Dueling Banjos, Refined.

Whether or not you’ve seen the movie Deliverance, one of the more iconic scenes in the file is the dueling banjos scene. If I’ve lost you already after my opening line, let me catch you up to speed with the clip I’m referring to. You can Google what happens in the rest of the movie, if you’re so inclined… yikes.

Here in New Hampshire, I have discovered the dueling banjos, but refined- the Dueling Pianos. Before going to any of the shows, based on the name of the show alone, I thought that it would follow along the lines of Deliverance and the two pianos would just be tearing up the stage accompanying each other. Little did I know, that these shows often have bars to go along with them and leaves the audience feeling p-r-e-t-t-y good.

Anyhow, a few years ago, I had the chance to go see a performance of the Dueling Pianos in Plymouth, NH at the Flying Monkey and was too “cool” to really enjoy the performance. The premise is this. There are two pianos on stage that play all audience requests, and essentially split the audience by where they’re seated, rows, gender, etc. and battle for two hours on which piano player’s “team” can be louder and/or better. Songs ranging from Michael Jackson, to Meatloaf, to Def Leopard and Journey were played to the audience’s delight. As previously mentioned, alcohol was involved, sans our group who was on a staff outing from the college with a strict “no-drinking-while-bonding” policy. Surrounded by swaying intoxicated people singing loudly seemed like a normal night on duty for a Residential Life staff member, so it wasn’t uncomfortable, I was just not engaged with the show. I sat quietly for two hours tapping my feet to every song I knew while screaming out the lyrics in my head instead of out loud with the audience because I was simply too cool to join in. You know how it goes. Regret followed when I thought back on the show and knew I would have enjoyed it so much more if I could have only gotten over myself.

1Fast forward four years, redemption time. Living in a college town offers you the perks of cultural things without having to wake up for 8am classes that you could care less about. On Main Street in Keene stands the Colonial Theater, which first opened its doors in 1924. Um, cool?! On weekend nights, the glow of the sign can be seen up and down Main Street, which evokes thoughts of how the theater must have been with it first opened. No, just me? I think about these things, sorry.

I had heard a week before the actual show that the Dueling pianos would be performing on the night after Valentine’s Day. Double win- I still needed to get my parents a gift. I called home and confirmed that they were free that night and bought 3 tickets. Yes 3. I’m an only child, and as every only child knows, when your parents go somewhere fun or cool, you have the built in right to go with them, as there is no one else for you to play with, even at age 25. It’s just the rule.

2So off we went to the show. Beer and wine were flowing, and I was hopped up on cold medicine from being sick, and found myself becoming one of those swaying-in-my-seat, foot-tapping, lyric-screaming people that I had refused to be years prior. You know what? I had an absolute blast.

(Please enjoy the stunning quality of the above photographs from my outdated phone, hoping on the iPhone train soon, I hope!)