Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was reflective en route to Malaysia, where she was scheduled to perform at the Association of South East Asian Nations gala dinner.

"It is not a time that is frivolous," said the serious minded Secretary. "It is a serious time. I will play something that is in accordance with my serious mood. Maybe something by Brahms. Or Beethoven, you can't get more serious than that. What's that song he does - doo doo duh doo. I hear that and, almost subconsciously I think doom doom duh doom. Serious as a heart attack, old Ludwig was, and deaf as a doornail. I always found that funny, in a serious sort of a way."

Following the wild gyrations of Malaysian dancers, Malaysian singers Syafinaz and Nassier Wahab, and the rib-tickling comedy stylings of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Rice's natural competitiveness came to the fore and she threw caution to the wind.

Rice played about three minutes of Brahms to the bored attendees before shouting "Hey, are you Asians ready to rock," and throwing her jacket onto the floor, exposing a Grand Funk t-shirt. "Here's a little something by a great American, The Killer, Mister Jerry Lee Lewis."

With that, Rice launched into a blazing version of 'Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On' that culminated with her kicking the piano stool into the audience, where it knocked the glasses off the face of Timor Leste Prime Minister Dr Jose Ramos-Horta. "You ain't seen nothing yet," said Rice as she ripped into a lightning fast version of 'Great Balls of Fire' during which she hiked up her skirt and  tickled the ivories with her feet, pounded the piano with her butt, then pulled out a can of lighter fluid and set it on fire."

"Say what you will about Americans," said Albar. "But they sure can rock like nobody's business."

 

2007, Mark Hoback