Darlene Love Alert

Late Show with David Letterman Guests   CBS.comThis Friday marks David Letterman’s annual Christmas show, always featuring Darlene Love singing “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home.” I wait for this performance every year. Last year, as the grateful guest of Matt Scott, I watched Darlene perform it live!

There is a formula followed year-after-year, which is why I’m currently worried.

First there’s Jay Thomas. He tells the story of the Lone Ranger at a car dealership. Then a guest with something to promote comes on. Last year the beautiful, but cold as a fish, Naomi Watts. Then (after an interminable production stop while the studio gets reconfigured) Darlene, full orchestra with strings and a choir.

I checked this year’s lineup. John McEnroe, Kristen Wiig, Darlene. No Jay Thomas!

Uh, oh. This isn’t good. I’ll keep my ear to the tracks to find out what’s happened, kimosabee.

Note: See the comments for more on Jay’s absence.

Darlene Returns With Dave

I can’t believe I almost forgot! It wasn’t until a few minutes before I left work that I remembered it was the night of Darlene Love’s annual appearance with David Letterman.

Actually, Friday night on Letterman must have been really weird for Cate Blanchett. She was the middle guest, between Jay Thomas’ yearly retelling of the Lone Ranger story and his football toss (trying to knock a meatball off a Christmas tree) and Darlene Love’s singing Christmas (Baby, please come home).

There must have been a “what am I doing here moment” for poor Cate.

This was not the best I’ve ever seen Darlene. But, to paraphrase an old saying, even her worst would be amazing.

This is a big budget night with strings, extra horns, a standup bass and various percussionists. As ridiculous as it sounds, I enjoyed hearing Paul count down (1,2,1,2,3,4) under Dave’s intro.

I remember seeing a full gospel chorus backing Darlene a few years ago. This year it was nine singers. Hey, nine is a pretty big number.

Not everything was perfect. It looked like the timing for the ‘delivery’ of Bruce Kapler&#185 and his saxophone was off, but the effect was still nice. He came out in red, head-to-toe.

I so look forward to this performance every year. A minute or two before it aired, I switched on my homebuilt DVR. This afternoon, I edited a clean version which now sits on my computer desktop.

It isn’t Christmas without Darlene Love.

&#185 – I originally credited the sax playing to David Sandborn. I appreciate the correction.

Must See TV – Darlene Love on David Letterman

2005 Update for Google searchers

I know a lot of traffic comes here via Google every year at this time, looking for my info on Darlene Love’s annual Letterman appearance. Darlene will be on Late Night with David Letterman this Friday, December 23, 2005. The info comes from Darlene’s website.

As long as you’re here, read my blog.

Every year, on the last show before Christmas, David Letterman has Jay Thomas on trying to knock a meatball off a Christmas tree with a football. I can live without that.

On that last show he also has Darlene Love singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” I look forward to it every year. Tonight’s the night!

This is worth watching and taping.

First, Darlene is dynamite. She sells every note and gives this Phil Spector classic the respect it deserves. If she’s lost anything since this song was released over 40 years ago, I’m not hearing it.

Letterman goes all out bringing in a huge choir and string section. The sax solo is usually played by David Sanborne. Paul and the boys turn it up.

But really, it’s all Darlene. She owns it.

There is no doubt it is my favorite Christmas song. My DVR is set.