Posts Tagged ‘Beck’
Conan O’Brien has always been the epitome of cool to me.
I haven’t missed one of his shows (Late Night and The Tonight Show) in about five years. The day just doesn’t feel complete without Conan capping it off.
You see, Conan had a way of differentiating himself from some of the other pap that litters late night. He appealed directly to young people who didn’t want to put up with Leno’s dullness or Letterman’s sneering disdain. He made intelligent comedy aimed at the outsider in all of us. His clownish absurdism was never mean-spirited and he was always the first to turn a joke on himself in order to make others feel more comfortable. He was the smartest guy in the room – one who used silliness as the medium for his sharp wit. And granted, a lot of people just didn’t get Conan. His humor definitely wasn’t lowest common denominator stuff like Leno’s. Instead, he realized that some people just want to see a Masturbating Bear regardless of how little sense it makes because, dammit, that’s hilarious.
And, of course, Conan has always been a worshiper at the shrine of music. A guitar player himself, you could always tell how excited he was to hear some of the bands that came on his shows to play. And his shows, particularly Late Night, were usually on the cutting edge as far as new music was concerned. He once told the New York Times:
“Music and comedy are so linked,” O’Brien said earlier, as he walked up and down the halls of his offices, playing one of his many guitars. “The rhythm of comedy is connected to the rhythm of music. They’re both about creating tension and knowing when to let it go. I’m always surprised when somebody funny is not musical.”
He was able to get his friends, The White Stripes, to be his musical guest on his last episode of Late Night. And he got Pearl Jam to play the world premiere of “Got Some” on his first episode of The Tonight Show. But that was all topped last Friday, as he said goodbye to The Tonight Show and television (at least until September) with a sincere, poignant collaboration on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” – that classic ode to breaking free from a doomed relationship.
Backed up by the terrific Max Weinberg band and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Ben Harper, and Beck on guitar, Will Ferrell took the vocal duties and invited Conan to strap on his axe and join the band as they made a sweet sendoff. Strumming away, it was easy to see a long-shouldered burden just disappear, at least for a moment.
The song asks, “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” Well, one thing Conan doesn’t have to worry about is his fans forgetting about him. We’ll be waiting right here until he comes back.
Now if you haven’t already seen this rocking rendition of “Free Bird,” check it out: