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Wigglemania hits Hamilton

By Abigail Cukier, The Amazing Adventures of Wonder(ing) Woman

The atmosphere was electric as we entered Hamilton Place Sunday morning. Line-ups for merchandise were long and flashbulbs were popping. Like any true band, they came late to the stage. About 10 minutes past the 11:30 a.m. start time, the chanting started.

“Wiggles! Wiggles!”

As the four beloved performers took the stage, the crowd was on their feet. And that`s where most of the pint-sized fans stayed for the whole 80-minute show.

I must admit, my four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter aren’t avid Wigglers. It’s not that they don’t like them, it’s just not a show we ever seem to watch. But when we do catch it on Treehouse, they sit mesmerized or get up and dance. So my husband and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take them to the biggest farewell tour since The Who in 1982.

After 21 years of entertaining millions around the world, The Wiggles are on their farewell Celebration tour. Blue-shirted Anthony Field will continue to tour with a trio of new Wiggles at the end of this year. In fact,  Simon Pryce, Lachlan Gillespie and Emma Watkins were part of Sunday`s show.  But today was about saying goodbye to yellow Wiggle Greg Page, red Wiggle Murray Cook and purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt.

I love concerts. I have since I was eight years old and my mom took me to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to see, um, ahem, Air Supply. (Say what you will, you can’t deny Making Love Out of Nothing At All just rocks). Anyway, this made me pretty psyched to take my kids to their first show.

And it truly is a concert for mini people – from the signs throughout the crowd “Matthew loves The Wiggles” and “We’ll Miss You Wiggles,” to the kids (and parents and grandparents) singing along to every word.

I realized that some of these kids felt as I do at a Springsteen show – the elation of seeing your idol up close, singing along with them, and for a lucky few, even shaking their hands or getting a high five.

And just like Springsteen fans know to bring request signs to every show, Kiss fans don makeup and Jimmy Buffet followers see the tailgate as just as important as the concert, Wiggles fans come prepared. Dozens of children brought roses for Wiggles’  sidekick Dorothy the Dinosaur and bones for Wags the Dog. (Wiggles members and back-up dancers gamely covered the whole auditorium to gather every last one).

And The Wiggles are true entertainers (This should be pretty obvious by the fact they are the most popular children’s entertainers ever — and the largest grossing act to come from Australia, even higher than AC/DC.)

You can tell that even after all these years, they still have fun – teasing each other for minor slip-ups and imploring each other to do slightly embarrassing moves. Jeff even danced Gangnam Style to the delight of the audience (and fellow Wiggles).

At one point, loopy Captain Feather Sword and Murray had trouble getting through Five Little Ducks as they tried to stifle their laughter.

Even for my kids, who were relative newbies, the catchy tunes and on-stage antics were infectious, bringing them to their feet through much of the show and causing them to look up The Wiggles online when we returned home. My son went to sleep singing Big Red Car.

Too bad we caught onto Wigglemania during the farewell tour. We can always rely on the daily Treehouse episodes or the dozens of DVDs. And of course, there are the new Wiggles to discover.

And maybe, just like The Who, there`s a reunion tour in the future.

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