Tim Minchin defies description. If I had to try though, I’d characterize him as Jack Sparrow playing piano in a pair of tight leather pants. Like the beloved captain of the Black Pearl, Tim’s opinionated, random, and gives the impression of being slightly insane while actually being too clever for his own good. Oh, and there’s the eyeliner he wears, too.
Tim is what reviewers like to call a ‘philosopher-comedian,’ but he’s also a singer-comedian, and a singer-philosopher, and…well, I guess that’s all the combinations you could have of those three words. Tim combines philosophical and erudite insights on human life with low, dirty humor…except that then the low, dirty humor turns out to also be a philosophical insight on human life.
Ready for This? shows Tim at the height of his powers, both philosophical and comedic, as he pounds away at the piano and social inhibitions. The concert toured twice around the UK and Australia, selling out both times and producing the recording in question, made at the Hammersmith in London in 2009. This particular set comes with both a DVD of the performance and a CD of the songs, though the from a different concert.
The show is a combination of laughs and gravitas, but above all it is a celebration of human values. Tim’s a fighter, for human life and humanity in general, for reason and happiness, and it’s only by pretending to take nothing seriously that he takes all these things quite seriously indeed. Underneath all the ridicule and silly humor and comments on sex, there’s a more profound message, one which can only be shown with humor and music and laughter, and that’s what Tim Minchin does, unabashedly.
He begins the concert with a hilarious song entitled “Prejudice,” about a certain six-letter word that we’re very touchy about in the English language. From there he moves on to religion, America, Jesus, and the Bible. Smack in the middle of the show is the love song he wrote to his wife of many years, entitled “If I Didn’t Have You…” (the end of that sentence isn’t what you expect). After that, the middle of the show does hit a bit of a lull, packing in some silly songs that may best be skipped over. Nevertheless, it ends on a spectacular crescendo, marked by my absolute favorite piece, which I think everybody should hear, atheist, vegan, liberal, republican, Christian, or something in between. “Storm” is a spectacular beat-poem during which Tim, wine glass in hand, valorizes science and progress and curiosity and knowledge for eight minutes.
The entirety of the concert is a show made for watching, or listening to, or both. It is a delight to see as Tim ridicules the front row and a delight to listen to as he talks about his college escapades. He is entertaining visually and aurally, and, despite the lack of any extra features on the DVD, this neat little set is a bundle of laughs and humanity.