The show review below is a guest post from life long Texan, foodie and internet security expert, Jon Marler. Jon's enthusiasm for Alton Brown's many food-related television programs is evident in this entertaining recap of last night's Edible Inevitable Tour show which took place at ACL Live. You can find Jon surfing the interwebs on Facebook and Twitter.
After finding our seats we were greeted with what sounded like the music track from Looney Tunes cartoons, setting the tone early. About fifteen minutes before showtime, the lights came down, the big screens came on, and some piano music started playing. Then … something … interesting happened. Sock puppets appeared on the screens. But not just any sock puppets … Yeast. If you are a fan of Good Eats you’ve seen the little yeasty puppies burp and fart time and time again on the program. The puppets did not disappoint. Just like on the show, the yeasty puppets burped and farted without any regard to politeness. In fact, they appeared to be enjoying their gassy emissions. They started slow at first, and much like the fermentation process they represent, they slowly picked up the pace, burping and farting and giggling with increased frequency. I could tell right away that this was my kind of show, and it was going to be AWESOME!
Brown started off the show with a song that any child of the 70’s will recognize called “The Meat Goes On” where he mocked vegetarians and vegans as he proclaimed his passionate love for all foods carnivore. It was easy to tell that Brown could not believe he was singing a song about loving meat at the venue where the Austin City Limits show is taped. I had no clue this would be a musical show and instantly wished my friends Greg and Haley had come to enjoy the show. Brown took the time to introduce us to the musical genius behind the ten notes that every Good Eats fan can instantly recognize, Patrick Belden who played bass and lead guitar in the band. Brown had Jim Pace on drums who also played one of the lawyers, a lobster, and a frenchman on Good Eats. The Edible Inevitables Trio actually played well, which was unexpected.
Brown followed his opening song with a presentation that he claims to have modified over 70 times, coyly announcing he is officially retiring after this tour. Brown give us the “short version” of his “10 Things I Absolutely Know About Food” presentation. I won’t spoil the whole thing for you, but I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. He gave us universal axioms such as “The best cook ever in the history of the world is …” and then launched into another hilarious song and story about his wife. If you are also a fan of Food Network’s Iron Chef America, you will love the story behind the first item “Trout is not ice cream.”
Everyone who came to this show expected some crazy gadgetry and antics, but before the first demonstration, we got another hilarious song about eating airport shrimp cocktail. Another one of the ten things that Brown knows about food … eating airport lounge shrimp cocktail is a very bad idea, and he has the bill from a two day hospital visit for food poisoning to prove it. After grossing us out with tales of airplane toilets, Brown invited his first victim/volunteer to demonstrate how to make ice cream in ten seconds. Brown is an expert at making the entire process hilarious and even manages to find a way to tease the hapless volunteer about his inability to put on a disposable poncho. Brown predicted that if he has such trouble putting on a poncho, he sees children in his future. Ponchos were thrown to the first couple rows, and shortly thereafter, instant ice cream was produced from Brown's custom “Jet Cream” machine.
After a short intermission, Brown treated the audience to a little bit of punk rock. He rocked a magnum opus detailing his absolute love and addiction to caffeine. The guitars were loud, the beat was fast, and he was good. Who would have guessed that Alton Brown could shred guitar on a punk track? He kept us rocking by launching into a song about a boy who was long denied his only desire. Not even Santa Claus would deliver the one toy he couldn’t live without, but just wasn’t for boys, an Easy Bake Oven. The tune was done in heavy metal style. The song was capped off with Brown’s 1964 Easy Bake Oven being brought out on stage in it’s original glory. Being the Alton Brown Live show, we all knew the food tv star would not be satisfied with some puny 100 watt oven. No way. Enter the “Mega Bake” oven standing at least seven feet tall, with a set of stairs that allowed Brown to stand atop like a triumphant hunter claiming his prize. 54,000 watts of pure baking power that can peak at over 900 degrees fahrenheit, but he promised to keep it just over 600 for our safety.
The Mega Bake demanded a sacrificial lamb (volunteer) from the audience. Brown walked us through the process of making a pizza with a woman named Stephanie, complete with airborne dough and many shenanigans. Brown gots heckled almost non-stop in this section, which he deftly parried with wit and charm. At one point, he referred to a particularly persistent heckler as sounding like singer Charo which only egged (see what I did there?) on. After much laughter, two pizzas were produced that were only dropped once or twice.
Brown brought the show back to music with a blues track about his mother-in-law’s exceptionally awful pork chops. This was easily the best song of the night, complete with Brown playing alto sax and absolutely killing it! Who would have expected a song about burnt pork chops could be so full of soul? The night finishes off with a cheesy acoustic guitar lullaby for Brown's daughter about how easy cooking is. The song included a hand drawn slide show made by Alton’s five year-old daughter. After finishing his lullaby, Brown wished the audience a good night, deftly held his guitar in the air and walked off the stage.
I couldn’t possibly be happier with how the show turned out. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting to see AB singing, playing the guitar, or playing the saxophone like an old pro. If you get a chance to check out the show, I can’t recommend it enough, even if you are not a die hard Good Eats fan like me. If you are a fan of good comedy, cheesy music, MacGyveresque cooking contraptions, or old farts that just don’t take themselves that seriously, you should definitely go see Alton’s show. Remaining tour dates through March 2 can be found here.