A lucky few Los Angelenos had the opportunity of a lifetime last night: to see Dewey Cox perform. Sony took over the Sunset Strip’s historic Roxy for a show that would kick off the Cox Across America tour, where Dewey Cox and his band, The Hard Walkers, will bring their greatest hits to a select number of cities before the Dewey Cox biopic, Walk Hard, opens in theaters.
The show was amazing. John C Reilly bounded on to stage in his Dewey Cox get up and spent an hour thrilling the crowd with an often blistering set that stretched from Cox’s first hit, Take My Hand, all the way through the song he wrote about his own death, (Have You Heard the News) Dewey Cox Died. Reilly never broke character once for the hour plus, telling us that scientists at the JPL laboratory in Pasadena had done something with the space/time continuum that allowed his 1957 self to be on stage today with full knowledge of his whole life and songs.
There may end up being differing opinions about Walk Hard when it’s released (I think it might be too smart for a large portion of the audience) but there can’t be any argument about the music. The songs in the film are incredible, and hearing them live only reinforced how simply good they are. Sony is gunning for an Oscar nomination for Walk Hard itself, but I think any of the songs in this movie could be contenders. I wouldn’t cry foul at an Oscars where Walk Hard songs filled all five Best Original Song slots. In a lot of ways the music reminds me of Spinal Tap, in that the songs are silly and sometimes stupid, but also catchy and well-written. The Hard Walkers threw their all into it, as did Reilly, who went through about a half dozen sweat soaked towels. All of which he threw into the audience – Reilly has the rock star pose down perfectly.
I stood up against the stage with Todd Gilchrist of IGN and Jen Yamamoto of Rotten Tomatoes; I can’t speak for the people in the back of the club, but up front it was impossible to not be swept up in the moment. I was throwing the devil horns and shouting ‘Gimme more Cox!’ the whole night, singing along with some of the hits. Neither Jen or Todd had seen the film yet and they were singing along too. At one point Reilly came over and grabbed my hand. Later he grabbed the breast of the girl next to me (he asked permission first. A gentleman always). As the show went on Reilly, who knocked back a couple of shots of tequila on stage, kept removing clothes. By the encore he stood shirtless (‘Recognize these from the billboards,’ he asked as he pinched his nipples).
At one point in the night Todd turned to me and said, ‘He used to do serious movies.’ Seeing Reilly in that element is illuminating and exciting, and it makes you believe that maybe this is an actor who can help bring comedy a little more respect. His commitment to his character is awe-inspiring and complete, and it totally works. Dewey Cox is going to be an iconic character for Reilly.
I’d be really remiss if I forgot to mention Angela Correa, the singing voice for Jenna Fischer’s character. She joined Reilly on stage and had a great time with him on Let’s Duet. I had a chance to meet Angela after the show and found her to be really lovely. You should check out her website Correatown right here. Buy her album!
If you’re in a city that is hosting a Cox Across America show, you must go to it. You will have a goddamn blast and I guarantee you’ll walk out of the concert a certified Cox Lover. This is an experience you must have. In the meantime the Walk Hard soundtrack is on sale now; you can get extra songs if you buy it on iTunes.