well, let's see...my trip to toronto was my first trip to canada, and even my first trip out of the country and it was a very good one. toronto is absolutely wonderful--much cleaner and definitely more friendly than any other city i've ever been to. i wrote my little show review thingy while waiting to be seated at elixir, a yummy persian restaurant that was incredibly crowded because it had just received a great review in NOW.
we took the subway down to yonge and eglington from our hotel and arrived at about 2:30. i begged my parents to let us eat lunch at the pizza pizza across the street, because it just seemed fitting, and i'd never eaten at one before. my dad had promised to get me a jersey as my present for the trip, so we did that and then headed over to the stage, and i saw murray chatting with some people...and he was wearing the shirt i gave him for his birthday!!!!!! (i was really probably too excited for my own good). i had to force my mom to come with me to say hi (she was being really shy) because she was the one who overcame her major fear of driving to manayunk so i could *find* murray a shirt. he told me that it was the first time he'd worn it and it was his new favourite shirt :) we got a wave from jian and i got a quick picture with mur, but it was "setlist time" so they had to go. i found a spot in front of the stage, a little mike of stage dave (if that makes sense). the guys came on pretty much on time and jian said something like "playing in front of huge inflatable corporate mascots is *okay*!" the shopper's drug mart huge inflatable bear with waving arms was the theme of the afternoon. they opened with "half as much", then "horseshoes", and i can't remember any more order of songs, but somewhere in there were "too careful" (with banter about songs with brackets such as norweigan wood (this bird has flown) and (i can't get no) satisfaction), "when she talks" ("originally to be titled 'when she walks' but it just didn't really work as a title..."-jian), ywgttm, "boo time", iwho, tureen, johnny, michy, gitc, "river valley". they closed with "walkin' spanish", and ynb was the encore (yay--i haven't heard it since nov. '97!). i was pretty happy that they decided to skip things like kos and ge&h--the set seemed more energetic without them feeling obligated to do those songs.
there was, of course, the "randy teddy" talk, some discussion of how america kept stealing canada's water and bottling it, and how the concert was in walking distance--but not of *their* houses, and how someone had rollerbladed from thunder bay. at the end, jian apologized for not doing the ricky martin set that they had prepared. he sang a little "livin' la vida loca". supposedly, murray was going to be the one who took his pants off and went dancing in the rain. then mike tried to start the next song by noting that since there were clear skies, mur's pants would stay on. jian remarked that mike obviously didn't have time for talk about ricky martin, and mike argued that he'd *given* it time. at this point someone remarked that mike had wanted to play ricky martin, so he was just jealous and it was decided that everyone would want to be ricky martin. except for dave, who then asked "who *is* ricky martin, anyway?" and jian said he was "an extremely attractive bisexual singer."
after the show, i waited in line with lauren, a früfan friend who i met on a streetcar to the stardust picnic on saturday (like i said, people from toronto are *so* friendly!). i gave ji a tibetan good luck charm i had gotten him (he may have thought it was slightly strange, but he was sweet as usual). then i found tobey and gave him the things i had for him, and got a hug and a kiss on the cheek. we talked about the stardust picnic, and he asked me if i'd had "a crafty day" (by which he explained that he meant a creative day). i promised i'd see him at falcon ridge, and then went off to find my parents. sorry i didn't say hi to all of the people i saw (i was wearing a light blue tank top and light blue-brown-white bellbottoms), but i was being even more shy than usual (which is very shy), and now i'm kicking myself about it!
I wasn't going to post a review, but I think I'm morally obligated, seeing as it was a show close enough to *walk* to. *g* And I did, just because I could.
