"Out there in the spotlight/ you're a million miles away!" --Bob Seger, from "Turn The Page."

Last night, I decided to do something fun for myself--and get out of my apartment as well for a while. So, at 19:30, I took the bus to Smitty's Downtown to check out the nightlife...and give the 21:00 Karaoke feature a try.

Background on my singing abilities. I used to sing in three choirs when I was younger, including a male voice choir when in college. My main vocal range is "bass-baritone," but I can also hit low tenor if the song requires it.

So, I put in my two songs (to start with), and I was called up third to begin my adventures in vocal mayhem. My first song was "Eat The Rich" by Aerosmith. It was a good warm-up song (as well as being my favorite Aerosmith ditty), and I got a good reception afterwards.

My second song (one hour later) was "You Got Another Thing Comin'" by Judas Priest. Feeling a bit looser, I unleashed more power into my singing. Two songs down--two positive responses. Then it was back to my seat to watch the others in action. Some were good--but others compared...unfavorably...to a pair of alley cats having the hump of their lives under a insominiac's bedroom window at 3AM.

Then came another turn. I requested "Hell Is For Children" by Pat Benetar. Having had first-person experience with the many forms of child abuse (from the recieving end), this song was not only a good catharic for some of my inner demons, but the fact it was hard rock in beat made it all the better.

So, as the words popped up on the screen, I beg an to sing. In this song, the beat varies betwen slow and easy--then a bit of hard edged rock with a faster tempo. I let myself unleash pure hellfire with this song...the song was bringing back a few memories, and by letting go with my full volume and rage--well, let's just say the crowd ate that one up!

The karaoke master later told me that it was very rare for a man to sing well a song produced for a woman's vocals (I thought that was what he said), but I was able to punch through nicely. What I got out of it was a good spiritual catharsis...and a very nice round of applause.

Song number four was "Nights In White Satin" by the Moody Blues. A good cool-down number that got a lot of compliments from the patrons. After that one, I stepped outside to get a bit of fresh air...and some tater-tots from Sonic (Singing does give you an appetite, and I like tater tots better than I do french fries) to nosh on.

Then came my final number. "Riders On The Storm" by The Doors. Not only is this song in my primary vocal range, but it's only one of three Doors songs that I like (the others being "The End" and "Roadhouse Blues"). Besides, with the potential wet weather later this week,,,need I say more?

I had myself a grand old time, but my body was telling me that it was time to call a cab and trundle off for home. I wished everybody a good night, called my cab, and waited outside to catch it. One of the patrons asked when I might be back?

"When I feel the need to howl again ...I'll be back," I replied.

And Boy Howdy--It felt GOOD to unlimber my vocal chords through song! I only drank one beer, and stuck with mineral water the rest of the night (overdoing it on booze ruins your singing voice, among other things).

Believe me--it was a grand old night.

--LPR

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