Keanu Reeves: It's not the music that causes the Dogstar audience to: scream
by Elizabeth Lenhard
A full two hours before movie star Keanu Reeves emerged - like a sheepish god with bad posture - onto the Variety Playhouse stage Friday night, 12-year-old Emily Fogle was already weak with joy. In her trembling hands she nervously twisted her new Dogstar (that would be the official name of Keanu's Band) T-shirt. And then her friend Kelsey Smith said what everyone was thinking: "I'll take his gum if he's chewing any!"
A few in the predominantly female audience claimed to be interested in Dogstar's tunes, though. Since the poppy, post-punk, Greenday-ish quartet has no album, nobody had heard them. But most of the women - a surprising number of whom were well into their post-zit years - owned up to the truth. They were totally in lust.
"He's in his own world. He's nice, but in a sincere way," explained 21-year-old Christie Brockhage, a Buckhead resident, who was later seen begging the band manager for a backstage pass.
Becky Lerner, a 22-year-old printer, said she spent hundreds of dollars to fly in from Los Angeles for the show.
Not everyone was wooed by Reeves' stubbled smile, however. Before the show, 25-year-old Jan Morris (dragged there by her friend Elizabeth Harold) called Dogstar a vanity project. "He's just trying too hard. I'm beyond skeptical," she railed. "This whole concept of a band is pathetic."
In a surprising departure from the sullen I-just-want-to-be-a-bass-player stance of previous stops on Dogstar's 30-city tour, Reeves rewarded his fans with a few adorable antics.
He talked several times, saying things like "Thank you" and "This is a song called 'Ride.' " He reached over a string of bouncers to shake hands with a cluster of screaming women. He got real sweaty. And - in a move that surely caused a few teenagers to blow out their vocal cords - Reeves jumped in the air, smiled and lifted his faded T-shirt to coyly flash a nipple.
Before the show, guitarist Gregg Miller - who was able to stroll through the lobby unmauled - had insisted that none of this was the reason for the sold-out show.
Pshaw. During most of the band's set, the throng in the mosh pit barely moved. No dancing, no finger-snapping - only wide-eyed stares toward stage right, where Reeves occasionally thumped out a passable solo.
No one seemed to care about the music, only the movie star. And during the pauses between the songs, the shrieks rang out strong.