyone.

Jaye taking video from her comfy spot on the wing-back chair in the bar, scolding anyone who stepped in front of her.

Jaye and Mario trying to make Kyle jealous by posing for photos on the wing-back chair.

Dave talking wrong lyrics into my ear as I'm trying to sing You're My Best Friend.

That's what comes to mind in the five minutes I took to think it over. I'm sure I'm missing other fun moments. (If you were at the party, feel free to remind me of other moments in the blog comments.)

Need photographic and video evidence?

Check out the 176 photos and 20 videos we uploaded to Flickr. Evidence is collected from cameras belonging to Kelly, the Hillys, Mike and me (thanks Jules and eveyone else who picked up one of these cameras and snapped off some photos). Also thanks to Dave and Jaye for the video. 

What did we sing for all those many hours?

Here's the official list as transcribed from our notes.

Haley & Jaye, Yesterday's Once More (Carpenters)
Dave & Haley, Billy Don't Be a Hero (PaperLace)
Mark, Band on the Run (Paul McCartney & Wings)
Mike, Jackie Blue (Ozark Mountain Daredevils)
Kelly, I Feel the Earth Move (Carol King)
Tom, You Take My Breath Away (Rex Smith?)
Brian & Michelle, Whenever I Call You Friend (Loggins & Nicks)
Mario, You May Be Right (Billy Joel)
Jennifer, You're So Vain (Carly Simon)
Stacy, Coin-Operated Boy
Gene & Kelly, Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John & Keiki Dee)
Mike, What's So 'Bout Peace, Love And Understanding (Elvis Costello)
Hilly & Paul, Wildfire (Mike Murphy)
Dave, Mandy (Barry Manilow)
Michelle, Get Right Back to Where We Started From (Maxine Nightengale)
Amber, Cecilia (Simon & Garfunkle)
Joanne, Beautiful (Christina Aigulara)
Jennifer & Mark, Summer Lovin' (John Travolta & Olivia Newton John)
Hilly, Rock With You (Michael Jackson)
Mario, Lola Live (The Kinks)
Mike & Kelly, Do That To Me One More Time (Captain & Tenille)
Amber, This is How we Do It (Montel Jordan)
Jennifer & Jaye, Delta Dawn (Helen Reddy)
Haley, Rock the Boat (The Hues Corporation)
Stan, Locomotion (Grand Funk)
Dave, Jaye, Mark & Haley, The Rose (Bette Midler)
Amber, Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes)
Gene, I Saw the Light (Todd Rundgren)
Rod & Tesha, You Dropped a Bomb on Me (The Gap Band)
Mark, After the Loving (Engleburt Humperdink)
Hilly, The Joker (Steve Miller Band)
Joanne, You Make Me Feel (Aretha Franklin)
Stacy, Bring Me Some Water (Melissa Ethridge)
Mike, It's Too Late (Carol King)
Kelly, You Are Everything (Stylistics)
Amber & Shannon (& April???), Fresh Prince Theme Song (Will Smith)
Mario, Me and Julio Down by the School Yard (Paul Simon)
Mark, Reminiscing (Little River Band)
Hilly & Mark, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (Leo Sayer)
Tom, Vehicle (The Ides of March)
Gene, Moondance (Van Morrison)
Rod & Tesha & Angie, Baby Got Back (Sir Mixalot)
Hilly, Superstition (Stevie Wonder) -- reprise from last year
Mike, Brother Louis (Stories?)
Haley, I Am Woman (Helen Reddy)
Dave, Little Willy (Sweet)
Joanne & Mark, You Don't Bring Me Flowers (Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand)
Mario, Hard Luck Woman (Kiss)
Angie & Tesha, Schoop (Salt N' Pepa)
Amber, I Wish (Skeelo)
Stacy, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves (Cher)
Mark, Aqualung (Jethro Tull)
Haley, You're My Best Friend (Queen)
Mike, Brandy (Looking Glass)
Mario, Weekend in New England (Barry Manilow)
Stacy, Wig, Wham, Bam (Sweet)
Angie, Come Through My Window (Melissa Ethridge)
Haley & Mark, Top of the World (Carpenters)
Mike, Kung Fu Fighting (Karl Douglas)
Dave, Leaving on a Jet Plane (John Denver)'
Paul, Wichita Lineman (Glenn Campbell)'
Mario, Radio, Radio (Elvis Costello)
Amber, The Next to Be with You (Mr. Big)
Mark, Coming to America (Neil Diamond)
The Gay Pirate Duo (Dave & Hilly), I Want to Be Your Everything (Andy Gibb)
Joanne, If I Ain't Got You (Alicia Keys)
Mike, Laughter in the Rain (Neil Sadaka)
Mark, Carefree Highway (Gordon Lightfoot)
Stacy & Mark, The Impression that I Get (Might Boss Tones)
Mario, Everything I Own (Bread)
Mike, Sometimes When We Touch (Dan Hill)
Mark, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot)
Stacy, Only the Lonely (The Motels)
Dave & Chris, Escape (The Pina Colada Song), (Rupert Holmes)
Mario, Burning Love (Elvis Presley)
Mike, Highway to Hell (AC/DC)
Tom, I Can't Hold Back (Survivor)
Haley & Angie, 3 a.m. (Matchbox 20)
Angie, It's in His Kiss (Cher)
Stacy, Angel from Montgomery (Bonnie Wrait)
Mark (aka Panfir) on the flute, Bouree (Jehtro Tull)
Afternoon Delight
Don't Stop (Fleetwood Mac)
Renegade (Styx)
Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees)
Paradise by the Dashboard Lights (MeatLoaf)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
This Beat Goes On/Switchin to Glide (The Kings)
Fox on the Run
Don't Stop Believin'
Carry on Wayward Son (Kansas)
Beth (Kiss)
Turning Japanese
Africa (Toto)
I've Done Everything for You
Love is Alright Tonite
American Pie (Don McLean)


