Monday night I had the privilege of seeing Dewey Cox -- better known as John C. Reilly -- live at The Roxy ("Coxy") Theater on the Sunset Strip. Cox and his band The Hard Walkers put on a hell of a show, tearing through all the hits from Cox's glorious career -- soon to be given the big screen treatment in Walk Hard. Reilly came out of the gate ready to rock, and stayed in character all night. He came off like a cruder, nastier Elvis Presley -- guzzling tequila, repeatedly calling us all "motherf***ers, making a downright overwhelming amount of "Cox" jokes, and asking a woman in the audience if he could grab her breast. And grab he did!
But what about the music? Cox performed nearly every track from the Walk Hard soundtrack, and considering this was his "first performance since 1984," he was in fine voice. Reilly dropped out of tune for a song or two but on the whole he sounded pretty terrific, especially on the strangely affecting Roy Orbison homage "A Life Without You (Is No Life at All)." Other standouts included the Johnny Cashtastic "Guilty as Charged," the rollicking "You've Got to Love Your Negro Man," and the hilariously offensive protest song "Dear Mr. President." Reilly played guitar and harmonica pretty well, but since the actors in Cox's movie band (Chris Parnell, Tim Meadows) don't really play, they had to watch on from the audience -- along with co-writer/director Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow -- while a stand-in group of musicians rocked the house.
The show closed with a shirtless Cox moaning through the beguiling "Have You Heard the News (Dewey Cox Died)," rubbing his nipples, and throwing down his microphone. I can't imagine anyone leaving the theater disappointed, and if the live show is any indication, Walk Hard is going to be one hysterical movie. Wanna see Cox? There's still a few dates left on the "Cox Across America" mini-tour.
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