After leaving the Tattoo parlor, Jason, Rob, Jen and I headed right back to Bloor, where Lee's palace is. Doors opened a little past eight. We found some seats right away, and hunkered down for a great show.
The opening act was Oh Susana. A woman and a guitar. She was pretty good, although I don't think the crowd in general was really into it. She played for about an hour, from 9-10.
Fruvous came on stage around 10:30, and played for a couple hours. You could see the energy from the get-go; they were definitely having fun up there. The set was fairly standard, but Tory Cassis joined them for a couple songs in the middle, which was amazing. Tory's voice just made the whole room stop and take notice.
After the show, which had about 400 people in the audience (100 of which were at the convention earlier that day :-), people hung out and talked to Fruvous. At that point, I was extremely exhausted, and we all started trickling out of Lee's by 2 or 3 in the morning. I headed back to Jason's and Rob's room to get my stuff (and my car), drove back to Radisson, grabbed some food (great Hot Dog stands at 3 in the morning, let me tell ya), and finally hit the sack around 4, right after Jo, Jen, and Kelly showed up.
Sunday morning. Woke up around 11, and by 12:30 we headed to the bowling alley to claim our 24-stamp prize. Again, thanks to the guys for taking time to make all this happen. Bowling was a lot of fun, and everyone had a good time. Left the bowling alley by 4, with the intention of going to see Titanic, but no theaters were playing it early enough, so by 6:30 Jen and I said our goodbyes at Heather's apartment and drove back to Rochester, arriving around 9:30.
Wow. This weekend just went so smoothly. It was so great seeing everyone again, and meeting new people that I've corresponded with for so long, but have never met face to face. I'm greatly looking forward to next year's Fruhead convention/weekend.
From Josh Woodward:
For the concert, it was quite honestly the best performance of my 16 shows so far. They nailed song after song with complete furvor (fruvor?). Their energy level was through the roof. The setlist was average, though, except for a couple suprises. The first was a brand new song by Mike. He introduced it as being written for his wife and (step?)daughter. It's a nice slow song, and struck me as tying or perhaps beating "Fell In Love" for the title of Most Beautiful Frusong in my mind. The fact that he shared the song with us was just wonderful. The other suprise of the night (not a surprise, but..) was Tory Cassis, who joined the band for a couple songs. First, he tried to pull off Jockey Full of Bourbon, but unfortunately he didn't fit well in my mind (perhaps because Mike does such an intense job on it). But he then shared a song he and Dave had written a couple years ago, which was much more suited to his voice. A very nice song.
I'll leave the details for da' guys with da' tapes. :-) It was super-great to meet/jam with fellow Fruheads.. I'm counting the days 'till we meet again!
From Irene Gaspar:
Later that night they did a superb concert preceded by an opening act that, to my mind, served as a foil. Fruvous played for about two hours, finishing at 12:40am. My only regret is that I did not get a chance to talk to them. I had to leave promptly after the convention concert to go home and pick up a friend for the evening show. Then the evening show ended so late that we had to depart straight away (my friend had a really early start the next day). Argh! That hurts. And to think that I actually had the CD cover with me that time... Bad karma. That's what it is. Or maybe it's a karma debt. Hey guys, what did I do to you in my past life?
Whatever. I shan't let such mishaps dampen my spirits. As I said before, Saturday was a great day. I look forward to the next Toronto concert. (Please be soon!)
From Mike Wood:
arrived at Lee's around 7:30, doors opened past 8... i'm not sure whether tory cassis was supposed to actually open or not, but regardless, fruvous came on shortly after O Susanna.
what a beautiful closer... you could FEEL the love eminating from everyone in the room... this was truly one of the most enjoyable concert experiences in quite a while. Thanx to everyone for being so friendly. It was great to finally put faces to the names i've been reading for so long! :)
From Chris Traugott:
The convention wound down near six o'clock as groups splintered off to grab dinner and get ready for the evening show. Zard, Laurie, Andi (my dear roomies, this was a little bit like college all over again) and I scooted back to our hotel room to drop off banners, posters, and such. I wandered around in a goofy little daze waiting for everyone to get ready, mumbling that the only thing that could top the afternoon delight of Love Set Fire and Poor Napoleon was to see the Spector on stage at Lee's Palace. As soon as we arrived, I made a bee line for stage Murray, and there it was! Needless to say for the rest of the evening I had the silliest grin plastered on my face, fortunately I had Chad there to share the moment. Moments, actually, there were many of them.
