It was a hilarious, heartfelt gathering of friends from several different bands — and one famous funnyman — who came together to raise money for nonprofit Cancer for College.
Brandi Carlile’s first three concerts were Judds shows at The Puyallup Fair. When she had to leave one of them early, Naomi Judd waved goodbye. Like a queen.
Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was once in a band called Tyrant.
Will Ferrell once came upon Tupac Shakur sitting in a chair backstage at “Saturday Night Live.” They greeted each other like children. “Hi!” Ferrell said. “Hi!” the late, great rapper replied.
And when faced with heroes like Prince and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam was so nervous he could only think to ask equipment-related questions to which neither guitar god knew the answer.
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“One Classy Night” at The Moore Theater Monday night wasn’t “classy” at all. It was a hilarious, heartfelt gathering of friends from several different bands — and one famous funnyman — who came together to raise money for Cancer for College, a nonprofit that, since 1993, has provided $2.3 million in scholarships to students who have survived cancer.
Last night’s event raised more than $300,000 for the charity.
Ferrell was there in support of Cancer for College founder Craig Pollard, who was his fraternity brother at The University of Southern California. (It also explains why Seahawks coach Pete Carroll — former coach of the USC Trojans — was in the fourth row.)
The night started with McCready asking Carlile, Smith and Ferrell a series of questions about musical influences, first concerts and meeting their heroes.
Ferrell recalled joining The Columbia House Record Club for a penny: “You could get 13 free albums or tapes of your choice. And that could make an amazing collection. What I didn’t realize is that for the next three years, a record or tape would show up at your house. And if you didn’t get it back in the mail in, like, four hours, you bought it.”
Smith recalled the moment he finally met his rock hero, Gene Simmons of KISS. He accidentally spit his gum out — and it landed in Simmons’ hair.
Carlile remembered working with Elton John (his fingers are apparently very short) and how he spoke of himself in the third person.
At one point, Ferrell burst into an a capella version of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind.” Carlile did the same with the Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge.” Smith waxed poetic about spandex pants. And McCready spent a lot of time doubled over, laughing.
After the Q&A, the four were joined onstage by Carlile’s bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth, Josh Klinghoffer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stefan Lessard of The Dave Matthews Band. They ripped into covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” The Rolling Stones’ “Sway,” Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and R.E.M.’s “So. Central Rain,” before Ferrell came out to do a belated, earsplitting, hilarious sound check.
“We’ve got someone else who wants to try out for this band,” he said. (He had chosen to name it after the Judy Blume classic “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Made sense). “So I want to bring him out and see if he wants to play. Local home-grown kid. If you just start the song, I’m sure he’ll join in.”
Just as Carlile and Co. sang the first line of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” — “Reach out and touch faith” — Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder emerged from the wings, banging on a tambourine. For the most part, he stayed in the back, letting Carlile handle vocals.
Moments later, Ferrell followed Vedder out, playing — do I even need to say it? — a cowbell.
Of course, he left us wanting more.