One Night Only: Cox in New York City
(WARNING: This post contains foul language and far too many puns on the name "Cox." Read at your own risk)
Like a tiger in heat, he prowled the stage, with an raw animal sexuality that could impregnate a dead elephant from a hundred yards. Beneath a shimmering purple light his great mane of hair (too messy not to be real, so let's put all those ludicrous hairpiece rumors to rest) flowed like the mighty Mississippi. As the music accelerated, he swayed and bowed his head, and then began to rock his hips like a boat in a storm. When the song quieted a man from near the front corner of the room shouted:
"I WANT COX!"
The great man a god made flesh, really paused, and then shot the audience an incredulous look. The titan speaks:
"Did a guy just say he wants Cox?"
The audience responds with gails of laughter. A grin parts our hero's lips. Then another beat. Should he say it? Absolutely.
"I would fuck a man to please you, New York!" he says.
The crowd roars with approval. His five piece, The Hard Walkers, launch into the next song. And for one night only, Dewey Cox lives and breaths again.
Yes, as part of what might be the coolest shameless promotional campaign ever, John C. Reilly donned a mariachi outfit, strapped on a six-string and assumed the role of Dewey Cox, hero of the new bioparody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (My review's up on The Reeler). In just under an hour, Reilly and his band (which included Mike Viola of the Candy Butchers) hit all the Cox classics from the fiery "Guilty as Charged" to the hella dirty "Let's Duet" (with co-star Kristen Wiig), as well as some choice covers, including Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," J.J. Cale's "Cocaine" (recast as a badass, high-speed countrified stomp after Cox did a line on stage), and, incredibly, The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage."
The songs are good, and much better live and in full length than in the movie, where a lot of the jokes get drowned out or omitted completely. But the best bits were all just Reilly as Cox, relishing every bit of his hard rocking persona. He told stories about Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan (or "Robert" as he called him). He stripped down little by little, song by song, until he was rocking out topless, drenched in water, sweat and who knows what else. And he talked about his last gig at the Knitting Factory, back in 1969 when it was still a real knitting factory ("I don't want to call it a sweatshop, because they weren't sweating," he laughed, "But it was fucked up!").
Plus I walked away with a sweet "Cox Across America" Tour t-shirt. Truly a night to remember. And hey, here's one of the other shows on the tour on YouTube: