Friendship dictates the celebration of a friend's birthday. This particular celebration found us at a place downtown called Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. Us being my husband and mom accompanying me.
Having never been to a dueling piano bar (one of my sister's favorite places in San Antonio was Dirty Nelly's Irish Pub, which she said was quite a riot), I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, save two guys playing pianos. I don't know that 'dueling' is really the proper word, at least for the instance of the evening, but you'd get a paper, write your request, slip it onto a grand piano one of the guys was sitting on, and if they knew it, they'd probably play it. Order of operations dictates that if they played it, it got wadded up and tossed somewhere. If they didn't know it, early in the evening, they'd let you know and they were keeping your money anyway. For the more serious bar hoppers, the bigger your tip, the better chance you had of getting your song played.
Now, if this hasn't been established before, I will let you know now. I can seriously drink. I don't normally like to seriously drink, because drinking is supposed to be something that is relaxing and done in moderation. As a kid, I would always try to press the limits. As an adult, if I'm not driving, well....I try to behave myself in public now. Anyway, knowing about what my bar tab runs now, I shudder to think how much money gets blown at this bar - soused people paying exceptional money for the alcohol in the first place, then tipping these guys twenty bucks to play a song, in some instances, not even in its entirety. Decadent, but it was kind of fun just to laugh at some of these people.
There was a few memorable instances for the evening, especially since it is really kind of a sing-along type of environment. "You don't have to call me darling" was promptly recognized by the group I was with, and after that specific string of words, the words "BITCH, SLUT, WHORE" were screamed from the group, much to both the surprise and delight of the the pianist. There was also some other song where the same three words were used, with the addition of YOU in front of them. And some other song where the audience called out TO GET DRUNK, TO GET HIGH, TO GET LAID. Some of the songs, I recognized. Some of them I didn't. But singing along was fun anyway.
But it might also give you an idea of exactly what kind of group I was hanging out with. Good, bawdy people.
There were a few songs that were added to the set, two of which my husband called out on, that was accompanied by the waitresses dancing. Of course, the request for The Time Warp, which gets everyone on their feet.
Now...let's go back to the fact that my mother went along.
The volume was loud enough to leave that kind of hollow, tinny sound ringing in my ears after we left. My mother probably had a harder time understanding the men talking, because they spoke fast and were distorted slightly by the reverb from the microphones. Sometimes I leaned back and explained a joke passed between them, and she laughed. But generally, whether or not she could catch the joke, she found the whole thing amusing. Especially when one of the guys used a flashlight for a 'spotlight' and heckled people in the audience (some white guy was referred to all evening as 'Pepe'...the pianist said that was his name for the evening, so he responded and joked with the pianist most of the evening). My mother gets wasted on a thimble-full of booze, so she happily enjoyed the show with a soda. We both agreed it was something really different, and kinda fun, and her biggest surprise was that going into a bar in Houston, there was no smoking inside.
Mom doesn't get out much.
But that was the evening. And if you feel a bit bawdy and loud, maybe you and your chums will drop by Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. It was a pretty nice night out.