Whenever you get on stage to perform karaoke, and you're really getting into the song of your choice, there's a good chance you fancy yourself a music icon — if just for one song. Whether it's the alcohol flowing through your system, the building vibrations, the power of your convictions, or the thunderous, rousing, heartfelt performance you're providing to those barflies who are there to witness what you hope to be greatness, you can feel as though you are, yes, a rock giant or a musical legend. You are, say, Freddie Mercury. Or Johnny Cash. Or Elton John. Or Prince. Or Axl Rose. If only for a moment or two, at least. Even if it's all just in your head.
But, there was once a time when Axl Rose appeared before unsuspecting karaoke enthusiasts, and it wasn't make-believe. It wasn't merely that someone channeled the power of Axl Rose. It was literally Axl Role before them, and the folks who were around could hardly believe the once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was the real deal, however, and a few folks walked away with an experience they wouldn't soon forget. To make the experience all-the-more surreal, author Malcolm Gladwell, of all people, was there to witness it. Here's how he explained this strange celebrity encounter to Jimmy Fallon:
Malcolm Gladwell told the tale when he made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The prolific writer was there to promote the second season of his podcast, Broken Record. But, in the midst of this televised interview, the Outliners author found himself recounting the time when he witnessed a "meta karaoke" moment where Axl Rose was singing along to "Sweet Child O'Mine" outside of a bar while a person on-stage performed a karaoke rendition. Surely, if you were on-stage singing the song in front of (at least) half-drunk individuals and you turned your head and saw Axl Rose rocking in front of you outside the door, you would start to doubt your sight. You might even wonder what exactly was in your drink.
But, that's apparently what happened during one fateful night of karaoke. While Malcolm Gladwell wasn't the one who was singing the popular tune, he was able to witness the deeply surreal ballad moment in person. He admits that he's not one to do karaoke himself, considering the whole thing "too risky," but he happened to witness one of the most epic karaoke moments in person. The podcaster was also the one who got on television and told the unbelievable story to millions of people, so that's something to sing about whether you are Axl Rose or, more than likely, are not.
You can check out the full clip from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, below.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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