Live Show: 9/30/97


Boston, MA

Reviewed by: John Greene, Michele Liguori, Gordon, & Colleen Campbell

The Details

Show was great. Lots of new theatrics. Set looked remarkably like Ottawa's... I'm going to have to talk to them about that... :P

From Michele Liguori:

Hello, all...

Greetings once again from your Früvous correspondent in central Massachusetts... The decision to go to the show was sort of last-minute, as I didn't even know about it 'til I got The Quill (which only arrived on Saturday). But we packed up the car and headed into town, intent on adventure and music. Well, actually, we were intent on dinner; one has to have priorities. But after a fine meal at the Bluestone Bistro, then we were intent on adventure and music. If you go to the BB, try the crabcakes. They were yummy. The choc. pudding ice cream is also pretty darn good, particularly when paired with a nice iced mocha. But I digress...

Last night's show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston was, as expected, much fun. The opening act, "Hamell on Trial," was an unfortunate choice for an audience of people waiting to see Moxy Früvous, and the less said, the better. Talented (?) guitar player does not equal talented songwriter. And it would be nice if Mr. Hamell had a little more range. (of emotion, of voice, of motion, variety, anything...)

So, there was a larger crowd than at the last Paradise show (May 1997)... Apparently the entire supporting cast of King Richard's Faire was there, as well as many MIT students and other assorted Früfans. Saw lots of faces I recognized, and some that I could actually pair names with! At any rate, it was a good gathering.

A solid show, nice chit-chat, audience interaction, etc. They were definitely "on", and I think they were psyched about the good audience vibe. Didn't stay long enough afterward to chat with anyone, since we were tired and had to drive back, go to work today, etc. etc.

I was pleased to see that they had dusted off a few songs which had been out of rotation for a while, and I loved the new angles on the songs (e.g., Boo Time, K of Spain).

Anyone else have anything to add? Did I forget anything (anyone?)?

Next one for me is Providence, RI - December 6th! Woo-hoo!! (I'll finally get my frü-shirt then...)

See y'all there,

Michele L.

From Gordon:

I am taking my turn for a review of the show. For a setlist, see John Greene's post (I swear this is the Flyers year, John - Chris Gratton was a great pickup for you guys. At least you still have a team. Whalers forever). Sorry about that unrelated rambling. I must have been influenced by last night's show.

We'll start at the beginning with the music the Paradise was playing while we were waiting for the opening band. It got me into such a lame mood - my brother and I were struggling for comedy. I don't know what it was but I need peppier music. Maybe you heard me complaining about it. I can get loud.

Hammell on Trial (sp?) was ok. A little bit goes a long way if you ask me. About 15 minutes in, I was looking at my friend's watch. Is this gonna end soon?

Then finally they played some peppy warm up music for us. Madness, Ben Folds Five, Beatles (thanks to everyone for joining in on my attempted bouncing choreography), Duran Duran, Nields, etc. It got me going. I hope I didn't sing too out of key.

The band comes on stage - Dave's got on the best pants ever. Shiny black number (not that I spend a lot of time looking at his pants, but they were excellent). They start with Message - just goes to show the Bee Gees are timeless. Then Mary Lane. At this point the two drunk guys behind me start what by the midpoint of the show would be causing my blood to boil. They began to impress each other loudly with the knowledge of their music.

The whole singing along thing - where do you stand on it? Well I don't mind if you sing along. You can sing along out of key for all I care. But if the band is singing softly, try muttering to yourself. I'd much rather hear them than you. when they start singing loudly, belt it out, baby - do what you wanna do. get shaking your groove thing. It's not my thing to tell you what to do, but try to be respectful of your fellow concert-goers. You are not in your car, driving down the highway, looking for adventure. You are in a community event. Excuse me while I get down from my soapbox.

Yes, I find the banter a little much last night, but I do like the banter. It separates them from other bands. But like any improvisational group, sometimes they are on and sometimes they are off. You have to give them that. Besides, any time they banter about hockey is ok with me. I was going to post Christian Ruutuu's career stats, but I can't find my hockey encyclopedia. I think the other players on that team would have been Gary Galley and Dave Andreychuk, among others. But I have to agree - the WLUV thing was a little forced. And I don't appreciate it when they swear for humorous intent. Usually it just means they can't think of anything funny to say.

