Last night, a friend and I dined at Dupont’s Bua Thai. The place was decked out for the holidays: Poinsettias, a makeshift fireplace, copious sparkle. Bua also spun a pretty strict holiday soundtrack. After about an hour of what my friend described as “A Musical Tribute to Santa,” we were treated to an eight-minute recap of American history soundbites mixed, in chronological order, atop Kenny G‘s soulful “Auld Lang Syne.” It’s called the “Millenium Mix,” and apparently I missed it when it hit in ’99. In it, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor; Kenny G wails on the sax. “The Giants win the pennant!”; Kenny G wails on the sax. John Lennon is shot; Kenny G wails on the sax.
The song’s going along fine until we hit the ’90s. Sure, Kenny’s still wailing, but in terms of generation-shaping events, the ’90s were pretty weak. G does his best, interspersing Austin Powers clips with the O.J. verdict, Bill Clinton‘s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” and coverage of Princess Di‘s funeral. Don’t worry: There’s also an AOL “You’ve got mail!” WAV file thrown in for good measure.
But after 9/11, the world changed, and apparently, so did this song. G recorded an update to the “Millennium Mix”: It’s called the “Freedom Mix,” and it adds in some clips of 9/11 coverage, some George W. Bush, and, for some reason, Regis Philbin‘s “Is that your final answer?” G finishes up with a clip of kids reciting the national anthem and he’s out.
Thankfully, someone has had the sense to pick up where Kenny G left off: Now, they’ve taken his sax and overlayed it with Ron Paul clips.
By now, I’ve become accustomed to novelty millennium retrospectives and post-9/11 tributes to freedom. But somehow, I find it hard to feel nostalgia for a fringe presidential candidate’s two-week-old stump speeches. I do, however, support the blimp.