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Concert Reviews:
Barenaked Ladies Dull Pain Of Tigers Loss At Palace
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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AUBURN HILLS -- The Detroit Tigers were losing, but Friday night's crowd at the Palace was all smiles. And it had nothing to do with the Pistons -- or sports, for that matter.

Barenaked Ladies are a kind of antidote for anything that ails ya. Over the past 15-plus years the Canadian quintet has established a reputation as one of rock's most consistently entertaining bands, mixing sharp musicianship and ace songwriting skills with irreverent and downright silly wit. And all those assets were intact during BNL's spirited two-hour performance before about 8,000 devotees.

In other words, BNL -- unlike the Tigers -- tossed a winner.

Starting the show with "Wind it Up," the group played five songs from its latest album, "Barenaked Ladies Are Me," as well as another pair ("Angry People," "Half a Heart") from the "Deluxe Edition" of the album available via BNL's web site. All the hits were present -- including "One Week," "Pinch Me," "Brian Wilson," "It's All Been Done," "Too Little Too Late" and the concert-closing "If I Had $1000000" -- along with prime album tracks ("Falling For the First Time," "Be My Yoko Ono," "Call and Answer," "This is Where It Ends," "Never is Enough") and rarer gems such as "Intermittently," "Grade Nine" and "Blame it On Me."

But for all of those songs' crafted pop virtues, it's the schtick element that makes BNL such a special experience. BNL cracked jokes about everything from Canadian garbage dumping in Michigan to impressive beards spotted in the audience. Singer-guitarist Ed Robertson jokingly confused baseball innings with hockey periods, and "Angry People" morphed into a full-scale dance number, with mock fighting and "West Side Story" poses.

Singer-guitarist Steven Page also had some fun with a candy bra tossed on stage during "Pinch Me," a gag that somehow wound its way into a rap about feet.

Prior to Friday's show, BNL was presented with a plaque commemorating ticket sales of more than 300,000 over its years of playing in the Detroit metro area. It's a special relationship that's clearly still flourishing -- and will, in all likelihood, continue in that direction in the foreseeable future.



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