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2014 Off to a Strong Start

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large:
Review: Frigo Bridge Jokes a Daddy D Show Highlight

GREEN BAY, Wis., (WFRV) – According to two sketchy guys who “worked” on the Leo Frigo Bridge restoration project, the question now is: How is the Green Bay community going to pay for the multi-million-dollar fix-up?

Today, Sunday, Jan. 5, is the day the once-wavy I-43 span across the Fox River is to reopen, so the question is timely.

The guys, dressed in DayGlo green safety jackets, offered up their thoughts Saturday night as part of a Daddy D Productions show at the Riverside Ballroom.
The second choice for the “workers” is to rename the bridge the Vince Lombardi Trophy and sell it to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings wouldn’t know the bridge isn’t the trophy because, of course, the Vikings don’t know what the trophy looks like because they never won a Super Bowl.

The first choice of the “workers” is to paint a huge “G” on the bridge and rename it the Green Bay Packers Bridge and sell worthless stock for it. Ahem.
In the show, the “workers” then broke into song. They took the melody of “Let It Snow” and maneuvered the words to be about the story of the Leo Frigo Bridge in seriously comical ways. The song puts the Packers in the Super Bowl, by the way.

The skit was reprised and updated from a previous Daddy D show, and the zingy humor hit the mark. Here’s a beauty of a line from a “worker” about the $750,000 bonus to be paid to the company for getting the fix-up done early: “I didn’t get no bonus, but I sure hope that duct tape holds.”

The show was billed as “Holiday Party,” and it went like this:

Program
Personnel: Vocals/comedy: Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer. Band: Barb Hinnendael, keyboard; Bob Balsley, guitar; Kevin Van Ess, saxophone and clarinet; Jeff Hinnendael, drums. Sound and lights: Dan Collins

“Gonna Have Some Fun Tonight,” Bob Balsley

“Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Doug Dachelet

Polka sequence, including the made-up “AC/DC Polka,” Darren Johnson and the band

“At Last,” Shelly Emmer (silver lamé top)

Carnac the Magnificent, skit with Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson

“Yakety Sax,” Kevin Van Ess (in mask and flashy vest costume)

“I’ll Be Seeing You,” Shelly Emmer

Letters to Dougie, skit with Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson, who ad libbed wild-eyed introductions

“(These are a Few of) My Favorite Things,” Shelly Emmer

Sergeant O’Cheese, skit with Darren Johnson in helmet and military camo

“I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” Darren Johnson, in the manner of Elvis
Presley with a big voice

“We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place,” Doug Dachelet

“On a Wing and a Prayer”/ “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet and, on New Orleans/Pete Fountain style clarinet, Kevin Van Ess

“Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum,” Bob Balsley, vocals and guitar

Random Acts of Kindness promo by Darren Johnson, for a singular charity project in 2014

“Stop Children What’s That Sound,” Darren Johnson, with guitar

“(Rock Me Mama Like a) Wagon Wheel,” Jeff Hinnendael, vocals and guitar, with Darren Johnson and Bob Balsley, support vocals and guitars

“I Will Survive,” Shelly Emmer (low cut, black evening gown)

Leo Frigo Bridge/“Let It Snow” takeoff

“Hotel California” adapted to the Christmas Story, Bob Balsley (his adaptation), vocals and guitar, with his trademark layering of guitar sounds

“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Shelly Emmer (red evening gown)

Ice fisherman skit and rap, Darren Johnson and Doug Dachelet (revolving on floor in dance)

“Santa Baby,” Shelly Emmer (black sparkly gown), moving through audience

Finale, including the traditional military salute, leading to “Halleluiah Chorus,” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer

The show was like a loose cabaret in which performers get up, do a favorite song/piece and then get off. The singers seemed to enjoy singing songs that showcase their individual voices – Shelly Emmer’s brightness, Doug Dachelet’s high register versatility, Darren Johnson’s booming gutsiness. “Wagon Wheel” featuring Jeff Hinnendael in pure country style was special. 
The production (4½ stars out of 5) was lots of good stuff and a good mood.

Sound systems these days are wonderful. A show can be put on in an unlikely show spot – like a secondary space at the Riverside as for this production – and the singing and playing sound is a quality blend. Soundman Dan Collins does an excellent job finessing the Daddy D shows.

A REMEMBRANCE: Daddy D company member Andy Bain died Dec. 25 at age 55 due to cancer. Among his many entertainment activities, Andy Bain was featured in Daddy D country style and oldies shows. He joined in comedy bits, such as playing one of the Blues Brothers. He liked the crooning style of singing and once was showcased in “What a Wonderful World,” which he sang in the gravelly Louis Armstrong style and also as a clear-voiced balladeer. In Saturday’s show, Darren Johnson said Daddy D Productions is dedicating its entire year to Andy Bain. Johnson closed with, “God bless you, Andy.”

REST OF YEAR: “Cabin Fever,” Jan. 25, Heritage Farm, Kewaunee; “Random Acts of Kindness Concert,” Feb. 27, Riverside; “Stuck in the Sixties,” March 13-15, 20-21, Riverside, March 29, Fox Hills Resort, Mishicot; “Country Classics,” May 8-9, 15-16, Riverside; “Radio Days,” Sept. 4-5, 11-12, Riverside; “Shake, Rattle & Riverside,” 23-24, 30-Nov. 1, Riverside; “Daddy D Christmas,” Dec. 10-13, Riverside, Dec. 17-20, Stadium View, Ashwaubenon.

THE VENUE: This production was put on in a space to the north of the spacious Crystal Ballroom in the Riverside Ballroom, the 1936 Art Moderne building on Green Bay’s east side. Daddy D uses this space for its more intimate productions. A raised stage is put up in front of room dividers. Above is a low-slung acoustic-board ceiling, with a few Art Deco-type boxed light fixtures placed below the building’s trademark arched roof. Dinner seating is at tables of eight. The Riverside as a whole brims with history, from the dance band stars of the ’30s and ’40s to a famed concert with rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Years ago, according to the Packers Heritage Trail plaque outside, the Green Bay Packers held some practices inside the ballroom. Isn’t the Packers lore great?

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV at 6:45 p.m. Thursdays and every other Sunday between 6 and 8 a.m. (usually around 7:45 a.m.)
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