I had been itching to do some karaoke in front of a live audience for some time. I do a lot of karaoke on SingSnap.com, which is an online karaoke site. But there’s nothing like performing live. Babuder’s is a nice place located on a side street called Tiefer Graben. When we arrived at about 7:00pm on Thursday night, the place was just opening up. Bill and I selected a table and ordered a couple of local beers. Herbert was already there, but we had never met in person before. I only knew him from comments and private messages on my recordings. Sometimes Herbert joins me in duets and I’ve come to enjoy his witty observations.
Anyway, I was feeling a little shy. Karaoke at Babuder’s is a little different than what I’m used to. Instead of looking through books of available songs and handing the KJ slips of paper with requests, you just go up to him and ask him for songs. They have a database with over 30,000 songs, so chances are good they’ll have what you want. But not being able to browse through a book means you have to think of something to sing rather than have something suggested. You also have no idea what version of karaoke song you’ll get. They are not all created equally.
I started with “Blue Bayou”, which I’ve done hundreds of times. I got up on the little stage, feeling oddly nervous in front of all the Viennese locals. There weren’t actually that many people there, but I was jittery anyway. I eventually relaxed and enjoyed the rush. I spotted the resident Queen Bee in the corner. She was very cute and probably at least twenty years younger than me. She had a couple of girlfriends with her and one of the guys who worked there, a young guy with muscles, appeared to be hitting on her. I have to admit, the Queen Bee had a good voice. Fortunately, our styles were different.
As the night wore on, Herbert and Bill started bonding. Herbert is a very interesting guy. He’s in his early 60s. His parents were Czech, but he was born and raised in Ludwigsburg, which is a town very close to Stuttgart. He speaks English, German, Polish, Russian, and, based on one of his karaoke performances, French. He has three master’s degrees and a voice that reminds me a bit of Bob Dylan’s. He and Bill really seemed to hit it off and they talked a lot while I got up and sang stuff by Alison Krauss, Kate Bush, The Carpenters, and more Linda Ronstadt. To my knowledge, no one filmed me… I’m glad of that! One thing I did notice was that most of the people at Babuder’s could sing quite competently. It also appeared to be a very gay friendly place, though most everyone was subdued. One guy started speaking rapid fire German to me and I answered that I speak no German in German. He switched to English. It turned out he was a Brit.
Bill is unimpressed…
Decent beer. They had peanuts and pretzels, but I didn’t notice any other food.
The party was winding down.
Not the best photo of the sign outside.
Herbert wanted to get together on Friday night so we could meet his girlfriend and they could show us around Vienna. We left Babuder’s at about 11:00 and caught a cab back to our hotel, where we both promptly crashed. I would have liked to have gone back to Babuder’s, but there was a lot of other stuff we wanted to see and do. Herbert says Thursday nights at Babuder’s are good because it’s not too crowded. If we get back to Vienna, we will have to visit again.