Mike Ford is usually the barometer for me, if he comes out on stage with that devilish little gleam in his eye then I know it is going to an awesome show. This time, it was Murray who seemed to be radiating energy. He walked out on stage smiling the biggest smile I think I've ever seen, and proceeded to rock. I don't think I've ever seen him so "on" before; inserting new twists to the bass lines, stepping out in front of the mic to play, adding in slides here and there, and bopping around the stage as if *he* had been plugged into an electrical socket. I think I spent as much time exchanging joyous glances with Chad as I did watching the show. What a wonderful swan song for the Spector, I never heard it sound as sweet.
We were also treated to a heart stopping song that Mike wrote for his wife and step daughter. I don't think he said was the title was, but that beautiful ballad, begun with Mike singing alone accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, and building in strength as the others band members joined in, brought Laurie to tears. I hope that one ends up on a cd some day, love songs of such truth are rare indeed.
Mid-way through the set Tory Cassis joined Fruvous, looking very suave in a tailored suit and skinny tie (sorry, had to ;-) ), for a swinging version of Jockey Full of Bourbon, followed by Leaning on the Stair, which he co-wrote with Dave.
The guys wrapped up with Love Potion #9, Pyscho Killer and Grunge of Spain (by which time my neck muscles were screaming in agony, I seem to have this compulsion to "head-bang" during those songs, the reflex will kill me one of these days!). The finale, of course, had to be The Drinking Song. Well, maybe not "of course," but it sure felt right to me. :-) Here I'm going to get all mushy again, but to see a room of close friends and perfect strangers all link arms and sing along to this song, united by the words and the sense of the moment seems nothing short of wondrous. Hearing the voices soar and sensing the emotions swirling truly defines the power of music for me. When the lights came up and the house music came on, I could only sit and marvel at the experience; as usual, words failed me.
We wandered back to the hotel late, and stayed up even later, quaffing Scotch and reliving the day. I finally closed my eyes as the sun came up.
Sunday brought with it the long awaited 24 stamp Bowl-arama extravaganza. I'm not sure how wise it was for us sleepy fruheads to be wandering around rolling heavy bowling balls down slick alleys, but I must have done something right as I scored my second highest game ever. Honest, I don't usually bowl over a hundred guys! Lisa "the Bronx bomber" Goldberg and Dan "the Hammer" Jablonski rolled terrific games and gave us less talented bowlers some pointers. I still think the hardest thing was figuring out how to work the automatic scoring machines. Automatic, my foot! :-)
All too soon, it was time to take our leave again, with fruheads scattering to the four winds. I can't begin to describe how wonderful it was to meet everyone, put names to faces, and especially to finally sit down and talk with people with whom I have corresponded over the last year or two. Thanks to everyone who made this weekend possible and so very memorable.
From Katherine Maheux:
I noticed that nobody mentioned this in their reviews and it suddenly hit me: no one knows! I have a little anecdote for you. It only happened to a small bunch of us.
Friday night, shortly before you [Chris O] walked into the lobby with Jen, Zard and Chris, these two guys came in, looking really pissed off. One of them muttered something about *Ashley MacIsaac in a fucking big Cadillac* stealing his parking space. Naturally, we dismissed it, thinking he was nuts.
Then on Sunday afternoon, a small bunch of us (Ingrid, Vika, Ceecee, Gordon, Sirilyan, Doug and Mary) were hanging by a Seven-eleven-type store right beside the hotel courtyard, singing a little BeeGees tune when this guy in a toque and freaky glasses walks by and gives us a weird look, then moves in on a big ol' ... Cadillac!
