Every Thursday night at Purdue, the over 21 crowd would head to the Neon Cactus, a sometimes country western bar on the levee, to hear the Piano Man play inside the Rusty Bucket room.
Bruce, the Piano Man, put on a full participation show. This means that if you were inside the Rusty Bucket, you were singing along, making hand motions for some songs, passing the Piano Man requests written on post-it notes and stuck to one dollar bills. If you were caught using a cell phone inside the Rusty Bucket, Bruce would taunt you, make fun of your hair or your outfit or your mother or whatever, make you stand on your chair and sing a solo. It was the same music every week, the same songs; the same cheap u-call-its served in big plastic Cactus cups and it was awesome.
One song I looked forward to every week was Fins by Jimmy Buffet. When we sang Fins, you had to do to make fins to the left and fins to the right...
Or else you had to stand on your chair and do it alone.
On graduation weekend I brought my Dad to the Cactus to hear the Piano Man. I’m pretty sure he heard me order a Sex on the Beach which is embarrassing because 1. I ordered a Sex on the Beach and 2. my dad heard me say the word “sex”. Bruce went around the room taking requests from each table. When it was our turn to pick a song, I chose the theme to Cheers -- a little bit of Boston love for the Indiana crowd. My dad and I danced at our table alongside Jacqueline, Jillian, (possibly Julie??), and their parents.
My all time favorite Piano bar song was You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). All you had to do for this song was stick your finger in the air and twirl it around. You also had to yell “I, I, I, I, IIIIIIIII” in all the right spots.
I put on Dead or Alive last night when I got home from work and danced around the apartment. Jim sat on the couch and sang along. I did not have any Sex on the Beach-es then, but I kind of want one right now.