I was enjoying an easygoing Saturday afternoon with friends in a plush townhouse at the Eagle Harbor Inn on Bainbridge Island when the texts started flooding in about Whitney Houston's death. The first thing we did after receiving this tragic news was brainstorm what numbers to sing for an all-Whitney tribute at The 122 Bar that night.
It was a fun but silly idea as I stopped to consider the songs we called out: "The Greatest Love of All," "I Will Always Love You," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody". Every one sounded more absurd to attempt than the next. When it comes to mimicking Whitney, they're all suicidal (oops), especially if you're a guy. But since everyone seemed into it and had no problem wasting their precious turn to make a fool of themselves, I had to suck it up and do my best.After four hours of drinking to prepare ourselves, we arrived at The 122 just before 9. It's a big venue with high ceilings. The place was dark and had a dance -club atmosphere. The DJ/KJ was set up at the entrance. We took over a couple tables in the middle of the room. I scored a couple of books and handed one to my buddies Mochie and Cary. As I sat down to check out the selection, Mochie called out to tell me they were kidding and never planned on singing Whitney that night. On the one, hand it made sense because it was completely ridiculous. But I had already mentally prepared myself for it.
The night opened with a tight, beautifully harmonized rendition of "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League delivered by Mochie and Cary. I was called next and decided to go with "How Will I Know?" I figured if I was going to bomb, I might as well sing the song of Whitney's that I loved the most.
The KJ was a jokester. He gave me a big intro, saying I had just come back from auditioning for The Voice. I asked him to take me down a key and it ended up being a mistake. Turning the key down made the song sound noticeably slower, and it took me a few verses to sing in tune. The performance was as embarrassing as I expected it to be; singing a love song from the female perspective about pining over a man isn't where my strengths lie (a lesson I learned years ago when I tried to sing Madonna).
Cary and Mochie got in some solos again and killed. There were only a couple other singers but the KJ mixed in a lot of music between songs (this night is advertized as both a DJ and karaoke night; karaoke-only is Thursdays). I was finally called back up I sang the manliest song I could find, "Lido Shuffle" by Boz Scaggs, and got a big ovation after it was done. That's what I love best about karaoke: You're always just a song away from redemption.
The 122 Bar, 241 Winslow Way W, 451-4440, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND