Live Show: 11/11/97


Washington, DC

Reviewed by: Chris Traugott

The Details

This review should carry a warning that parts of it will be completely incomprehensible, disjointed and bizarre. Two reasons. First, I got home around 2:30 and had to catch a 6:30 am flight to Memphis, and proceeded to write this in bits and pieces, on planes, in cars and between business meetings over the last two days. And second, I finally heard Fruvous play "Alison." The overwhelming joy of that event may very well have jumbled my memory banks!

A bunch of us met up ahead of time for a quick bite at Cafť La Ruche and then headed around the corner to the Bayou. I was pleased to hear that June Rich was opening for Fruvous, until I saw all the instruments on stage, which meant that they were playing with the full band and the vocals would be muddy. Which they were; I have to say I much prefer the Folkie style they adopted in Falconridge.

Fruvous opened with Message (a cappella), followed by Poor Mary Lane (very souped up!) and On Her Doorstep. Jian said that the band loved playing at the Bayou, but that he felt a bit like Mussolini, or Eva Peron, because the stage was raised so high above the floor and was surrounded by balconies. Mike joked that balconies were unsafe in Washington, because Lincoln shot at an actor from a balcony and got shot back. Murray said "Yeah, I looked up at that guy there and smiled, and he said ĎFuck you." I mean, man Iím just hear to play music and the audience is getting vicious." Then Mike joked that the neat thing about the audience on the floor (as opposed to in the balconies) was that you could "just do this and tell stories." At which point Mike flopped down on his belly close the edge of the stage with his head and shoulders thrust out into the audience and feet waving about in the air, and began whispering a silly tale into the microphone.

A few more tunes, then Jian pulled out the dumbek and Dave started fiddling with the tuning on a guitar, giving Mike the opportunity to recite a poem at high speed, which sounded a little like Einsteinís Little Homunculusí version of "James, James, Morrison, Morrison." Half way through, Mike lost track and started laughing, and said, "Oh, yeah, give *me* another beer." Someone from the audience yelled out to Mike to give up his car keys, which led the guys to joke about how they all drove to gigs separately in their Lambrogihnis. But they didnít park them out front, because, as Jian said, "That would be ostentatious." "No," quipped Dave, "That would be Austin Powers!" Murray teased Dave about being quick off the mark, and joked that Dave has been much more with it since he shaved his head, all that hair had been slowing him down. Dave then joked that now that he was bald he could find the slot in his head to insert punch cards, which speeded him up. Jian then teased Dave that he was so behind the times technologically that he thought computers still used punch cards. Eventually, they played No No Raja. :-)

Johnny Saucepín rolled out at lightening speed, leaving the three rows of hand jiverís struggling to keep up. When it was over, Murray joked that that song had gotten very fast in recent months, and Dave said "Well, yeah, we just keep speeding it up to see if Zard can keep up with us. Sheís got that funky chicken arm swinging thing going in the middle there!"

Also heard Jockey Full of Bourbon, which led to Darlington Darling, complete with Scotland the Brave intro. Murray and Jian started off jumping from side to side together, and the audience followed suit, then Jian changed sides, jumping in the opposite direction of Murray, which confused the audience greatly and caused a couple of body slam collisions. During DD, Dave was introduced as "On the accordion, the star of the hit movie Powder!" And Dave said, "Yeah, show me the spoons!" Murray looked at him quizzically and Dave said, "Hey, some of them are with me, they get it!" (Chad, next time you see them do Darlington Darling, let me know if it sounds to you like there are new bass bits in there; I thought a couple of bridges between verses had a new bass line, but it has been so long since I heard Darlington Darling live I wasnít sure. Murray also played the new bass line bit in Video Bargainville.)

We were treated to the full length version of Green Eggs and Ham, complete with Murray "puking" in the cap before handing it to Dave, the "Everybody Dance Now" snippet, and Dave doing a little River Dance jig in the middle.

Jazzy Boo time included the refrain "Smoking hemp with mmm and Kemp." I thought the "mm" was fill in the blank, Clinton, Dole, or Helms, whatever, but Mike admitted he just hadnít thought of a name. Jian teased him about having a "Hanson" thing going with Mmm.

They ended the regular set with a stomping version of Psycho Killer, what a great cover! It amazed me how much like David Byrne both Mike and Jian sounded. After the regular set I scooted up to where Zard was standing, and the guys came back out and did Authors and GH&E. After the first encore, my friend Scott turned to me and said, "Now, you were saying there is this song you always want them to play, did they do it?" "No," answered I, Miss Know-It-All, "I keep wanting to hear an Elvis Costello tune, like Alison, but they wonít play it here, the venue is too loud and it is a quiet kind of song." So I prepared to hear the Drinking Song, linking arms with Zard and explaining the tradition to Scott. I get the "Goober of the Year" award; the guys came out and played Alison. You know how when you anticipate something for so long that there is no way the reality can live up to your expectations? Well, that *didnít* happen. The song was as beautiful as I had imagined it would be. I canít really describe the emotions that swirled around me as I listened in a daze; the sweet melancholy that particular song always elicits for me, sheer joy and immense gratitude that Fruvous played it, and a strange sort of detachment from everything surrounding me. I know that Zard was squeezing my arm because I felt her do it, but it seemed that everything and everyone around me was in a delirious haze and all that existed was the music. The expression "time stood still" always seemed a bit over the top to me, but after Tuesday night I understand it better. Afterwards, Scott said I looked like I was experiencing a Pentacostal rapture (and I donít want to know why he knows what *that* looks like! ;-) ), but I did feel like I was speaking in tongues after the show, babbling incoherently to anyone within ear shot. Thanks to all the fruheads who shared such a special evening with me, Zard, Melzie, Gil, Rodney, Matt, Sue, Dede, Ben, Jessica, Laura, and anyone else whose name I left out (sorry, those memory banks, you know!). It sounds trite, but this was a night I will never forget. Many thanks to Fruvous for making it so.

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