The thing that really impressed me about the actual show was that this was a Toronto show *without* King of Spain. I thought I'd never hear one. The guys were really taking a risk having only one song from Bargainville on the setlist, and a non-single at that. But it went over really well. The crowd was, for the most part, enthusiastic, even if I sometimes had to look way over to Angie to find another dancer *g*
Two shows, two Walking Spanishes. I'd never heard Tom Waits before Früvous started covering him, but *damn* I like that cover. They didn't play Earthquakes (if you see me during the "banjo segment" of the show, I've had my fingers crossed between songs and always let out a little "damn" when Dave puts it away) but I got a nice answer from Dave when I asked about it. "I think we're rehearsing it next week".
To comment on Joe's post, I don't think it was any need to get home that had Mike trying to hurry the banter a little. Some of it just wasn't working all that well, and he seemed really into a lot of the songs. Maybe he just wanted them to "Shut up and play some music" to quote a common heckle at Früshows.
I suppose this goes back to the cliques thread but for me what makes a show is the people. I used to say that I'd never bother to travel to just see Früvous. It's the knowledge that so-and-so is gonna be there that inspires me to go. (I live in Toronto, I'm guaranteed at least a show a year and the majority of the time they play here free. I need extra motivation) And I may not have been travelling but there were a lot of "so-and-so"s there on Sunday. I think I may have scared Hugo - I kinda jumped on him when I saw him. It was also great to see AJ and KatieC, who I don't see all that often. And I got to meet Sara. (Hi to the entire Ontario/Rochester/Buffalo gang but I see you guys every show *g*) It's wonderful to be able to just hang out and talk for a few hours post show, and I don't mean to the guys.
Anyway, I now have high hopes for Harbourfront. It's not the Iron Horse or the Ark or anything but Molson Place is a great venue where the guys always put on a good show..except no one ever seems to tape the whole thing. Between the good setlist Sunday, Dave's half promise and the number of people who said "we'lll try and come" I'm so very looking forward to the next show
I think this show was something of a milestone.
From my observations in the past, Fruvous has generally tended to play very Bargainville-heavy sets when playing in Ontario, due to the fact that the General public there DOES seem to only know those songs. I think it took guts to do what they did Sunday (only one Bargainville song, and NO KOS!), but I think it paid off. The show went well. The crowd was happy despite the fact that they didn't know the material and they didn't get the KOS that they were screaming for. The band should feel good about the show, and hopefully will have confidence that they can sell their new stuff to Canadians without the constant comparisons to Bargainville.
My thoughts on the show:
Overall I thought it went really well. The crowd was pretty big (I'll send Chris a couple of pics so hopefully you will all get to see how big) and the energy was good. I was surprised at how much new material they did, and how well it went together. Also I want to say that the new stuff sounded much tighter and more polished than I've ever heard it. Even When She Talks (which I've stated before is NOT my favorite new song) sounded quite good. The songs also felt more their own somehow, weird as that may sound.
As far as the issue of the backing vocals on IWHO, I miss them because I liked the way they sounded, but I totally see why they have nixed them. The song's lyrics are so strong that you really can't afford to cover them up with backing vocals. Although the sound isn't quite as nice, the impact of the song as a whole is far greater, because you actually listen to the words.
I almost missed it. After having had this concert in my agenda book for weeks now, I amost missed it. How typically me.
The details of this trip to the Festival will, I’m sure, bore the pants off of you, and, more importantly, they will embarrass the hell out of me, so I shall omit them and sum up by simply saying that a moment’s indecision cost me 20 minutes of travel time. At 3:30 I was to meet a friend at the concert location; at 3:35 I found myself standing on the platform at Yonge and Bloor waiting for a train. By this point I was ready to pound my head against the nearest concrete wall, but as I was brought up not to put on such a display in public, I refrained. Instead I stood seething on the platform until I heard someone call my name. I looked up in surprise and found myself face to face with my friend, Nathalie, and beside her was a friend of hers, Cathy. They had been standing 5 feet away when Nathalie had noticed the Fruvous shirt. How’s that for a coincidence? Or perhaps it was fate that we met? At the time I thought it was bad luck for everyone concerned: we would all be late and have to stand across the street to see the concert. Though the Frulads are often late, the Fruheads are not.
