Even though Sparks were a big deal at some point in time, in their native southern California and on KROQ (before I ever had it), I never knew them, and what I got later didn't make me regret it. A comeback album in the mid-’90s when I was consuming anything remotely near being considered “alternative” music didn’t hold much for me, and I probably would not have returned to them at any point if not from my brother Paul (James). He's been a big fan (though not when we were kids), though he said to convert me to one would take more time than he had or I would be willing to give (such is the challenge of him as my brother). But the band were doing a very unique show, playing their well-regarded Kimono My House (even if it meant nothing to me) in its entirety, and the few performances were anywhere but Indiana, so he came out, along with Susan, down from Seattle (since she apparently had the time and he was willing to give the effort to indoctrinate her as a fan). Carla & I went along for the ride. They both stayed with us, with the show as the centerpiece of their weekend visit. I was happy to see my brother and my friend, the show was extra. The album might have been an acquired taste, and everyone else has had over 40 years to come around to it, so hearing it on its own, even played live and with an orchestra behind the Mael brothers, was beyond me, and not enough for me to research it after the event. Maybe I'll wish I got it better later, but at the time it was just a show. They did a few of their relative “hits” in a second set, and those escaped me as well, though I recognized a few of them (including "Dick Around", which didn’t sell me as much as left me wondering what the big deal was about). Though Alex from Franz Ferdinand came out for one song. (This show happened while both bands were working on what would become FFS. They even mentioned they couldn't mention the band's name at the time.) Probably not a bad show, and there are plenty of bands I've acquired the necessary taste for and no one else understands, but this one was out of my purview, and just couldn't do anything for me at the time. So we were left with a singular performance, something we wouldn’t follow up afterwards (except for a Pandora station we couldn't remove) but could say it was a nice evening out (as well as a visit to downtown L.A., which is often welcome). My brother surely had to have enjoyed it, and that was enough for me. To facilitate him seeing a band he loves in a very unique show was a mission accomplished. Even though, while we could possibly get together for an Electric Six or Morrissey show, there’s probably no one else he both would have interest in (in the rare event he would even want to get out for a show). (Though, as a side-note, apparently Morrissey was at that Sparks show. They can all be on the same wavelength -- I’d still rather see the Replacements.)
"This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us"
"Here in Heaven"
"Thank God It's Not Christmas"
"Hasta Manana Monsieur"
"Talent Is an Asset"
"In My Family"
"The Rhythm Thief"
"Get in the Swing"
"Let the Monkey Drive"
"Looks, Looks, Looks"
"Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat"
"Excerpts from The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman"
"When Do I Get to Sing 'My Way'" (with Alex Kapranos)
"The Number One Song in Heaven"