Fanfare for The Wiggles

As farewell tours go, this one’s not likely to go down in history. But in households around the world, the toddler set is mourning the loss of The Wiggles.

The wildly popular band of four grown men from Australia – Anthony, Greg, Jeff and Murray – has had toddlers and their parents moving to the groove for 21 years.

Now, they’re performing their farewell tour. Three of them are retiring – and the fourth (Anthony) will keep the spirit going with a bunch of new band members.

That’s kind of like Roger Waters taking The Wall on tour without Pink Floyd. Or even Black Sabbath continuing without Ozzy. Maybe in years to come those of us who saw the original four Wiggles will look back with smug nostalgia – like those who saw Queen perform with Freddie Mercury, not with Adam Lambert.

My daughter discovered The Wiggles when she was about two years old. They had a TV show – she’d get excited whenever it came on and she’d dance and sing along.

And, for the first little while, my husband and I were okay with them, too. They played proper pop music instruments like the bass, electric guitar and keyboards. Their music had a bit of edge to it – you may laugh, but Murray could pick out some pretty rocking guitar solos. You don’t get that from Sharon, Lois and Bram.

And so, when The Wiggles came to Belfast, which is where we were living at the time, I bought tickets. My daughter was 3 and this was her first concert.

We got into the theatre and climbed up to our seats in the 2nd last row. My daughter was content simply to look around at all the people. We tried to explain to her why we there, but we weren’t sure whether it had sunk in or not.

And then they came on stage. Anthony, Greg, Jeff and Murray.

She stood up, her little body shaking, her mouth wide open, her tiny fingers pointing. “Mummy,” she stammered. “It’s The Wiggles!” She looked up at me in thrilled disbelief.  I nodded. “Yes, of course it’s The Wiggles. That’s why we’re here!”

She hadn’t made the connection. But she accepted it quickly and boogied her way through “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy,” “Dorothy the Dinosaur” and “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” exhorting me to dance in the aisles with her.

Take a look at The Wiggles here:

At another of their concerts we managed to sneak our way down in front of the stage. There were dozens of parents hunkered down amidst hundreds of kids, a toddler’s mosh pit of writhing young bodies jumping up and down, thrilled to be so close to their idols.

“Jeff waved at me, he waved at me,” my daughter shrieked. Proving that The Wiggles truly were rock stars. Of course, like any groupie worth her salt, she now wanted to be a pop star. So we bought her a Wiggles guitar and she rocked around the house, making funny pouting faces, practicing the same moves so many kids and teens with rock star dreams have before her.

We packed up that old Wiggles guitar only about a year ago. Like many toys our daughter played with when she was younger, she kept it around for reasons of nostalgia. But, at 7, she was finally old enough to let it go.

We won’t be going to see The Wiggles this time around. And I can’t say I’m going to miss them. But here’s a thanks to Anthony, Greg, Jeff and Murray – they gave my daughter many happy hours of dancing and singing and, for a little while, gave my husband and I a respite from listening to the Teletubbies.

Here’s a more newsy story I wrote about The Wiggles when we lived in Belfast:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/the-australian-superstars-wiggle-for-the-kids-13447916.html

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