By Elizabeth Ann Foster
Buster Poindexter introduces his show as a continuum of his life represented through his music. It begins in his childhood and continues even as he enters the lobby into tonight’s venue. The evening begins. He admits that as his music evolved representing his personal maturation and increasingly autumnal life perspective, some fans expecting his characteristic youthful personae may have experienced disappointment. He regresses. David Johansen enters as his alter ego persona Buster Poindexter leaving his punk rock bad boy image to move and entertain a completely different audience at Café Carlyle.
Poindexter is one of the last surviving band members of the New York Dolls. Founding member of the band, Poindexter enjoys a prolific solo career. He is our guide on a Nostalgia tour of NYC from the 70’s to today. He admits most of the people he used to hang around with thought peas grew in a can. “They read books – but in actuality they were Viva magazines!” Poindexter explains.
Hailing from across the water -Staten Island, at 69 Poindexter is truly at home and at peace with NYC.
The set begins with “Funky but Chic” and the entire room is entranced. It is as if a kitten is roaring. This slight skinny performer is voracious. “If Janis Joplin was still alive she would have been a bitch by now,” Poindexter points out. One audience favorite “Making Rain” is a creation from time spent at songwriter Todd Rundgren’s “Cambodian drug lord Pagoda styled home” in Hawaii. It rained frequently during their stay. The band truly played up a storm during this number.
Amidst the noise and chatter in the kitchen one sometimes strains to hear the artists. The bartender lets them know in short order to keep it down. It is hard to take away from the mesmerizing performance.
The group at the bar have come in from Indiana to see the show. They have all his records (yes, they said records) and still somehow manage to play and listen to them. That’s devotion.
The staff provides flawless service and attention to patrons. Tom Skrelja who has been serving star studded audiences for almost 3 decades brings Poindexter drink refills with panache. Skrelja is set to retire this summer and will be sorely missed in the Café.
Poindexter is one cool cat. As he turns to go off stage he exclaims, “were gonna split now since we have been playing 7 hours already.” (what does split mean?) From his set song “Take A Good Look at My Good Looks” he croons, “close your eyes, keep that picture in your mind cause I’ll be gone.” Then he was – gone.
Catch Poindexter while you can – very limited engagement and worth a glimpse of this social icon.
Buster Poindexter – David Johansen Sings.
With Brian Koonin on Guitar, Richard Hammond on Bass, Ray Grappone on Bass and John Dewey on Piano.
Café Carlyle Through April 13. Performances will take place Tuesday through Saturday at 8:45pm. Weekday pricing begins at $85 per person/ Bar seating $65 / Premium seating:$135. Weekend pricing begins at $100 per person/Bar seating $80/ Premium Seating:$150. Reservations can be made online via www.Ticketweb.com. Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue).