Live Show: 5/17/97


Boston, MA

Reviewed by: Dan Jablonski, Elliot Schwartz, Chris Traugott, and Colleen Campbell

The Details

Just got back from the MIT show..

Truly amazing..

The unofficial attendance number was 376 paid. With freebees and workers, there were about 400 people, and they were not dissappointed--it looked like Marcus was swamped after the show.

I'm not going to try to remember the set in order, but it included most of the regulars (notably missing was the normal King of Spain, but Grunge of Spain was more than enough..) as well as Organ Grinder, Dancing Queen, as much of Entropy as they could remember, and a ten minute reading of a letter from "Professor Jack Florey" thanking them for recognizing many parts of science and technology, ending with a Particle Man hack based on the MIT Media Lab (Media Lab, Media Lab...). True to MIT form, the letter is already on the web--see Elliot's post..

The opening act (Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives) was a great fit for Fruvous, and I think Jian was serious when he made "a pitch to Honest Bob to do some more shows with us.." They had very original lyrics with a quirky, almost TMBG-like beat that got the crowd excited for Fruvous.

I can't even begin to describe how I felt at this show--I went to MIT for four years, then spent much of the last year following Fruvous around the northeast. And tonight, Fruvous was at MIT.. It was surreal long before it started. The crowd was excellent--there was a definite connection between the band and the crowd. And the energy level was as high as I've ever seen it..


From Elliot Schwartz:

Here's a copy of the letter Jian read on stage:

May 17, 1997
Prof. J. Florey
84 Massachusetts Avenue, W20-577
Cambridge, MA 02139
Moxy Fruvous
PO Box 90005
1436 Queen St. West
Toronto, ON M6K 3E3

Dear Mr. Mike Ford, Mr. Murray Foster, Mr. Jian Ghomeshi, and Mr. Dave Matheson:

We at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology would like to thank you, Moxy Fruvous, for your contributions to the awareness of science, technology, and other areas of study. Specifically, these departments commend you for the following:

Again, thank you from all of us at MIT. We're very fortunate to have you visit us here, and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.


Professor Jack Florey
Dean for Student Entertainment and Canadian Affairs

This is the set list from the show performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on May 17, 1997. Note the "Crackers -- Roof + Tunnel Hackers" that Mike added to remind himself of the little tune he came up with. "Dancing" was their first encore, and the grunge mix of King of Spain and the Drinking Song were their second.

From Chris Traugott:

Wow, what a weekend. First off, I want to say how great it was to finally meet Dan Joblanski, Dan Carps, Jeff Gilson (aka Tootles) and Robert Johnson, even though I have actually met Jeff and Robert before, I just didn't know who they were. (thank goodness for pins, hmm?) Zard and I met up with everyone at Ofer Inbar's flat in Sommerville, and in typical Fruhead convergence style, Dan, Dan, a friend of Ofer's (whose name I know I am going to misspell, sorry) Arye, my brother David and I arrived at Ofer's building all at about the same time, and spent about 10 minutes trying to find the door. But hey, it was cool way to get introduced together, kind of a treasure hunt "bonding moment." Zard showed up a few minutes later, we had a chance to get acquainted, and then we all headed to Grendal's Den for dinner (which is beginning to become a tradition for us out of towners!)

After dinner we got to the venue and thanks to the good efforts of Dan J., everyone got into the venue. I had a few worried moments when I thought cee and Jason might not make it, as they were running a bit late, but everyone arrived in time for the show, including Jackie (who is going to be in DC this summer YAY!) and friends of Dan J's called Melissa and Becca.

The opening band (Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives) was great, a very good set up for fruvous. As Dan C. pointed out, they did their job of warming up the crowd and getting everyone ready for Fruvous.

When Mike walked out on stage he had the biggest grin on his face, and Zard and I turned to each other and said, "this is going to be great!" and it was. I'm sure Jason will post the set list (I can't remember the order, as usual), but the best part was the improv. As Dan J. already mentioned, some students at MIT had written a letter from the "Dean of Student Entertainment and Canadian Affairs" which cited a number of Fruvous songs and offered thanks for the enlightenment into ares such as thermodynamics (Entropy) and modern literature (Authors). Jian proceeded to read the letter, while Dave, Mike and Murray played snippets from the referenced songs. The MIT students were clearly into it, plenty of inside jokes about departments, the media lab and the famous MIT tunnels. At one point Jian joked "Wow you guys really are geeks!" and the crowd roared it's appreciation. "Geek pride" as it were. The guys also joked about how playing at MIT was different than at other colleges, because at other colleges folks were drinking and staggering around but "here we know we are the dumb guys." They also had a long dialogue about the Deep Blue/Gary Kasparov chess match, and how computers really aren't smarter than humans because they are only programmed for one thing and wouldn't run out of the room if a fire started, whereas Kasparov "on his little pig legs" (Mike) would be up and out the door in seconds. (Apparently this was a follow on discussion of some stage banter in Albany. Zard ? Chris O'M.?)

At one point Jian claimed he would give up his house in Toronto and marry anyone who brought him swiss white chocolate from the concession stand in the back of the room. Before long a Toblerone bar made it's way up to the stage, but Jian claimed that wasn't what he wanted, he wanted the *swiss* type of white chocolate. Naturally, that was forthcoming too. (no word yet on Jian's impending engagement ;-) ) Then Mike made a crack about a Jack Daniels t-shirt he saw in the back of the room (someone must have been holidng it up for him to see) and by the middle of the show that too had reached the stage. Good thing no one asked for elephants, Lord knows what would have happened!

