VeggieTales Live!: God Made You Special|
3/10/12, at Branch Creek Community Church in Harleysville, PA
Parents young and old know quite well how hard it is to find good childrens entertainment. To make matters more difficult, good Christian childrens entertainment just makes it even more difficult. However, ever since the inception of VeggieTales, parents have had unique, funny, and wholesome entertainment for the kids that is altogether inspirational and enjoyable for kids of all ages. Over the past few years, the Big Idea team has taken the show on the road and the latest "VeggieTales Live!" show, titled "God Made You Special," was our first experience catching this show on tour.
Our son Will, totally
captivated by live
The reason we've yet to see this tour has a lot to do with the fact that we haven't been parents until now. Our seventeen-month old son, Will, is not only old enough to enjoy entertainment like this, but he's quite the VeggieTales fanatic. Ever since he was just a couple months old, there's been something about these animated vegetables that could snap him out of a frantic crying session and calm his little nerves (and therefore calming ours). However, lugging a little one to a live concert is no easy task. We arrived at the March 10th afternoon performance of VeggieTales Live! just as it was beginning, causing us to miss the first few minutes, unfortunately. There were two performances on this particular Saturday at Branch Creek Community Church in Harleysville, PA. We attended the 2pm show, while the 7pm show had already been sold out. I ran inside to get our tickets and could hear the show starting with the VeggieTales theme song (Which our son loves, so I'm disappointed we missed it), and left to help my wife get him changed and out of the car. I returned at one point and could hear "Dance of the Cucumber," before leaving again and returning finally with our son to the tune of the "Belly Button Song." He had been a bit upset over not getting a long enough nap, but his eyes lit up like Christmas morning upon seeing the expansive Veggies merch table and then hearing the "Belly Button Song" in the distance as we approached the church sanctuary.
Basically, the "plot" of this VeggieTales Live! show is that there appears to have been a robbery at the Silly Song Factory and reporter Missy Montgomery of Bumblyburg Channel 7 News is investigating in hopes to find the "Silly Song Bandit." In the process, with the help of her friend Quiggly--and our favorite vegetables--they continue recovering the audience's favorite Silly Songs, and playing them in the process. The show opened with the VeggieTales theme song and continued with "The Water Buffalo Song," "Dance of the Cucumber" and "The Belly Button Song." After we sat down, there seemed to be a performance of one of the Princess & The PopStar songs (I didn't know it very well, but it sounded familiar), sung by one of the girls on stage, and then they began one of our favorite Veggie Silly Songs, "Monkey." Right afterward, the lights grew dim and the vibe grew ominous as the scene in between the songs turned to a setup for "God Is Bigger Than The Boogie Man." Our son, Will, seemed to get a little scared by the way the characters were acting, but Jr. Asparagus's song was familiar to him and eased his mood. From there, though, the show never got scary or creepy again, and it was smooth sailing.
"Endangered Love" was next, with Larry The Cucumber coming out on stage to sing the song, while some dancers performed around him. They then claimed to have located a song from the 80s and Jr. asked the audience to pitch in and sing along for the next one, a cover of the classic "Shout!". At this point, once the song concluded, there was a brief message from Missy about World Vision and she announced a twenty minute intermission. To be honest, as important as what World Vision is, it seemed really strange to do a promo for the organization in the middle of a childrens show. The parents are the only ones who can actually pay to sponsor a child, so all the children can do to help is encourage their parents to sponsor a child for them. However, most of the children in the audience were very, very young, and to have them sit through a brief message about sponsoring a poor child, followed by a unusually long twenty-minute intermission, seemed to be a bit much. However, the intermission wasn't a complete loss for young VeggieTales fans. If anyone remained in the sanctuary during that time, they were treated to a series of videos on the screens that made up the stage backdrop. First was the original "Yodeling Veterinarian" Silly Song video, followed by some trivia (mostly about World Vision) and then the video for "Larry Learns To Listen," followed by more trivia, then "Song of the Cebu," more trivia, and lastly, "I Love My Lips." It was great to have the VeggieTales music continue during the long break, especially for those not wanting to brave the crowd in the lobby and just remain in their seats.
When the show finally resumed, Missy had Pa Grape appear via video chat to help Larry and Mr. Lunt perform "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" theme (unfortunately, the costume for Pa Grape was not on this tour; it was just Larry, Bob, Jr., Mr. Lunt and Jerry Gourd). Another favorite, the goofy tune "Pants," was next, as the dancers all donned crazy-patterned slacks to dance around in. One of the dancers even started doing flips and break-dancing on the stage. It was pretty impressive. "Pizza Angel" followed, featuring Larry The Cucumber and a series of dancers wearing pizza-printed skirts, and then Larry, Bob and Junior came out to do a cover of "Walking on Sunshine." The story took us to the next highlight, the fan favorite "The Hairbrush Song," which was presented in a dance remix form and featured the use of a huge hairbrush prop on stage. For this song, some of the singers and dancers hopped off the stage to interact with the kids standing up front. Soon after, the real Silly Song Bandit was revealed! (I won't spoil that here) "I Am A Promise" closed the show before an encore of the "Broadway" version of the VeggieTales theme song served as the perfect send-off (and it earned a smile from our little guy). Some of the dancers dressed up as vegetables to accompany everyone on stage for the big finale (with bubbles spewing out from bubblemaker machines on stage!).
With the intermission included, the show lasted about an hour and a half and went by super fast, although the VeggieTales Live! crew did a great job packing plenty of music and fun into that time. The song selection was good and a nice diverse mix of silly songs, regular songs, and cover songs. Personally, I could have done without the lengthy intermission or the seemingly out of place World Vision plug (There just has to be a better way to present it. Perhaps as literature to the parents when they arrive?), but overall it's an experience that any fan of the show must have. Also, if you're a parent looking for some fun activity to share with your family, this is it. It's lighthearted and it's spiritual without being over-the-top, and just a great deal of fun for everyone!
-- John DiBiase, 3/22/12