We are counting down the Top 10 live performances from the David Letterman show. We have discussed what a genius Dave proved himself to be by getting Paul Shaffer as his band leader and side kick. The influence the show can have musically is immense. I have always looked forward to the musical act and that should be no surprise. It has always amazed me how the live performance has to be at the end of the show. We have to sit through stupid pet tricks or listen to what Bruce Willis did over the summer before we can rock out to our favorite band on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater, or back even further at the NBC studio. All talk shows are based on this set up. There is basically the opening monologue, then the show is broken up into 3 short segments, the last one usually by a live musical guest. They are generally allowed 5 minutes tops.
The next performance from the Letterman show uses up their allotted time but with the host on your side and feeling groovy he asks the band to continue. “Go again, Go again,” says Letterman instead of wrapping up the segment he wants them to play more. It doesn’t start off as the most electrifying performance you have ever seen but vocalist Kelvin Swaby does something small but important, he addresses the audience. “How we doing NYC?” is all he says which may not seem like much but he now lets the audience know he sees them. He lets them know that they are now part of the performance. After all isn’t most of the audience there hoping to get a glimpse of themselves on television? Now the band starts up and they get a lot of help from the horn section which is borrowed from another band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. The slow build up starts to groove at about 1:30, then they continue this crescendo and by 3:16, band, audience, and host, are locked in. With the song ending less than a minute later, they leave all wanting more. This causes David Letterman to do something he had never done previously in his many many years on the air.
He asks The Heavy to play more.
They ramp back up and are off again.
At #4 on the Top 10 live performances from the David Letterman show, I give you The Heavy performing “How you like me now?”