I think Dan J. also mentioned that there was a metal detector at the door, through which everyone had to pass to get into the venue (including the band!), security was so "tight" that at one point the band got locked out of the dressing room in the middle of the show! They had a lot of fun with that one too, of course. I, however, was having flashbacks to Canadian customs! :-)

The show was terrific, one of the best that I have seen. My brother had only seen them once before, last year at Newport, and while he enjoyed the performance there he didn't really "get it." But during the MIT show he kept saying "Man I can't believe how much those guys fool around up there and how tight the music is. That is amazing!" (My bro plays drums and guitar, and used to do percussion for a band called Big Chicken, so he has a much better basis for appreciating the musical technicalities of a show than I do. He is now the proud owner of YWGTTM -- courtesy of his loony big sister -- which he can add to his Fruvous collection, and is talking with enthusiasm about going to Newport again this summer. He still thinks I'm a nutcase for driving to Buffalo from DC for a show, but then, it took me ten years to get him into the Beatles, so I'm counting MIT as a major victory in Fru-conversion.)

Went back to Ofer's after the show for a good chat with cee, jason, ofer, dan c. and zard, got my promised massage from cee and two awesome Elvis Costello boots from a certain DAT-head (which got zard and me through a very long drive home to DC last night), and finally crashed at Zard's cousin's around 4 am.

From Colleen Campbell:

You knew it was coming. You *knew* I'd get off that plane and head for my computer. Here it comes, ready or not. . .

I won't dwell long on the bit where I rather, um, freaked, thinking Jason and I weren't going to be able to get into the MIT show. We were driving over from Saratoga Springs and were counting on having ID'ed students with us and, if need be, the band vouching for us, to get in. (I'd planned to attend the May 17th show when it was scheduled for Albany and had already bought my plane ticket, and I was damned if I'd let them turn me away!) We were much later arriving than we thought we'd be (look back to Chris Traugott's frantic attempt to get to the New Years' Eve show on time, and compress that kind of emotion into a 3-hour time slot), so no surprise when I dashed pell-mell-helter-skeleter-panties-in-a-twist up through the MIT Student Center and screamed with joy to run into Jackie, Zard, and Ofer waiting for me and Honest Bob still playing. *bleh* Enough of that. The rest of the weekend was sheer bliss.

As Dan commented, it was. . .it was. . .oh my god. I'm not quite the seasoned Fru-traveler than some people on this group might be (and Dan can also polish his knuckles that that was his 24th Frucard stamp, subtitled, "Is Dave going to drop a bowling ball on my toes on my outing with the guys?"), but I'd seen 9 shows before this one, and I had pretty solid ideas of what made a phenomenal concert. This surpassed all of them. It was the greatest Frushow I've ever attended--and thus by my own personal deduction, the best show, period. :)

Setlist and commentary (this is from the tape to which I am currently and blissfully listening):

(See Below)

Fruvous was clearly and expressively delighted to be doing this show. They frequently praised the crowd and spoke of how much they enjoyed playing to those who could--not to belittle other audiences--"get" what they were singing and saying. Mike was in rare form, even for him: as I noted above, he frequently broke out into song on his own. During a couple of the songs introduced during the reading of the letter--which got wild screams in and of itself--Fruvous trailed off because they couldn't remember their lyrics and the audience prompted them to continue: this was clearly a group familiar with all their work, not a "King of Spain" crowd. So much so, that they skipped King/GE&H! Yes, the show was running really long--almost 2 hours, total--but I believe it to be a mark of respect, that Fruvous didn't feel the need to cater to the lowest common denominator appreciation of their music and cut out something less well known. They went into a couple of *really* long tangents, including a discussion of the Deep Blue/Kasparov faceoff and the sociological implications of AI vs humankind (heehee). Basically, they really let go and were, the most I've ever seen them, performing as they really wanted to, at their own pace and with all the panache they wanted.

Aside from that, it was a terrific show for me because of the meeting of the Fruminded. Jason (my ride, among other things :), Jackie & Skyla from Wellesley (others were as well, but they didn't introduce themselves), Dan Carps from Poughkeepsie, Dan Jablonski, Chris and Zard, Ofer, several more whose names you'd have to pry out of my memory with a crowbar (sorry. . .I'm a ditz when I'm fruphoric), and afterwards, dozens of friendly MIT Frufan students all too happy to sit down with me and tell me the story of Jack Florey (a local legendary non-existent person, basically). So many people around me were hand-jiving, jamming out to the music, and it was a phenomenal experience, being at a crowd so appreciative of the music, not just there because they wanted to be at a bar that evening and Fruvous happened to be playing there, y'know?

Now, the "*eep!*" part of the setlist. Well, granted, it wasn't really part of the setlist, but that was where it occured. Y'ever wonder what it would be like for the guys to stop the show and talk to/about you personally for a while? Y'ever think it would be strangely embarrassing? Well, it is. But in a good way. . . Pleased and dorky, that's me. I hope this isn't tooting my own horn too much or anything--it's really just one of those things that I think y'all will understand why I want to share it, so pardon me if it comes across wrong.

You remember that FAQ we posted a week or two ago? Well, Jian read it. (And publicly admitted he's a lurker! Er. . .I guess this would be, "Hi, Jian," here.) And really liked it and thanked me for it. "This really intensive, comprehensive thing, answering all these questions people have about Moxy Fruvous. It was really amazing. I mean, I learned a lot." Heehee. Then he noted that I was at the show, came from Florida for the gig, and said, "I'm not sure I'm allowed to point you out." I have no idea what color I was blushing by then, but I said sure, and he noted said I was the one with the long blonde hair and--well, the people around me clapped anyway. :) 'Course, he told me later there were a couple of inaccuracies in it, so it's back to the drawing boards. . .

The Music

Opened with The Set Closed with Encore 1 Encore 2

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

Back to the tour dates 1997 page