But as it happened not many Fruheads turned up--not as many as I had expected, anyway. This worked for us: we found a spot relatively close to the stage. I had a square of about 3x3 feet to dance in. After the sardine can of the February Convention concerts, it was easy on Sunday for me to count myself the queen of infinite space. Unfortunately for my companions we were positioned behind a cluster of parents and wee kids. The parents hoisted and lowered those kids so often in that hour that I thought they were working toward becoming a new ride at Canada’s Wonderland.
The wonderful thing about writing a belated review is that, since all of the details have already been given, I feel no obligation to repeat them; I can be as peripheral as I like. And so shall I be.
I thought the guys were musically very “on”. The sound was clear and the harmonies unswerving. Nathalie and I had seen Fruvous before and so we had some idea of what to expect. Cathy on the other hand was perfectly virginal. The tight harmonies impressed her, as did the the Fruvous sense of humour. This brings me to another point which has nothing to do with the concert. I’ve read in the posts that the new album does not include Pisco Bandito and that the band is going for a particular sound. For what it’s worth, I OBJECT! It’s not just because I love Pisco (though that is part of it). It’s that I hate to see variety and humour dispensed with in the name of seriousness and “maturity”. Now, I do not know for certain that that’s what the lads have done, but, dear God, I hope not. Variety and humour are what I love most about this band, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Take Cathy, for example. She commented on those very features of the band: she liked their “range”; she liked the fact that they could laugh and make us laugh--”You can’t take yourself too seriously,” she said, “You have to laugh.” She is coming to the Harbourfront concert with Nathalie and I so that she can see the funny, eclectic musicians she saw on Sunday, not some single-sound bland band.
There now. I think I have said my piece. In fact I think I have said quite enough for an evening. :) See everyone in August!
Okay, so we got there late.
We weren't there, but the lads started with Half As Much, followed by YCBTC, and then YWGTTM. By this time, Donna, Vincent, Sara C. and I were approaching the Yonge & Egligton stage from the back, and we reached it in time to catch most of Boo Time. The setlist is as follows:
Half As Much YCBTC YWGTTM Boo Time This had a number of new couplets; I actually started taping right before they got to the appropriate sections. Unfortunately, it still ended with "Smokin' a little boo." Whatever happened to localizing that line? :-) "Randy Teddy's daytime alias is Teddy Randy" The giant inflatable bear mascot of Shopper's Drug Mart was taken down right at the end of Boo Time, prompting Dave to sing an elegy consisting of a parody of "The Teddy Bear's Picnic". After that, all four guys got into a discussion of how the teddy must obviously be a superhero, Randy Teddy, who's alter ego was Teddy Randy. And nobody noticed the size differential when he was simply Teddy R. Michigan Militia Jian mentioned the new album ("coming out August 24 in Canada!" -- a bit of noise from the people who knew it was coming out on the tenth elsewhere), and then started discussing his hometown. "Is anyone here from Thornhill? (scattered applause) You poor people! Well, I mean, obviously you're not *poor*, but..." PTT Johnny Saucep'n Saucep'n seems to be hovering around 1:15 these days, live. What was the B Album time, around 1:26? After Saucep'n, Jian mentioned that they would be singing all of the Ricky Martin hits that made Fruvous so famous; Murray replied with "And the band has decided that I'll be doing all the dance moves." That led to some discussion of his removing his pants, per the song; Mike cut all of this off with "But it's blue skies today, so the pants will stay on. This next..." Jian: "Obviously you don't have any time for our Ricky Martin jokes" Mike: "I think it's