The music? (Oh yeah - that is why we are here) This part was impeccable. The setlist was full of stuff I hadn't heard live yet. I particularly was fond of Boo Time, Lazy Boy and Mary Lane. I guess when I do these reviews (as you can see) I tend to speak more viscerally than in terms of actual musical analysis. I guess this is how I am.

I've said before that Moxy Fruvous shows always leave me in a good mood, and last night's show was no exception. I missed some of my favorites - RIver Valley, Authors, It's Too Cold - but when you go to a concert, you never get to make that decision, so I am hapy with what I got. When I go for the weekend at the Mercury Lounge, hopefully they'll mix up the nights a bit.

I've been rambling on for quite a while here so I'll let you guys go. But I would like to say that this Candians vs. Americans thing is getting ridiculous. Can't we all just get along? And if anyone has a Maple Canadian Beanie Baby, email me!!!

From Colleen Campbell:

In defense of Boston. . .

The whole city, not the recently defamed Moxy Fruvous show. No, kidding--the city needs no defense. It was unilaterally wonderful. I spent 4 days there, to see whether it would be a good choice for displaced Florideans to move to. It was. For those of you keeping talleys on Where Colleen Says She's Going To Move To, put that at the top of the scorecard, 'cause I really really fell in love with the place. But it probably won't be until next spring, which gives those of you in the surrounding Boston area plenty of time to escape me, and the rest of you, um, a headache, from listening to me gripe about still residing down here until then.

*Anyway*! This is ostensibly a review of the Tuesday show in Boston, at the Paradise. I've got a double whammy of really-bad-newsreader and just-switched-to-brand-new-computer-and-linkup-that-I-haven't-yet-got-th e-hang of, so I think I've missed some reviews of the show, but I did get the gist of one that I saw quoted-seemingly unhappy about the quality of the show. I'll join John Greene in a resounding raspberry to that! I thoroughly enjoyed the show (and, thanks again to JG, I continue to enjoy it as I type. . .'preciate you savin' my everlovin' butt, man). It wasn't the greatest show I've ever heard--heck, Fruvous themselves cited what WAS the greatest, that being the MIT show of last May; as far as I'm concerned, they could well legitimately have retired their instruments after THAT performance--but it was in the top five.

The "Your New Boyfriend" tour, subtitled, "Our New Setlist," seems to have gotten off to a roaring start. Thematically, the setlist is a sly grin, a "gotcha!" in the face of any complaints Fruvous received about the repetition of songs in their summer sets. Yes, I very much loved hearing "Fell in Love," "On Her Doorstep," "Poor Mary Lane," and "Lazyboy," none of which I'd heard live before (except "Lazyboy," and that was three years and 21 shows ago). Yes, I was delighted with the new medley-"Signed, Sealed, and Delivered," with a smidgeon of something about "Alphabet Street" in the middle. (Pardon my lack of precision. I never realized how ignorant I am of pop music until I started trying to sleuth out the original versions of the songs Fruvous covers and tosses into their musical goulash.) Jian pulled the bait and the switch with us, setting us up for "Love Potion #9" with the bass drum beat, which made it all the more wonderful. And YES, I was overjoyed at the ressurection of "Green Eggs & Ham" in its entirety--I hadn't heard it like that since last November, and I can honestly say that it was indeed worth the wait. I was even pleased with what I *didn't* hear: "I Love My Boss," "Authors," and "River Valley" (I honestly think this is the first show I've ever seen without "RV," and I can't say I miss it). In a way, I think it's almost as much of a step for them to let go of the old security-blanket standards. You go, guys.

But what really twiddled my toes about this set was what they did with some of the new-old songs. They're not old enough to be standards, certainly, and it amazes me that Fruvous has already started clambering around on them like musical jungle gyms. I've never really cared about "Message to You" before, but this a cappella version was stunning! The harmonies were so clean, it had an almost gospel-like sound to it--a calmness and lack of pretention. "Boo Time" was jazzed into a sort of "Minnie the Moocher" sing-along style, and Mike's intense delivery really impelled me to join in uninhibitedly (no matter how silly one might think one sounds when mouthing scat sounds). Mike accidentally repeated the first verse, but covered quickly by singing the last line as "I gotta get these lyrics right!" And "Your New Boyfriend," which I'd loved before, was nothing short of brilliant, gloriously ironic in medleying with a parody of the old idealistic folk standard, "Sing a song." I howled at the WLUV skit beforehand, with Jian as befuddled cast-off-lover Tim and Murray as smarmy talkshow host Troy Thomas (especially Murray's quip, "Come again?"--I don't even think Jian knew that one was coming, because he was stuttering with laughter for the next minute).

