Day: December 31st, 2007

New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

Monday, December 31st, 2007 | All Things, Friends

We convened after work at Grand Central Terminal for tonight’s gathering in Tudor City. Are kooky glittered “2008” glasses required to ring in the new year properly? Indeed they are.

Happy New Year 2008

En route to the party, we made a stop at a surprisingly crowded Goodburger for — what else? — burgers. Make that a turkey burger for me, as I’d already exceeded my beef quota for the week. With the works, minus mayo: pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard. Really good, but for me, Westville‘s version still tops my list, and not just for hot dates.

NYE Goodburgers

Then on to MC’s where a group of revelers had gathered to unleash their inner rock stars on this last night of 2007. I’m referring, of course, to Harmonix “Rock Band,” a.k.a. the Best Party Game Ever. Sorry, “Guitar Hero,” but though the thrasher battles can be cool to watch, the ability to include other band members in a collaborative jam session makes for far more fun. “Rock Band,” which was released for PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 20, 2007 — three weeks after the launch of “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” — allows players to perform in virtual bands by providing up to four would-be rockers with the ability to play the peripheral of their choice (mic, guitar, bass guitar or drums). The “instruments” are used to simulate the performance of actual rock songs by hitting scrolling notes on-screen.

The song selection is what you’d expect: as a group, we put together some rousing renditions of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” David Bowie’s “Suffragette City,” The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” (check out this crazy Rock Band drumming action), The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” The Killers’ “When You Were Young” … and a whole lot of songs I didn’t know. Yes, I have an embarrassingly large gap in my musical repertoire when it comes to classic rock. I pitched in on vocals on Radiohead’s “Creep until on a lark, I took up the wooden sticks and discovered that I may be a drummer at heart. Not a good one, mind you, but a drummer just the same.

Me, banging the skins — a mini drum kit with four color-coded, pressure-sensitive heads and a simulated bass pedal:

Rock Band drums

Play well enough and the “crowd” gets into the act by singing and clapping along, as in an actual concert. Play badly, and the song will be cut short. There are ways to drive up the cumulative score (with bonuses and multipliers for consecutive correct beats/notes/phrases, or by playing in unison), but I was concentrating too hard on just getting through my sections, which was both frustrating and exhilarating at the same time.

Rock Band

And oh yes, before the night was through, there was also a very respectable performance of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” that really could only have been improved by more cowbell.

At ten minutes to midnight, we switched over to the live broadcast of Times Square, where Dick Clark was hosting the countdown for the third time after recovering from his 2004 stroke. Along with an estimated one million spectators in Times Square and over a billion people throughout the world, we watched as the new Waterford Crystal/LED-lit ball dropped to commemorate the final dwindling seconds of 2007.

To new beginnings. Happy new year, everyone!

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