Posts Tagged ‘Kermit the Frog’

newport sign be present

Sunday at Newport Folk: slightly cooler, a little less disorientation, a lot more exhaustion than Friday. I’d moved on Saturday, then had a long morning trying to return my truck and get myself down to Fort Adams. By the time I arrived I was tired and hungry, and frankly not at all sure I wanted to be there.

I bought lunch from one of the food trucks, but I was so tapped out I could hardly enjoy either it or the upbeat set from Lake Street Dive on the main stage. (I do love Rachael Price’s voice, and I got a kick out of seeing Hozier come up and join them for a tune or two. He always looks so moody in his videos, but his grin was a mile wide that day.)

After lunch, though – and a gallon or so of water – the rest of the afternoon definitely improved.

our native daughters

I wandered over to the Quad stage to catch Our Native Daughters and was absolutely stunned by their vocals, their songwriting, their fiddling and banjo picking and their bold presence. I could listen to Allison Russell sing all day long, and Amythyst Kiah wowed the (mostly white) audience with the anthem “Black Myself.” Serious power there, folks.

After that, I hopped over to hear Molly Tuttle (a Berklee alumna) and Billy Strings in a soulful, rollicking set that included – to my utter surprise – a cover of Cher’s “Believe.” (It worked, surprisingly.) I got some tacos and returned to the same spot, sitting in the grass with my back against the fort wall, to listen to the Milk Carton Kids and take a few deep breaths. I saw them open for someone – maybe Glen Hansard? – at Berklee years ago, so hearing them at Newport felt like coming full circle.

My reason for going back on Sunday – and the day’s real magic – came at the end: the festival’s closing set, known as If I Had a Song. It was a singalong, featuring too many great musicians to count. But the first one was small and green.

kermit the frog Newport stage

Yes, that is Kermit the Frog. And yes, he cracked a few jokes, and invited the crowd to sing along as he performed “The Rainbow Connection.” Pure magic, y’all. (I adore the Muppets and he is my favorite.) Jim James – wearing a fabulous rainbow-cuffed jacket – joined him, but I only had eyes for Kermit and his banjo.

The magic just kept coming after that: Trey Anastasio (and our Berklee students) playing the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.” Rachael Price and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band giving us all chills with “We Shall Overcome.” Brandi Carlile and Alynda Segarra jamming out on “If I Had a Hammer.” Our Native Daughters leading the crowd in “If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus.” I was standing in the front area, clapping and grinning and singing my heart out.

One of my favorite parts of Newport was the generous spirit of collaboration – everyone up there, singing together, and having so much fun doing it. Hozier came back out with Lake Street Dive for “Everyday People,” and then he joined Mavis Staples (who looked tiny next to him but brought the house down with her vocal power) for “Eyes on the Prize.”

Robin Pecknold (from Fleet Foxes) came out onstage for “Instant Karma!” and stuck around for “Judy Blue Eyes,” which featured Judy Collins herself in an amazing magenta dress. They sang “Turn, Turn, Turn” together, and then Colin Meloy and the Milk Carton Kids came out to sing “This Land Is Your Land.” (Meloy called it “just as much of a national anthem as the one we’ve got.”)

The last song, which made me cry, featured Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and as many musicians as could cram onto the stage, swaying with their arms around each other, singing “Goodnight Irene.” Our string students joined in on that one too, adding their notes from the back of the stage.

I looked around: sunset light, fans and musicians singing together, banners blowing gently in the breeze. It was a picture-perfect ending to a weekend that embodied the sign at the top of this post: be present, be kind, be open, be together.

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Okay, I know tomorrow’s Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day. But Christmas always starts for me on Christmas Eve – and besides, this clip from The Muppet Christmas Carol is too precious not to share.

Hope this brings a bit of joy into your day, friends. After all, there’s only one more sleep ’til Christmas Eve…

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Since toddlerhood, I’ve been a Sesame Street girl. According to both my mother and my own memories, I loved watching Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Mr. Hooper, Gordon, Maria and all the rest. (Grover remains my dad’s favorite, while Jeremiah has a soft spot for Cookie Monster.) We watched lots of Sesame Street at my house, and we still watch parts of the Christmas Eve special every year.

But I never watched The Muppet Show, which went off the air the year I was born, and wasn’t really a kids’ show, anyway. However, this fall, J and I have been checking out the DVDs from the library and howling with laughter over the antics of Kermit and friends. Kermit has always been my favorite, and it’s such fun to watch him trying to keep everything together (we have that in common) while his wacky friends seem intent, at times, on spoiling or at least sending the show careening wildly off-balance.

Apparently there’s a new Muppet movie in the works (we love the movies too, especially The Muppet Christmas Carol). But for now, we’re having fun watching Kermit dodging Miss Piggy and Fozzie telling terrible jokes and Statler and Waldorf heckling him, and Gonzo performing death-defying acts of, well, we’re not exactly sure what. We love Animal’s mad drumming and the Swedish Chef’s attempts at cooking and Beaker’s mishaps in Muppet Labs, and Rowlf’s piano solos and his jokes on Veterinarian’s Hospital.

This is vintage stuff, so I’m sure we’ve missed a few cultural references, and some of the guest stars are unknown to us – but it’s pure, happy hilarity from the time the curtain goes up till Zoot blows the last note on the saxophone. And after a long day or a hectic week, or just after a cozy dinner at home, it’s often exactly what we need.

Won’t you join us for the Muppet Show tonight?

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