Monday, November 5, 2018

Still in "Morning"...

Well, if you've visited this site much at all then you know about the slavish devotion I have to 1970s disaster movies and that at or near the top of the list are The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974.) For years, Poseidon was my all-time favorite, but in the last decade or so Inferno has crept up to at least meet it. Imagine, then, my elation when I discovered that the vocalist who enjoyed a #1 hit single with Poseidon's Oscar-winning theme song, "The Morning After" and who also sang Inferno's Oscar-winning love song "We May Never Love Like This Again" (also appearing in the film while doing so) was coming to town for a one night only concert!
Yes, Miss Maureen McGovern made her way to the hinterlands for a night of piano-accompanied song. Not only had McGovern sung the two afore- mentioned songs, but she also was a cultural touchstone to me in other ways. For example, she also recorded the love theme from Superman: The Movie (1978) "Can You Read My Mind" and provided the lively sitcom theme for 1979's Angie, which starred Donna Pescow and Robert Hays. There was also the disaster movie spoof Airplane! (1980), which starred Hays. McGovern played a nun on board a flight felled by food poisoning and in it sang a memorably goofy rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Respect." Later, she originated the role of Marmee in the Broadway musical Little Women.

With a friend awaiting the start of the show.
I must say I was just a little nervous about what I was in for when I bought second-row center tickets for this concert last weekend. In the first place, it's been 45 years since McGovern ruled the radio waves with "The Morning After" (the very first single she'd ever recorded, having only done a few demos beforehand.) A visit to youtube was also not terribly encouraging. Long, brassy red hair and an awkward arrangement of the song.

Her hair when I saw her was several inches shorter.
However, I needn't have worried. She was in marvelous voice, looked lovely (far below her calendar years of sixty-nine, but looking in no way pulled, plastic, immobile, etc...) and was highly expressive. Her hair was a warm autumn brown styled in a fresh, free-flowing, shoulder-length cut. (This is not from the night in question, but is a close representation. Photography of the performance was not allowed.) The set was augmented with some ever-changing string lights that sometimes vaguely put one in the mind of the S.S. Poseidon's famous Christmas tree.
I really was not part of the target audience for this event, surprisingly enough. It was sort of geared towards the Baby Boomers, with the music of Carole King, Phoebe Snow, Joni Mitchell and others, though the music was timeless enough, especially when she went to Gershwin, Arlen and other classic songwriters. One of the highlights, if not THE highlight, was when she suddenly went into a rendition of "Over the Rainbow," a capella and without benefit of microphone, that was simple and stunning.

I had this on cassette and nearly wore it out!
Naturally, I awaited the numbers that meant the most to me personally and they came in an encore. She referred to them as a "medley-ette" with "Can You Read My Mind" seguing into "We May Never Love Like This Again" which led to "The Morning After." I have to admit that this triple-whammy did choke me up as the memories of these films and songs flooded over me.

Afterwards, I got to meet her and have her sign one of my typically loony picture montages. She had spoken about how she was influenced as a child by 1930s and '40s movies being shown on black & white TV in Youngstown, Ohio and I relayed to her how my first exposure to The Poseidon Adventure was on a black & white TV as our color set had been recently burglarized. I let her know that some of her music had served as sort of a soundtrack for my childhood, which may not have been the most discreet thing to say to someone staring seventy in the face, but I think I won her over. See the comment she wrote in the allotted white section of the photo montage.

You know how we get those musical earwigs in our head and just can't seem to get rid of them, sometimes for days...? Well, needless to say I have had "The Morning After" on auto-repeat in my brain ever since Saturday night. It's not bothering me, though, the way some of those aural assailants sometimes can. It's giving me a remarkably peaceful and happy feeling, something McGovern was striving for in her latest album geared towards uplifting songs.


Scooter said...

What an exciting opportunity to see Maureen McGovern perform live. I am glad she did not disappoint.

I remember when I was in junior high school and obsessed with the film Coal Miner's Daughter. I watched every repeated airing on HBO no matter how many times I had seen it. I was thrilled when Loretta Lynn was slated to perform at a venue just over an hour a way and my parents agreed that we could go. One of my best memories from childhood.

EricSwede said...

McGovern's "The Morning After" has been featured in this season of "American Horror Story" on TV. Joan Collins too.

Gingerguy said...

How fabulous. I love the poster with all her looks and greatest hits, wait, did you do that? Her nose comment is a scream.
I always thought she had a nice voice (a little like Lulu?)
I am assuming she's Irish? style wise she always had kind of an Enya thing going. That's funny that she's from Ohio.
I know what you mean about not being the target audience. My partner is a little older than I and loves all that Pheobe/Joni stuff, which I can appreciate. The last photo album cover she looks just like someone but can't put my finger on it, hmm. So glad you got to see her do all your favorites.

Gingerguy said...

Jackie Collins! she looks like an auburn Jackie on her album. Gosh that was killing me.

Poseidon3 said...

Scooter, I was truly a bit nervous as to what I should expect, but McGovern is clearly still in the game vocally. There was unintentional because the person running lights at the venue kept failing to hit the next cue, leaving her in the dark, and her reactions were priceless. It became almost a running gag. I felt bad that it might have reflected on our city, though. Thanks for sharing the Loretta Lynn story. Reminds me a bit of the excitement of seeing Kenny Rogers at the state fair during the height of his "Lucille" and "The Gambler" phase.

EricSwede, I was thisclose to asking Maureen about AHS!! I meant to. Then I was sort of taken aback upon meeting and chatting with her and it slipped my mind. Then I was a little nervous as to whether she GETS anything out of it. I don't know much about residuals and all. I didn't want to rub salt in a wound if her vocals are being repeatedly heard on TV but there's no gain (though it certainly can't do her any harm to have the song reintroduced to a new generation of viewers.) And I have LOVED watching Joan on AHS this season! She was amusing in the early role and very striking with the white hair in this second one. A birdie told me - with no details - that she has some good moments yet left to be seen! I really enjoyed, especially, the sort of homage/take-off of "Tales from the Crypt" wherein her character bumps off her husband just as a crazed Santa is on the loose.

Gingerguy, at first I saw NO Jackie Collins, but when I paid attention to the bangs and blurred my eyes a bit, I could!! She is far less made up than that in person. She looked very good, though. Very natural which, in this day and age, is a REAL compliment...!!! Thank you.

charles kelly said...

Love her forgotten gem "Nice To Be Around" from Marsha Mason / James Caan film "Cinderella Liberty". I have it on a 45 single. Great song!

loulou de la falaise said...

Sounds like an excellent concert, it's always great when someone you crush on delivers. I saw her on a daytime talk show a long time ago. She was saying how she was always getting lots of rose bouquets and instead of throwing them away after the first wilt she started drying the flowers and making dried flower arrangements. She showed a few and they were really gorgeous.

Poseidon3 said...

Charles, that song was also nominated for an Oscar. Then the following year she has "We May Never..." as well as the song "Wherever Loves Takes Me" from the movie "Gold!" In a way, she was competing against herself (though the Oscar didn't actually go TO her. In fact, the songwriters never even acknowledged her when they picked up their trophy!)

lou lou, I love that recollection! How neat. I happened to see today on "TMZ Live" (I know...) that one of the K's got a gargantuan delivery of roses, I mean in the high hundreds or thousands, and I thought to myself, "God what a mess to clean up when they begin to lose their petals!" - not that she will be the one dealing with it at all....!

Unknown said...

Wow what a great post! When I was growing up, my family lived for 5 years in the Florida keys, and back then (early-mid 70's) the city we lived in had 1 attraction only - A single screen movie theater and that was it. The movies they showed we rotten, and changed every 2 days. So you can imagine the buzz when "The Poseidon Adventure" not only was played, but for 2 whole weeks! It was one of my favorites, and I loved "The Morning After". My father at the time was slipping deep into alcoholism, and caused many many a sleepless night for me as he argued with my Mom....Knowing that there was always a "morning after" after one of Dad's bender helped me survive. And of course, being gay, when "Angie" came on the air I was completely in love with Robert Hays. I would pretend that I was Angie as the theme song played on and on! I have been a fan of your blog for a long long time but have never commented, but felt is was finally time to do so! Whenever I'm depressed and need a nice jog down memory lane, I come to your it love it love it!

Poseidon3 said...

Unknown, I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or if it's seasonal affective disorder kicking in or what, but your comment gave me a lump in my throat and I almost had tears while at lunch! (All of my most embarrassing seem to take place publicly! LOL) I deeply appreciate you taking time to comment and for sharing your recollections and your affection for this site. I have two goals, really: to shed light on stars (and projects) who many people have nearly forgotten and to create an oasis in which most of life's stressors and issues don't rear their head, at least not constantly. (I aim for zero!) It sounds like this is working for you to a degree. :-) I also want to say that during Maureen McGovern's concert, she spoke of how over the years COUNTLESS people have come up to her and relayed how "The Morning After" gave them solace when they were ill or battling some other issue. It may sound corny to some (and I know there are people who don't like her rendition of the song), but when you are an artist and something you do has that sort of effect on someone, it is very gratifying, believe me! Thanks so much!

joel65913 said...

How great that the experience matched your hopes for it! She looks great and I got a chuckle out of her note on the picture.

While I like The Morning After now and I liked it initially when it was new I have to honestly confess that I was sick to death of it by the time it's run at the top ended. Good Grief it was just EVERYWHERE!!!

Forever1267 said...

What a great night for you!

Poseidon3 said...

Joel, we also went through this (to an even greater degree I believe) with another shipwreck theme when Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" from "Titanic" went on and on an on and ON! LOL Same basic deal. I liked the song, but Christ above it was driven into the abyss through overplay.

Thank you, Forever1267! It was. :-)