obvious that I've had more than enough time for your Ricky Martin jokes" ...and a few exchanges later, Dave finally asked "Who's Ricky Martin, anyway?" (Jian's response: "An extremely cute bisexual man") I Will Hold On My Poor Generation River Valley The crowd was reacting well to all of the material up to this point, even the new stuff; however, River Valley sent a murmur through the gathering -- apparently there are still plenty of people in Toronto who only own Bargainville. Get In The Car Walking Spanish Apparently, it's a regular part of the set now. And it was *extremely* solid today. Dave was apparently too cool to use both hands for the keyboard solo, as one seemed to be sufficient ;-) E1: After the guys came out for the encore, they discussed how they were on the Inflatable Teddy Bear Tour, sponsored by Shopper's Drug Mart. The bear would be travelling with them; and since the bear needed to be *at* the shows, it might be difficult to get into some of the smaller venues. If you see the inflatable ear sticking out the door of the club, you simply know: "Cool. Fruvous." (At some point in here Dave interjected that he would be taking his shoes off and jumping on the bear; there wasn't too much continuity around the comment, tho :-) ) When Dave finally tried to steer the group back to the song they had come out to perform, he introduced it as being "not unrelated to the recent elections." Jian replied, "Nah, Dave, actually I think it has more to do with my personal relationships." Ummm... okay. Your New Boyfriend
The show was probably about an hour long; from Boo Time to the announcer wrapping up the street fair was about forty minutes according to my MD :-)
Mike was in a hurry today. Might've been the festival set, or the fact that he was home, but he pushed to end every bit of discussion between songs. Of course, that led to some rather amusing segues ("the ravines of Thornhill", before PTT), and the whole second half of the Ricky Martin discussion.
The guys were obviously really excited to be playing, probably because they were playing the new stuff in Toronto and getting a really warm response. And it might've been the time off at home :-) They were spot-on, and incredibly tight. It was a really energetic show, and the crowd fed off of it really well.
After the show, Vincent remembered to ask Dave about the song he played at the Ark a few weeks ago for his solo opener. Assuming Dave wasn't lying, the song is "The Angels Rejoiced", and it's an old bluegrass number that Dave doesn't even know the origins of; he said he got it from a friend who had taped it off a radio show. So, all you bluegrass hounds, who was the original artist? :-)
Katie, Murray was wearing the shirt you gave him for his birthday. Cool :-)
One other exhange of note: As we were standing in the insanely long line at the only rest stop between State Line, PA and Buffalo, NY on 90 (y'know, the one on the median with the McD's and the Denny's with terrible service) an elderly woman was staring at me for about a minute. She then walked up and, politely but inquisitively, asked "Whereabouts in Ohio, Eddie?"
It took me a minute to figure out, too.
(Donna and Vincent co-wrote this review -- it's late, we're going to sleep now :-) )
Ok folks, here it goes. I apologize in advance for length, misquotes, misperceptions, etc... Lisa may be ADD... i'm just feeble-minded.
A Review (of Sorts)
Celebrate Toronto Street Festival 7/11/99
Thanks to Fiona I was able to get myself to Toronto with little incident. As usual, my plans to leave by 8am became 8:30 became leaving Rochester city limit at 9:54am. Between that and and one stop for batteries and waiting half an hour to cross a 1/2 mile bridge in Lewiston/Queenston... my trip took 3 hrs (which comes into play later). I've also discovered that I drive too slow for Torontonians (and Canadians, for that matter). I saw a couple of people pulled over on the QEW and got very paranoid... even tho people were flying past me screaming at 100+ mph (sorry, forgot the conversion and I'm _not_ going out to my car to look at my spedometer!)
