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The Tubes Move Forward By Going Backward in Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Tubes from San Francisco, California brought their legendary genre-melding, cross-dressing musical repertoire to the Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, January 23, 2020 as part of an entertaining double bill with Canadian arena rockers Loverboy.

The Tubes Move Forward By Going Backward in Music City
Fee Waybill is still using his imagination in Nashville.

In celebration of their approaching 40th anniversary of their first breakout hit "Talk To You Later" from 1981's The Completion Backward Principle the group - consisting of frontman Fee Waybill, drummer Prairie Prince, guitarist Roger Steen, bassist Rick Anderson and longtime keyboardist David Medd - played both sides of the palatable platter for the Nashville faithful - even if they had to explain the cryptic meaning of "A" and "B" to the few millennials present in the house.

In addition to that lesson, the show began with a spoken word treatise that further revealed the concept behind The Completion Backward Principle as Fee delivered a monologue stating that "imagination creates reality" adding "you see the things you want from completion backwards". It was actually shocking to realize these rockers were so far ahead of their time as they presented a message that would go on to become popularized in the modern era in books like "The Secret".

"The Completion Backward Principle album was a spoof of corporate rock," insists Fee. "The sales technique was that 'imagination creates reality,' which it turns out, was a metaphor for someone like me, who grew up singing Beatles songs around the house dying to be in a band."

The Tubes Move Forward By Going Backward in Music City
Roger Steen and Prairie Prince bring the rock to country's music most hallowed hall.

Even this far down the line from their MTV glory days reality still has some surprises in store for the band. Take for example this unlikely appearance in Nashville. Early on in the show lead singer and frontman Fee Waybill greeted the crowd in Tennessee and exclaimed that he and the band we're "very jazzed" to be performing in the historic venue known as the Mother Church of Country Music. Fee cut a striking figure as a "man in white" while mustering up an Elvis Presley impression to honor the King's only appearance in the building.

The band shone like rhinestones on their two major hits "Talk To you Later" and "She's A Beauty" that opened and closed the show respectively. Elements of their punky, art rock foundation was still in the act as the forever tall Quay the drag queen made her much anticipated appearance during an appropriate cover of Suffragette City followed by the urgent and frenetic "White Punks on Dope".

The Tubes Move Forward By Going Backward in Music City
More scenes from The Tubes in Nashville.

As for resurrecting the satirical The Completion Backwards Principle , the ever-astute Waybill says the timing couldn't be better. "The album embodies and pokes fun at the whole idea of the kind of 1984 political double-speak we get from this current President every day."

"Roger, Prairie and I just went into the studio together," says Waybill hinting that there might even be some new music on the way. "We're really having fun doing this."

SETLIST: Talk to Ya Later | Sushi Girl | Amnesia | Mr. Hate | Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman | Think About Me | A Matter of Pride | Don't Want to Wait Anymore | Power Tools | Let's Make Some Noise | Suffragette City (David Bowie cover) |White Punks on Dope | Encore | She's a Beauty

The Tubes Move Forward By Going Backward in Music City
The Tubes brought their legendary act to the famous Ryman Auditorium stage.

Related Links: For more information on THE TUBES and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- The Tubes | Loverboy | Loverboy at The Ryman | Ryman Auditorium


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