I Saw Corey Feldman Live and Lived To Write About It
I Saw Corey Feldman Live and I Lived to Write About It
© Wes Gow
I’ve tried to think of a way to recount this tale for nearly a day now. I knew this would happen. I knew someone was going to ask me what it was like, and that I would then stand there speechless, unable to summon the words to come anywhere near describing the experience.
So I’m just going to dive in with a few adjectives that come to mind: horrific, hilarious, extraordinary, disturbing, hilarious (again), and…unexpected.
On the night of July 18th, 2017, my curiosity got the better of me and I followed the fliers all the way to the circus tent. I imagine that many years ago, when a young boy saw a poster in the Five & Dime that advertised acts like the Bearded Woman, Lobster Boy, and The Tallest Man on Earth, that young boy and his pals absolutely went to check it out.
That’s what I did.
The circus that is Corey Feldman’s Angelic 2 The U.S. tour came to town at The Norva, and I couldn’t resist. I’ll forever wish I had.
Actually, that last line isn’t true at all, because that night was without question the most entertaining live performance I’ve ever seen. I laughed, I wanted to cry, and I know a part of my soul died from subjecting myself to it. But after watching his performances on the Today Show (here, and here), how could I not go?!
I walked into the room halfway through the local opener’s set; they played a few tasteful covers and mixed in some originals to a crew of excited supporters. Altogether there may have been 250 people at that point (the Norva holds nearly 1500). The house lights came on after they finished, and I looked around the room trying to gauge the purpose of everyone’s business. With the exception of one fella who was wearing a golden fedora and matching vest. This guy came for the party; it seemed the rest of us came for the carnage. (In fact, Goldfinger walked past me holding a few beers and a big smile and said, “Man, it’s gonna be a heavy mosh tonight,”).
The lights dimmed and a young lady walked onto the stage, pausing on the side to tune her acoustic guitar. She smiled at the audience; I think she was wearing clear braces on her teeth. She was dressed like the bride of Beetlejuice (henceforth BBJ). She had long black hair with glitter eye liner streaming down both cheeks, like she cried unicorn tears. She was wearing a black leotard with black and white prison leggings; a white shawl of some kind whisping off her shoulders and down past her waist.
She finished tuning and walked to the front of the stage, then quickly diverted to the side to procure her own microphone and stand. BBJ plugged in and introduced herself as the costume designer (I think) of the tour, and said “sometimes they let me play before the show.” I stood there kinda dumbfounded, waiting for the dumpster fire to begin.
BBJ launched into a blistering solo set that quite frankly blew the freaking roof off.
No lie. She was incredible. A voice that could flat out crank, six-string prowess that would intimidate anyone of any gender, and a performance persona that could go toe to toe with any seasoned vet. She was worth the price of admission.
She finished to a rousing (and worthy) applause, then quietly proceeded to scuttle around the stage, setting out waters for the band, rolling hand towels for The Man, adjusting the projector on the front of the stage, and rebooting the Macbook to begin the pre-show promo reel (see the stock screen saver below). The best musician in the house was basically the stage hand.
Around 10 pm, the house lights dimmed once again and the screen came to life. By this time there must have been close to 500 people, which is a not a bad crowd.
A kind of intro reel began to play, hyping all of Feldman’s many accomplishments, with phrases such as, “top 40 billboard hits…several hit singles…original dance moves.” Soon, the Angels came on stage and took their instruments.
A few words on the Angels. First, many of them are not the same Angels on the Today Show performances, with the exception of the one standing behind the Macbook/keyboard station (Corey’s wife). Second, these gals all actually played live the entire night. As a band, they’re not at all bad; in fact most of them are very talented, but the sum was not greater than their individual parts (more on skill later). Third, they’re costumes basically consist of elements of lingerie combined with large wings on their backs and haloes on their heads (both of which light up). Lastly, they’re overall stage presence was just weird, like many of them knew the sad reality of it all: that they were talented musicians in their on right being paraded around for a bizarro production. To be clear, at no point did the show feel raunchy, just so unnecessary.
Finally, the man of the hour took the stage, wearing something similar to his first Today Show performance: diamond studded black leather pants and jacket with some kind of crazy hood. About Corey Feldman. … Honest to God, I don’t really know what to say, but here’s my best take on processing what I saw. Imagine an adult male who owns an assortment of ninja weapons that are not children’s toys. You all know this guy. Now take that man and give him a strong cocktail of cocaine and LSD, let him run wild through one of those October pop-up Halloween super stores, and then push him out in front of a live listening audience with a backing band of scantily clad women.
And there you have it. That’s what happened. Corey changed costumes about every two or three songs, sharing the stage to showcase his Angels. During these breaks, each Angel got a chance to lead or front the band in a performance. The bass player sang a Nirvana song, Corey’s wife sang the Goonies theme song, the other keyboardist (and violinist) donned a badly tuned acoustic and sang “Zombie,” the drummer sang and led the band from the kit in a rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited.” All of these sounded like a decent cover band. Then, the electric guitarist’s time to shine came up. This gal seemed the shyest of the bunch: she rarely smiled, focused on her parts during the performance, and appeared generally mortified or bored. She didn’t sing during her showcase, but she left jaws on the floor. This ax-wielder walked to the front of the stage and proceeded to casually rip through some of rock’s most prominent riffs. In all seriousness, she’s a freaking slayer! So much so, in fact, that my buddy figured there was no way she could be a truly unknown prodigy.
I did some additional searching and found the drummer (Marisa Testa) and keyboard/violin player (Margot Lane; she’s also the bandleader). They’re both more than capable musicians. But again, how in the blazes they got roped into this clown farm remains a mystery.
Anyway, back to the show, which was essentially The Corey Feldman Tribute Show. Every song was performed with the accompanying music video or movie trailer playing on the screen overhead. In all fairness, Corey gave tributes to Corey Haim, Michael Jackson, and others, along with sharing his stage to showcase the angels. Whatever weirdness may or may not be going on behind the scenes, he seemed like a sincere guy. In fact, in his Today Show performances he mentions that the purpose of this tour is to help women escape their circumstances and achieve their dreams. If that’s all that’s going on, then go on, Corey. Ain’t nothing wrong with pursuing a passion and helping others in the process. I will add this: the guy emptied the tank on that stage in terms of the energy he put into that performance.
Low points, however, included any time Corey took off his shirt (which was often) and the time he hopped on the drum kit to play (gasp) and sing a Beatles cover with an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth. At no point during the show did I ever feel like I had my head wrapped around what was happening, but this particular scene of Corey barely holding it together on the drums was simply more than I could handle; I left shortly after, with hopes of salvaging some of my sanity.
Several days removed from this show I’m starting to feel kinda guilty, like I was inadvertently complicit in supporting some kind of cult. I told my pals that I was starting to think that this recent bout of heat wave engulfing the country was God’s judgement upon my life for attending the show.
One of them countered by saying that the atmospheric hotness was more likely attributed to what happens when Corey and the Angels come to town.
Either way, I hope the drummer and electric guitarist make it out unscathed and put something awesome together. Throw in their chops alongside Bride of Beetlejuice, and I’ll be back to the see the former (fallen?) angels really unleash their talent.