Review of The Laurie Berkner Band Concert
by Katie Beltramo
Laurie Berkner Band Concert at Proctors in Schenectady, NY
January 7, 2012
Laurie Berkner and her band (Susie, Adam, and Bobby) opened Saturday's concert at Proctors with "Come On In" from their 2011 Party Day! album and kicked off a 90-minute party that had toddlers, preschoolers, and parents dancing in the aisles.
The stage was more festive than past Laurie Berkner concerts, with gigantic animals, a colorful backdrop with ladybug and her friends, and bouquets of balloons. Laurie wore a surprisingly chic giraffe-print pouffy party dress with pink ruffles.
I was impressed by Laurie's ability to bop playfully in sparkly high heels (she kicked them off eventually for "I'm Gonna Catch You"), but this proved to be just one of many prodigious talents on display. Laurie Berkner Band enthusiasts know that the music is catchy, fun, and not the least bit irritating, which is what truly sets them apart from so many other kid-friendly musicians. For "Goldfish" the band cut loose with a bit of rock when those silly fish (who tend to get confused) briefly became rock stars before remembering that they're fish and resuming their swimming at the bottom of the ocean. The quick break-out was fun for parents, showed off some considerable vocal skills, and fit into the middle of the kids' show.
The band's appealing and good-natured flexibility is what makes this such a terrific concert for kids and the grown-ups who love them. For example, early in the show, Laurie switched guitars seamlessly mid-song when she ran into a technical difficulty. Toward the end of the show, while Laurie lay flat on her back snoring and the band puzzled over just how to wake her up, a toddler who had dashed up the short flight of stairs onto the stage approached them. The band members worked her into their wake-up efforts before Susie reunited the child with her grown-up. Spontaneous and gracious, they made an event that could have caused stress or tears for someone (child or mama, possibly both) into a delightful little diversion.
Yup, at the Laurie Berkner Band concert, it's all fun. There are plenty of opportunities for the audience to participate, like blasting off with "Rocketship Run" or buzzing along with "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz," or just dancing along to "Shake Your Body Down." There's a nice mix of older and new numbers, and Laurie included a medley at our concert to fit in old favorites that I remember from my girls' toddler years. If you're planning on going, bring along a stuffed animal to put on your head and some shaker eggs for maximum enjoyment, but don't worry if you forget them.
At our concert, they also tried something new for the closing song, "Goodnight." The song is actually our favorite lullaby and what my 7-year-old had wanted to hear the most, so she climbed into my lap as they asked audience members to make "stars" with their various electronic devices. The effect was so magical that Laurie herself was startled, and said something like, "Oh, look, it's so beautiful, I'm starting to cry!" I laughed out loud, charmed again, because of course, I was tearing up, too.
© 2012, Katie Beltramo