Anyway, upon first arriving around 1pm I didn't see anyone I recognized. I walked up and down the festival to check out the rides and vendors and such. No rides for me because a) I was by myself and b) I was being thrifty this trip out. I walked right past the Information table about 4 times and didn't realize that the Fru-Merch table was right there (sorry James!). I came back to the stage around time for Sarah Harmer/Sarah Slean... saw Cal settin' up the stage and such. I did spot Brandi and her crew (since we haven't actually met, I didn't say anything), and during SH's set I spotted Tobey and we chatted for a bit. A found Fiona and we started recognizing people as they arrived on the scene. (New/Rare faces met: Kimberly, Amy (not Adifru) AJ, KatieC, Donna, Sara, Wendy, Mike Wood, Hugo, saw Lisa Bills and husband but didn't get a chance to say hi, and some I just can't remember... my feeble brain can only hold so much) Saw lots of "regulars" like Fiona, Paul Mischler, Amy Schrader, Veronica, Cheesemonkey Jen, Chrissy, Andi, hKath, MC (I believe, I'm still shaky on names and faces), Michelle (who cut her hair!!!!) and again, more that I'm probably forgetting *sigh*
The Festival announcer did a phenomenal job keeping everything on schedule. FDC said Fruvous was going on at 4ish, and they took the stage at 4:07, according to my watch. They had time for one Encore (Walking Spanish) and then it was 5pm and they were done and the announcer was thanking us and basically telling us "Party's Over... GO HOME!!! Come back next year!"
The Tally ("Play List")
_Bargainville_ River Valley (always a nice one to hear live) _Wood_ *Horseshoes *Present Tense Tureen (Jian started by asking if people were from Thornhill, and then said he was sorry for "you poor people... well obviously you're not poor if you live in Thornhill but anyway". He then commented that whenever he talks about Thornhill he gets it from his parents because they still live there... and Mike sped things along by mentioning the famous Ravines of Thornhill) _b_ *Johnny Saucep'n (Funny glance into the audience from Jian right before he took a breath... KatieC asked me about the JS HandJive??? sorry, I'm a newbie... what's that??? Anyway, the song was dedicated to the food vendors at the festival) _YWGTTM_ *Michigan Militia (discussion on T-shirts, leading to someone wearing a T-shirt for this group, the Michigan Militia) *Get In the Car *Your New Boyfriend (Someone intro'd this [Dave, maybe?] by saying it could do with the recent elections, and Jian piped up with saying it was more a reflection of his past relationships) *Boo Time (still doin' a little Boo with the Fruvous Crew, lots of call and answer scat before and in the middle... between both Mike and Dave and Mike and the audience, plus a couple of local references) *You Will Go To The Moon (such a nice pose as they pointed to the "orbiting rondelle," and me without a poised camera... dammit!) _Thornhill_ *Too Careful *My Poor Generation (*swoon*!!! I LOVE this song! Murray started the intro relating to those of us entering the workforce or society and feeling they're lacking direction, to which Dave promptly replied "I don't feel like I'm lacking direction." as well did Jian and Mike pipe in with "not me." and Murray's response was along the lines of "well fine, _I'm_ lacking direction") *I Will Hold On *When She Talks (have to agree with AJ, it's the tightest I've heard this yet... and I LIKE it, so there!) *Half As Much? (I'm thinking I might be confusing this with Ft. Erie... someone want to confirm?) Encore: *Walking Spanish
I'm racking my brain and can't remember what they closed with before the encore! argghhhh!
So, yes... there was great at length discussion about the large inflatable bear. Fruvous said they loved Shopper's Mart, tho... because they were such a big sponsor. They provided all of their bottles of water... that they filled from the Lake... and sold to Americans... anyway... The Teddy Bear was accused by the band of making lewd comments to passers-by, earning him the name Randy Teddy. They decided he was a superhero, and Murray decided his alter-ego was named Teddy Randy. Jian and Mike laughed that he must be like Superman. When he was Randy, no one 'noticed' he was a tall inflatable bear... "you know Ted, from accounting? didja ever notice he's kinda tall? is his cubicle smaller than ours?" It wasn't until he assumed his superhero guise that people noticed him. (Murray commented that with the Clark Kent/Superman thing... he always saw right through the disguise... he knew it was Superman)
Later they also said that when they start the Thornhill tour there may be less room for the concerts because they're taking the Bear with him and they'd hafta stuff him in the venues. There would be a special pin that guests would use to deflate him. As the bear was being deflated during the show Jian thought that it was being deflated because of their comments. Dave wanted to take off his shoes and jump on the bear...
