Saturday, January 26, 2008

Killing Me Softly

On stage at Tabernacle - a former cathedral converted into a club - Usher told a packed house that Gary Bettman was a really cool guy.

Yup, it was that sort of night in ATL.

Ricky D was there, so was Jarome Iginla and a few of the other all-stars. The event was a fundraiser for Usher's foundation, the headliner was Wyclef Jean.

Wyclef took the stage to a divided response. Half the crowd was waving the flag of Haiti, the other half just kinda stood there and applauded politely, wondering if maybe Kenny Chesney might have been a better choice for NHL All-Star Weekend.

But after two songs - including one where Wyclef had moderate success getting everyone to rap, "President Bush, mind your own business," the singer said it was time to officially get the party started.

He grabbed a guitar and played the opening chord progression to "No Woman, No Cry." The NHL folk made the connection that this was the guy from the Fugees, everyone started dancing - including hundreds of people who just should not ever dance - and the roof almost came off the place.

I'm telling ya, it was memorable.

As for Rick and Jarome and the rest of the guys, the bus leaves their hotel at the unfortunate hour of 8:00 am for Saturday morning practice and team photos. The NHL turns the workout into a public spectacle called "Rockin' Skate" and the insanely popular boy band the Jonas Brothers are playing. When my kids find out, they'll be jealous.

But what they really missed out on was Wyclef Jean.

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