There was not a script nor were there any cameras in sight.
Creed Bratton instead stepped on the stage under the lights of ArtsQuest Center's Fowler Blast Furnace Room with an acoustic guitar, engaging his Bethlehem followers with a earnest and heartfelt evening of music and comedy.
The musician-actor, best known for playing a creepy, off-kilter fictionalized version of himself on NBC's The Office, on Tuesday showed that there was no faking when it come to his guitar chops or his passion for performing. Bratton demonstrated a knack for crafting songs that walked the line between catchy, upswing rock 'n' roll ("Spinnin' N Reelin'") and Cat Stevens-esque folk balladry.
New Jersey-based comedian Glen Tickle set the mood for the evening with a very funny opening set that touched on being the father of a two-year-old, having fun with his last name (he joked that he and his wife were going to call their daughter Tess Tickle) and getting revenge at a heckler through Facebook.
Bratton balanced his show with original music and a smattering of covers. Bratton's former band The Grass Roots' hit "Let's Live for Today," and the psychedelic-tinged "Temptation Eyes," each made appearances. Bratton, as promised, finished his first set with the tender ballad "All the Faces," which his character played during The Office series finale. Bratton admitted he had written the song several seasons earlier and had a different vision for how it would play out on screen, but was proud of the finale and the final result.
Bratton shared several humorous Office anecdotes throughout his performance. He revealed that his song, the bouncy "Rubber Tree," was initially penned as a subtle jab at the expense of his very talkative co-star, Angela Kinsey.
It was refreshing to see an entertainer having so much fun and immersing himself in the music and in the moment. Bratton's act was more stream-of-conscious than scripted. Bratton joked that since it was only his second night on the road, the show was still a work in progress. At one point, he nearly choked up while mentioning that his longtime friend, songwriter P.F. Sloan, had passed away days earlier. Bratton later apologized for the sudden emotional downswing. But that did not seem to matter to those in attendance.
Bratton's fans clapped, cheered and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their ride on the Creed Bratton Musical Express, as much as their conductor. Hopefully, that train will stop in the area more often.