Other commentary centered around Fruvous doing all of the songs by Fruvous that made Ricky Martin famous. Murray announced that the band decided he would be doing all of the dancing. Jian or Dave commented that yes, it would be Murray taking his clothes off and dancing in the rain. Mike cut it short by saying, "since there's not a cloud in the sky, all of his clothing will stay on." Jian accused Mike of really wanting to end the Ricky Martin commentary, and Murray joked that Mike was jealous because he wanted to be the Ricky Martin dancer.
Well, that's all I remember of the show itself...
Afterwards we waited to talk to the guys behind the stage. They were standing behind the fencing signing autographs and such. I looked at Murray and said, "What's this with the standing behind the fence again??? you don't trust us??" to which he replied, "I feel _safe_." and I joked... "well, you aren't _that_ safe... I'm pretty agile and if I wanted to I could probably hop this fence with little effort." and he responded with, "ah, but I'll have that precious one second to run." Which got us both laughing.
Jian's first comment to me was in regard to the birthday card I gave him, saying that he liked the way my notes and cards are always organized and layed out in sections. Said it shows very ordered and linear thinking, which he really admired... *snort* He was picking on me, and I know it. ;^}
Mike was in a decent mood, I was able to grab a couple of pics before he took off. The first one he wanted to be artistic and set it up as two strangers just walking by each other... then I insisted on a standard starry-eyed fan pic. I might ask Chris O to take this one and replace the rather odd one of me and Mike.
Dave made my day, as always. He seemed genuinely happy to see me, gave me a big hug and a peck on the cheek, got my pic... he complimented me on my wearing of the tank top and thought the color to look very good on me, and he did in fact listen to the tape I made him of the local RIT group that did the MF covers.
After the guys started fading into the crowd and things died down, a bunch of us (Me, Fiona, Hugo, AJ, jen (Cheese...), Mike Wood, Meaghan?, and three others who I'm blanking on!) went to a diner-like place down Eglinton for food. I was meeting Tobey and James later so I was going to get something to drink. As we wandered towards the Diner I was struck with a huge craving for Chocolate Milk... and kept saying, "I want chocolate milk." hee hee, by the time we got to the diner and went for our seats just about everyone suddenly wanted chocolate milk :^D It was funny as hell watching the waiter take our drink orders and one by one everyone said "chocolate milk," and then glared at me! Who knew I was so influential??!?
Anyway, so after a killed about 45 min I headed out to meet Tobey and James at
the Wheat Sheaf. I actually found my way with little incident... taking a
somewhat scenic route and passing by a street (name starts with a D) with HUGE
mansion-esque houses. Basic directions were go this way until you hit
Bathurst, then head towards the lake, you'll hit King Street eventually. We
had good grub, talked about music and what I liked about Fruvous, etc... and
then I got talked into going to the Stardust Picnic to see Blue Rodeo with
James. Bad me... 3 hour drive home, I forgot my lens case so I couldnt' take
my contacts out, and I had to teach a day class & and evening class... getting
to work at 7am for two detail-intensive graphics classes (CorelDRAW and
Illustrator!). Ugh... I'm STUPID!!!! I'M A FANATIC!!! I'M A JUNKY!!! But I
had a good time and left Toronto (not counting the Stardust traffic I got
stuck in) around 11pm. Stopped at Duty Free for change, Coca Cola and a huge
Cadbury chocolate bar, stopped once in Amherst for gas, stopped once at a
service area to stretch, and when i got onto I-490 for the last 20+ minute
stretch home I was so exhausted I was literally screaming lyrics to the radio
and slapping myself to stay awake. My eyes were so strained I could feel them
trying to pop out of my head. Got home by 2:03am, in bed by 2:28am, alarm
went off at 5:30am and I was out of bed by 5:37am (without the snooze, good
thing because I turned the alarm OFF!) The most idiotic part is... yeah, I'd
do it again... ;^}
Some other tidbits from the performance include: