Stephen Colbert’s first episode of The Late Show was a rousing success: The guests–George Clooney and Jeb Bush–were entertainingly chatty, Colbert’s opening bit with the cursed idol on his set was a fun call-back to the quirky nature of The Colbert Report, and the “real” Stephen Colbert wasn’t too jarringly removed from his iconic character, but it also seemed he was finally being himself.
The episode ended on a high note, as a talent-packed lineup performed a cover of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People”. Those who took the stage, aside from the house band and Colbert himself, included, among others, Brittany Howard, Buddy Guy, Aloe Blacc, Derek Trucks, Ben Folds, Kyle Resnick, and Mavis Staples. Check out the boisterous and rousing performance:
While this was a great way for Colbert to conclude his first of hopefully many Late Show episodes, we can’t help but see it as somewhat of a missed opportunity (hey, let us finish): Sly & The Family Stone was a strong choice and the performance had no grave shortcomings, but why not perform one of the band’s other hits, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”? It’s equally conducive to being played by a bunch of talented people, and the chorus, meant to be “misinterpreted” as “Thank you for letting me be myself again,” would have been a perfect closing theme to signify Stephen Colbert ditching the “Stephen Colbert” character and beginning to find who he really is on air.
Maybe they thought going that obvious might be cheesy? Regardless, that is a very light criticism, of course, as it’s hard to mess up when you have legends contemporary and old-school playing together perfectly.