Here Comes the Sun! Summer Fun and Nostalgia
A Spotlight Cabaret featuring Ned Wilkinson
Winter Park Playhouse • Winter Park, Florida • August 19, 2022
Musical Direction by Chris Levy
by Carl F. Gauze
Tonight’s pop quiz: “What is the most significant song of the ’80s?” According to instrumentalist Ned W., it’s Kiss’s “Beth.” Personally, I would go with “Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello,” but that’s just an opinion. Tonight Ned’s on stage in a classic Hawaiian shirt, and we get a taste of his world of music.
The overall tone of tonight’s show revolves around a slightly later nostalgia than usual, as today’s audience tends to think of punk and New Wave with a misty tear in their eye. Always noted for the sheer number of instruments he plays, tonight Ned mainly sticks with acoustic guitar and piano backing from the resident pianist Chris Levy. Ned sings predominantly material first recorded on vinyl tonight.
Along with the New Wave material, we hear a set of country tunes that all open with a “D” chord. Later we hear a dissertation on the high points of “You Are the Magnet and I Am the Steel” by Walter Egan and then notes on the producer Casey Kasem, and even a tune from Level 42.
I think I’m aging faster than normal. All of this stuff was hot when I was that certain age. It’s like the whole New Wave movement has now passed from current hits, to nostalgia, to safe to play to an audience of high rolling and conservative patrons. But if anything, tonight may encourage you to pop into your local vinyl shop (and there’s more of them than you might expect today) and pick up a some nostalgia from DEVO or The Damned. I swear, it’s coming back. I know, because I just sold all of my vinyl and I always sell too early.