stephen colbert steven colbert.jpg

The anticipation of last night’s final taping of The Colbert Report in 2006 was high. Last month, Stephen Colbert, the fake right wing pundit and

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Colbert Comes Alive

Last night's Rock'n'Awe Countdown to Guitarmageddon

stephen colbert steven colbert.jpg

The anticipation of last night’s final taping of The Colbert Report in 2006 was high. Last month, Stephen Colbert, the fake right wing pundit and host of the Report, called out Portland’s own The Decemberists for ripping off his Green Screen Challenge, where viewers submitted background footage to Stephen playing with a lightsaber in front of a green screen. The rip-off in question was a contest for The Decemberists video "O Valencia!," footage of the band simply playing their instruments in front of the green screen, that fans were asked to create their own background for the video (there is a lot you can do with a green screen). Colbert gave his audience a challenge: to incorporate a video of the original Green Screen Challengein the band’s video. The band counter-challenged with a guitar duel. Colbert, the self-righteous and superstantial man he is, agreed to it and the date was set: December 20, 2006.

Questions were raised. Does Stephen even know how to play guitar?  Would he make a joke out of the whole thing and show up with Guitar Hero 2 (a very hot item this year)? Maybe he knows a lick or two. Who knows? And what about the The Decemberists?  It’s not like they’re really big soloists to begin with but we know they’re musicians. Who would come out on top? This was a challenge worth watching.

Last night, they dedicated the full show to “Rock'n'Awe Countdown to Guitarmageddon.”

Leading up to the duel, we saw the Apples in Stereo guitarist Robert Schneider sing an ode to Stephen in front a miasma of colorful illustrations of eagles, and American flags. The challenge between Stephen and the Decemberist’s Chris Funk followed the introduction of the night’s judges that included, rock critic Anthony DeCurtis, some Grammy winning producer whose name went in one ear and out the other, and NY Govenor-elect Eliot Spitzer. The whole face-off was moderated by, wait for it, Henry Kissinger.

Funk was up first. While Funk didn’t create a spectacle display of maximum riffage (that crap I saw at the Guns N Roses show a few weeks ago came to mind), Stephen, armed pompously with Cheap Trick’s five neck guitar, “injured himself” a mere five seconds in and got Peter Frampton to fill in for him, who blew Funk outta the water. Call it a sheer display of trickery from this fake right wing pundit, doing whatever he could to win. (Coincidentally, the prize was a copy of The Decemberist’s new album The Crane Wife). But it was a genius thirty minutes that had me laughing all night.

 
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