Darcy Becker | Editor
When I was 16, I started to watch “The Office,” and watching it became a daily ritual. At 16, I did not know how connected to the show I would become.
Following my eighth round of watching the show, I saw that a peculiar star of “The Office” was to be coming through St. Louis in January 2018 on tour. When I say a peculiar star, the one person that typically stands out to people is the notorious Creed Bratton.
Most people may not know that Creed Bratton has the same name in real life; this is also shared amongst a few other characters of “The Office” but usually with just the first name (for example, Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin and Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Vance).
Bratton was born William Charles Schneider and lived an adventurous life after leaving his home of California. Upon finishing college, he set out with friends, and they found a new life across Europe. During this journey, he woke up one morning next to a table cloth, one covered with names. Many of the names were crossed out, but the one that was circled became his current name, Creed Bratton.
Bratton’s exciting life is seen throughout “The Office,” and the writers also find ways to discreetly reveal real life facts about him. For instance, in the episode “Money,” Bratton holds up a passport during his explanation of how he never goes bankrupt. This passport shows his name at birth, William Charles Schneider, and his actual birthdate.
Also in the show, the other characters are aware that Bratton was a member of The Grassroots. Again, in real life, Creed Bratton performed with the band in the late 1960s.
Altogether, Bratton’s life became one admired by many in both “The Office” and in real life. This, ultimately, influenced my decision in purchasing tickets to a comedy and musical performance to see him live at Fubar. And this easily became one of my greatest decisions.
For any concert or show, I typically like to arrive early in hopes of meeting the artist or band. I also like to be early for a greater view considering I am a bit shorter than those around me at shows. Doors were set to open at 7 p.m., and I arrived around 6 p.m. because I may or may not have read the times wrong. Regardless, this guaranteed a more than decent spot.
There was an hour between doors opening and the first act; three comedians, two from the area, performed before Bratton was set to take the stage. The comedians set the mood for the night with laughter that echoed throughout the relatively small bar and venue.
The wait for Bratton left me rather impatient because, being front row, I felt I could not wait any longer; I felt this high being around others who enjoyed his character as well. I also took much interest in his own life and music that I knew the experience was going to be one I could not forget.
Bratton took the stage and sputtered some jokes off while tuning his acoustic guitar. Bratton then quickly began with a few songs and stories behind them, including his own “Rubber Tree” in which he explained was written for Angela Kinsey when they were on set. (In this song, he references snakes in Indonesia, where Kinsey lived growing up and spoke Indonesian, a language Bratton said she would continue to speak on set of “The Office.”)
At some point during one of the beginning songs, I noticed a familiar face, one that I was hoping would make an appearance: Phyllis Smith. Stated earlier, Smith plays Phyllis Vance in “The Office.” Smith is from St. Louis, graduated from Cleveland High School and attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I teared up a bit in seeing Smith sit in the front corner with her husband. The crew worked to make her not as visible to those in the crowds in hopes to not distract from Bratton at the time.
Throughout the show, Bratton played songs from albums of his and one coming out soon, and he also played some of The Grass Roots, including their hit “Let’s Live for Today” in which he engaged the audience in singing “Sha la la la la la, live for today” as a whole. Before this song, he especially prefaced the story behind it in that, when it came out, many of those who reviewed discussed themes of homosexuality in it. Bratton then followed this with his statement and line from The Office saying, “I’m not offended by homosexuality. During the 1960s, I made love to many women, often outdoors, in the mud and the rain. It’s possible a man slipped in. There’d be no way of knowing.”
Toward the end of the show, Bratton pulled an audience member up on stage. A moment or so later, joy was heard throughout the room as he began strumming the theme song to “The Office”: “Let’s start at the top with Michael Scott with Steve Carell, and he’s pretty swell.” His rendition brought the audience close together as we all bonded over a love for the nine-season show.
Finally, though I was not looking to it, Bratton began discussing his final song. At this point, I could also see Phyllis tearing up. I knew this was the song that took place during the finale of the show. Bratton explained the story behind “All the Faces” in how he did not actually know if he would be playing it for the finale and how he wrote the song as well. This song is seen as an instrumental part of the finale in binding the story together over the years, and this song easily binded the show together.
Leaving the show, I left with my usual “concert high” of just feeling happiness all around me and felt a newfound love for “The Office.” Bratton held a crowd together with his jokes, stories and music. It also felt even more personal being in front of him during the entirety of the show and seeing Phyllis in the corner supporting him.
I prefaced at the beginning that I am the biggest fan of “The Office.” I still hold that belief but even more walking out of Fubar on Jan. 21.