It Just Ain't Christmas Without Darlene Love's Classic

Show Recap
Air Date: 12/22/18

It's the final new show before Christmas, and all through the theatre...
Not an appliance was needed, not even a heater.

Never mind. That rhyme sucks.

This show is marked with tradition and is one of our favorites. After the monologue, and the final display of The NIte Show Christmas Tree, Sock Puppet Santa made his annual visit. This year, he came with song. He presented his "Naughty List" for 2018 - a list of names and reasons why they are on the list, put to song. The parody of "Jingle Bells" was well-received, although we didn't stick around long enough to hear from anyone who was actually included on the list. Locals like Stephen King, Lee Nelson, and Sen. Susan Collins made the list, presented in a way that only Sock Puppet Santa can deliver. 

Behind the Scenes nugget: Gov. Elect Janet Mills was also on the list, although her verse was cut from the broadcast (and the web version) for time. Her reason for being on the list was that she wouldn't return Sock Puppet Santa's calls and pleas to be included in her administration. 

Our first guest was Aislinn Sarnacki. She's been a writer for the Bangor Daily News for some time. Nearly a decade? She currently writes a lot about outdoor activities in Maine - a lot of hiking related stuff. Her blog is Act Out With Aislinn. She's also written a couple of books: "Family Friendly Hikes in Maine" and her latest, "Maine Hikes Off The Beaten Path." She has a new book due out in 2019 focused on dog-friendly hikes in Maine. Aislinn also wrote the first article that was done about The Nite Show when we returned to the airwaves in 2010 for the Bangor Daily News. On her first appearance on the show, she brought a delightful ornament for the Nite Show Christmas Tree, and talked a lot about ticks. Don't think she's got a thing about ticks though. Dan asked a number of questions about ticks. He seems genuinely curious. Or, perhaps there's some history there with ticks and Dan. That seems like an episode of Dr. Phil ripe for the making.

Speaking of Dr. Phil, I caught an episode of Dr. Phil yesterday on OWN. I was watching cable on my phone using the Spectrum app. My cable went out (like it usually does) and the Spectrum app only offers limited channels if you're not on Spectrum wi-fi. So when my phone went from using wi-fi to cell data, it switched to OWN all by itself. I was immediately drawn in by this episode of Dr. Phil. It was very Springer-esque. But, I wondered, is that how OWN gets most of its viewers? Does anyone watch that channel on purpose?

On to other things. Our next guest was the annual presentation of Darlene Love's Christmas classic, "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)." We do this every year because David Letterman established the tradition. Dan felt it was important to carry it on as much as we could. So, since Dave retired, we've been featuring this song on our final new show before Christmas. Anna Roman returned on lead vocals, with Brian Nadeau & The Nite Show Band handling the majority of the instrumental and rhythm. David Wells joined the group on saxophone, Scott Burditt on French Horn, and - as a special treat - Tom "Bones" Malone on trombone. More on Tom in a minute. Opus Trio came back to add strings to the mix, and the Hampden Academy Chamber Choir filled out the background vocals with percision and grace. It was an incredible performance. Always is. Sets the tone for Christmas for all of us at the show.

Here's a few things about this year's performance:

Tom Bones Malone: He has a lengthy resume in the world of music. Most relevant to this performance is his 22 year tenure with the CBS Orcehstra on The Late Show with David Letterman. He arranged the tune for the band and performed it for 22 years with Ms. Love and the band on national television. It was an honor and a pleasure to have him give our production his seal of approval and his talents.
- The Solo: The original recording features a Bari Sax solo. We have done the same every year. This year, Tom Bones Malone handled the solo given his connection to the song. He didn't disappoint.
French Horn: This year featured French Horn for the first time. The original recording featured it as well. We thought it was important to add to the mix if given the opportunity, and Mr. Burditt was exceptional.
- Trio: Keen viewers asked: "How come Opus Trio only has two members?" The group is three members strong, except one member was sick the night we recorded. The group's name is Opus Trio, and renaming them because of sickness seemed odd. They stayed "Opus Trio" in our listing.
Hampden Academy Chamber Choir: This group's first time performing on our show, and their first time doing this song. Not a lot changes from year-to-year with our productions of this song, but the backup singers have varied. Hampden Academy brought a large group that was simply fantastic. 
- Ruining the magic: Because of Tom Malone's schedule, for the first time since we started this tradition, we had to record it much earlier than our Christmas show taping. It was recorded on Wednesday, Nov. 7. We recorded this song and the web exclusive song from the same group, and then removed all of the music gear, took down the Christmas decorations, and reset the stage to record two full shows that would air in November, and one more that will air in February. We felt like time travelers!

And that, my friends, was a wrap. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thanks for watching!!