Yo Gabba Gabba Live! review

By Rev. Adam McKinney on November 13, 2010

The delirium of Yo Gabba Gabba!, or: How to try (and fail) to not look like a creep at a children's show >>>

Upon my arrival at the Tacoma Dome, I immediately felt woefully out of place. A giant line wrapped its way around the sidewalk as hordes of adorable children and their equally adorable, 30-year-old, bearded parents waited for admission into the hippest kids' show around. I speak, of course, of Yo Gabba Gabba!-otherwise known as the clearest intersection between children and those most obsessed with children's culture: hipsters.

Boasting connections with a collection of some of the coolest musicians and artists of past and present (including Mark Mothersbaugh, MGMT, Biz Markie, Of Montreal, Paul Scheer and others), Yo Gabba Gabba! actually manages to deliver on the promise of other children's shows - by entertaining the parents as much as the kids.

The touring production of Yo Gabba Gabba! was subtitled "There's a Party in My City!" Host DJ Lance Rock (in all his orange-covered, uber-enthusiastic, messianic glory) did his due diligence by frequently complimenting Tacoma on being so smart and fun to be around.

"There's a Party in My City" was comprised largely of popular songs from the television show, and they were met with enthusiasm by the audience of very young people. The formula can effectively be boiled down to: DJ Lance Rock encourages people to dance, espouses the virtues of hugging and eating, and more than once has to cheer up his perpetually depressed green monster friend, Brobee.

Every now and again, confetti and streamers are jettisoned into the crowd. Balloons rain from the ceiling. Swarms of glow sticks are bandied in the dark. At times, Yo Gabba Gabba! resembles a kiddie bacchanal.

Without question, show highlights include the various guest appearances we were treated to. Multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams utilized a looping pedal to create his backing track, freeing him up so he could demonstrate how much he loves hula-hooping. Chris Ballew (of the Presidents of the United States of America, and his own children's music project, Caspar Babypants) dropped in to teach everyone a new dance and exited the stage with the hilarious non-sequitur, "Bye guys! Gotta go write a song about a marshmallow." Biz Markie taught kids how to beatbox...more or less.

In the end, "Yo Gabba Gabba: There's a Party in My City" was a fun-albeit unexpectedly short and tragically expensive-time had by all. Now if only watching Yo Gabba Gabba! didn't make me feel like such a weirdo ...