Student Programming Council did it again, booking a classic and beautiful act for the alum concert homecoming weekend.
Smash Mouth, the best band I could think of. According to our sources, Smash Mouth doesn’t love being solely recognized for Shrek (maybe they’re compensating for something). Unfortunately for them, Shrek is the lifeblood that flows through my veins, just as it does for tens of other Emory students. I prepped for the concert by rubbing myself in onions and growling at children. I arrived at McDonough for the homecoming football game: middle age alumni playing touch football with a complimentary Sweet Water 420 in hand.
I stood front and center before the stage. I walked in and out of a crowd that was small even by Farquaad standards several times through the set. I turned to my left, Shrek mask in hand and saw another brogre, as we say in the Shrek fandom. We immediately became best friends discussing our pseudo-love for Smash Mouth. We looked up the band member’s names and screamed we loved them only to later realize ¾ of the names were wrong.
The band began playing. I looked around and saw the audience unamused, still faces dazed in the glory of mid-2000s rock. Shrek masks covered several grimacing glares. My new friend and I tried to have fun. I held her hand and whispered, “It’ll get better- I’m a believer.”
Almost every band member had a slightly offensive look. The front man’s tips were no longer frosted, but his hair was clearly dyed black to cover his grey hair. “When did we get this old,” I thought to myself, “Is all that glitters really gold?” I felt like I was watching something I should not have been seeing. It was a mix of walking in on a 12 year old singing in his room when he thought nobody was home and watching a group of dads in a garage band rock out way harder than necessary at the local sports bar.
Still, I shuddered and I tried to enjoy myself. I faked enthusiasm worthy of the Academy Award the masterpiece known as Shrek won in 2002. I came here with a reason; I came here for Shrek. It slowly got better. Familiar songs began playing, Smash Mouth invited some of us on stage. I pushed over the barricade and slapped the SPC douche who was our way as he yelled “halt!” Prince Charming couldn’t stop the fairy tale heroes from righteousness, and this kid sure as hell wasn’t going to stop me from jamming with the band that created the soundtrack of the my childhood.
The beat began. It was time. The sound of “All Star” was around us. I felt as if I was the only one standing there. The audience, all 30 of them, faded away. My arms lifted and a tear rolled down my left cheek.
Suddenly my life flashed in front of my eyes: dancing in my basement as the end scene of Shrek 1: Shrek’s Swamp Karaoke Dance Party played on my VCR; going to the movie theater for my first time without parents to see Shrek 3; going with a group of friends stoned as a boulder to see Shrek 4; road trips of this past summer with my 2001 Shrek CD soundtrack playing in my car; walking down the aisle to meet the love of my life to Eddy Murphy’s feature on “I’m A Believer”; the doctor saying “it’s a girl” and looking into my husband’s eyes and nodding, knowing that we will name her Fiona; laying on my death bed, surrounded by the people I love, and realizing that although I may be wrinkly, ugly and offensive looking, I am beautiful on my innermost layer– just like Shrek.
After the show and my transcendent Shreksperience ended, I was able to talk to one of the bandmates. He signed my Shrek mask. I asked him if they would have another hit single in the rumored and elusive Shrek 5. He laughed, “They’re making another one?” That was my answer. Sadly, Smash Mouth would never be relevant again; in fact, this is the first time anyone has written about them in years. Still, Smash Mouth’s two hit singles will forever live on in our hearts for representing a film that was as raw and real as a film rated PG (for some crude humor) could get and forever reminding us of a time when everything just made sense.