As to the between-song chatter? If anything, I would have liked there to have been *more*. I'm sorry I can't cite the original post on the subject, but extrapolating from what others have quoted, it sounds like someone felt the focus of the show should be more on the music. Why? Fruvous has long said that their show is more like a variety show than a performance of any given genre. Why limit that to music? They've included other of the arts in their shows before (Mike reading poetry through a megaphone), and they have a common background in musical theater. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the difference between Fruvous and a lot of their fellow sharers of the stage is that they're not just musicians, they're performers.

Their banter, their quipping and fruvolity, their political commentary, mention of current events--it's all part of the show, and it heightens the connection they have with the audience, with each other, and with the music itself. I don't know how many short-festival-sets you saw this summer, but I saw 6 or 7, and lemme tell you, they get old, not because you hear the same songs, but because you hear the same LACK of spontaneous, glib, or thought-provoking talk in-between. (And if you want to get really mundane about it, remember that each of the guys has the demands of several instruments and vocal harmonies on him: they *need* breaks between songs.) I think I read of someone questioning as to why this was considered a new tour, when they never really stopped doing gigs. Seems self-evident to me: if I were painting, and went directly from one canvas to the next without letting the brush dry, would I be doing a new painting or not? The Fruves were as unpredictably funny and given to their rapturous rapping rapport (heh) as ever, but there was an entirely different feel to this set than to the ones I saw in the spring and summer. It was almost as if they were commenting on their previous work, refusing to be pigeonholed, demonstrating how they can take older work and make it fresh, how they can pull out an old song and make it a treat. I just hope they can keep it up, personally: they chose not to do a radio concert the night before so as to get some extra rest, and I think they were more than justified in doing so. You're sprinting pretty fast, guys, and you've got a long haul. Please, for your own sake and that of your fans, pace yourselves.

Oh, and a review wouldn't be complete without mention of their fashion choices, would it? ;) Jian apparently has decided to color-coordinate his clothes and hair. . .by dyeing his hair. He's got a Bonnie-Raitt-style lock of burnt-sienna perched jauntily over his brow now, complementing his frequent donning of orange garb. Mike, sporting a new growth of to-be-goatee hair, was resplendent in a lilac shirt, and Dave, at the request of one of the call-ins from the interview, is still part of the Katryna Nields chorus line, wearing Those Pants.

Well, this was an odd show for me, and an odd review to write, because of the distinct *lack* of Fruheads there. Not that the crowd wasn't filled with screamingly enthusiastic fans-Fruvous clearly revelled in the response of the audience--but that I didn't personally know them! Hmph. Dan, Jered, Ofer, Jenn, Vika, and some of the people I met at MIT last May were all there to bounce with (and bounce I did--Jian must have gotten tired of seeing that fluff of blonde hair in front of him), and I enjoyed meeting some of the people who'd participated in the interview the night before (how the heck they all knew me, I don't know. . .scary). But there's something about being there with a crowd of online fans, people who have traveled distances ranging from long to ludicrous, which I did miss. It's the cherry on the sundae, the frosting on the cake. . .hmmm, can you tell I haven't had supper yet? Anyway, I'm looking forward to November, when the travelling asylum will converge in NYC for the Mercury Lounge trio of shows (this is your own personal reminder that you *are* coming, 'cause it'll rock). Meanwhile, for criminey's sake, keep those reviews coming to entertain those of us. . .in unison, everyone. . .stuck down in Florida. Stay tuned, fellow nutcases. I will indeed, as promised to some on this Wednesday's IRC session, type in the WBRS interview that I sort of semi-conducted. (Hrm. ceecee the semi-conductor?) In full. Which will take me a damn long time, since the interview lasted over an hour--but it was lots of fun and I'd like to share it with y'all. I probably won't post the transcript here (it'll be pages and pages, I know), but expect to see it on Fruvous Dot Com within a week.

in long-winded Fruphoria,


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