  1. Ok. If you guys do this again next year I'm so coming! I want to be a part of this!! I love Karaoke and this sounds like the best kind of karaoke party ever. So assuming you would have me, I'd love to come next year. This sounds like SUCH fun!

  2. @fragileheart When we do the party again (will need to line up all-night child care first...), you'll definitely be invited.

  3. Anonymous2/25/2009

    Hideous (yet obscenely well-fitting) checked pants from Hollywood Mirror that I found 3 hours before the party started: $24

    Ditto the awful hat: $12

    Sufficient chutzpah to dress like an advertisement for polyester and sing some of the cheesiest musical offerings of the '70's: Genetic

    Having friends we love, who also happen to serially throw one of the most bar-none fun parties it's been my happy privilege to attend: Priceless.

    :-) Mark

  4. Karina2/26/2009

    It looked like fun. I'm sorry I did miss it. Skiing was fun, but probably not as much as belting out the oldies.

    Next year...do it again, and make it a pajama party! HA! I love Dave doing the hat thing! Cracked me up.

  5. No need to apologize for Toto. They rock!

  6. @2117751283681694250.0
    Mark -- It's people like you who make the party a success. Thank you. Oh, and I have to say, you really made those vintage clothes work for you. On the hanger, perhaps they're hideous, but not on you.

    Karina -- I was sorry you missed it, but I totally understood. Skiiing with the family, how can I argue. Pajamas would be a fun theme, but my friends might take it too far... ;)

    Don -- You sure I don't have to apologize for Toto? Well, I guess compared to a lot of the other songs that were played that night, Toto really is rocking. :)

  7. Anonymous4/04/2009

    I love singing myself. I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. You should hear me sing.


  8. I love karaoke! I do a mean version of Ambrosia's "How Much I Feel". Alos a killer rendition of Dio's "Holy Diver".


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