Arsenio Hall turned his “Night Thing” into a Bowl Thing, marking his 1,000th show with a celebrity-studded extravaganza before a paying, capacity crowd at the Hollywood Bowl. But event’s size may have been too much for the talkshow host to handle, as the presentation may be remembered more for its foibles than its triumphs.
Hall abandoned the format he used to reach this syndicated milestone, preferring to act more as concert emcee than talkshow host.
As expected, Hall blasted critics who said he wouldn’t last, his self-aggrandizing remarks taking on an “I told you so” hyperbole.
Madonna’s un-discoized version of “Fever” from her “Erotica” disc, earned the evening’s head-scratching award. Sporting a Marlene Dietrich-meets-Bette Davis persona, Madonna’s slowed version of the track with a strictly B-movie campiness was curious indeed.
The pairing of the Blonde One with Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers had the potential for greatness, but fell far short. Their bastardized version of “The Lady Is a Tramp” is sure to earn Madonna a spot alongside Sinead O’Connor on Sinatra’s never-perform-with list.
Sinbad’s standup superfluities seemed lost on the huge crowd, who paid $ 5, $ 10 or $ 20 to get in. (Proceeds went to the Magic Johnson Foundation for AIDS.)
Duran Duran performed “Come Undone” from its latest self-titled Capitol disc. Despite being one of the strongest tunes on the album, the song seemed to get lost in the cavernous Bowl.
Director Sandi S. Fullerton and her camera operators delivered a show rivaling those by big-scale concert vets.