Ingrid remembered the guys from the lobby and promptly (slightly, just slightly) freaked accordingly. We spent a good three minutes just staring and whispering before Vika finally went up to him and asked him his name. Lo and behold, Ashley MacIsaac stayed at the Clarion the whole time we were there! We wound up taking a few pictures with him and talking about what exactly a Fruhead IS, but here's the clencher:
Sirilyan had JUST bought Hi(tm)How Are You Today? for his friend, only he didn't believe us when we told him it was Ashley. He wound up going inside the hotel and missing the whole thing. Sounded pretty frustrated afterwards, too. "I didn't really NEED an autograph, anyway".
Just thought you'd like to know, if no one else had told you. It truly was an unrelated, totally groovy way to end a perfect week-end.
From A.J. LoCicero:
After the con, Lisa, Karen and I walked all the way back across town to the Addis Ababa, an Ethiopian restaurant we had discovered on our last Toronto visit. We had an excellent meal (well, Lisa and I did anyway; Karen doesn't eat much in the way of exotic food) and then headed up towards Bloor Street and Lee's Palace. It was farther than we thought and we were getting pretty cold and tired by the time we got there. Just as we got in the door, Oh Susanna went on. She was Ok in my opinion, but her songs were too dark for my mood. I didn't really get into her. (I did like her rendition of Oh Susanna, though) Fruvous did their set and were very "on" I thought. The Murray Foster song was one of the best improvs I've heard them do.
After the show I finally "met" Ceecee. (obviously I've known who she was, since her smile is a dead giveaway) :^) She'd been waiting for me to introduce myself to her since the afternoon, but me being the chicken I am I'd figured that she (being the famously gregarious Ceecee) would find me. Anyway, eventually she took matters into her own hands and broke the ice. Thanks, Cee.
After we left Lee's, we headed back to our hotel (except we walked in totally the wrong direction--DUH!--so we took a cab home) and then slept IN (yay!)
Sunday, before we headed home, we stopped in for Dim Sum at a little place in chinatown. It was so wonderful that we had to bring some sticky rice home with us. Then it was off to bakeries and cheese shops to get something for Karen (she doesn't do Dim Sum either, but she doesn't mind watching). We stopped in at this Portuguese bakery (Lisa got to practice her (alas) limited Portuguese) where we had pasteis de nata (the little cream custard tarts so common in Lisbon) and we picked up some Sumol Portuguese fruit soda (yummy!)
So that was our trip. Before closing I want to say thanks to everyone who made it possible: Chris O, Zard et al for all their hard work on the con. Moxy Fruvous for being such a wonderful band (and wonderful people) and all the Fruheads who as Jian said turned out to be far more intelligent and friendly than one would have expected.
until next time,
From Ingrid Kane:
First off, this is a message for MURRAY FOSTER, if he ever gets to read this: -->Listen dusty, what I do with my hands is precisely why *I'M* in the crowd and *YOU'RE* on stage, okay? So cut me some slack. ;) Keep groovin', Mur-man.
On a more review-like note, I LOVED the show. Murray was totally hyper. Mike's absolutely beautiful song about his wife and daughter brought me to tears and made me miss MY long-deceased dad. We met a couple of girls who hadn't seen Fruvous since the Bargainville days and they were totally star-struck and didn't know anything about Dave's new hairstyle: non. Mike and me chatted a bit in French and he ended up asking me the very philosophical question: "Est-ce qu'il y a du lait dans la voie lactee?" ("Is there milk in the Milky Way?"). Food for thought... I got my stuffed budgiedog signed by its creator. The blinding flash was mine, I'm sure you've all seen it at some point in the evening. Groovy night, can't wait to see all of you soon!
From Sue Weiss:
Saturday night's show was wonderful. One of my personal all-time best. The guys were so "on" and so was the crowd. Man, what a great time. Pretty standard Frushow as far as songs go, but what energy! As stated in other posts, Mike's song for his wife and step-daughter was just beautiful. There were many a teary-eyed Fruhead in the audience during that one. And the Tory Cassis/Dave Matheson song was awesome as well.
Sunday brought my most highly anticipated event of the weekend, the "Fruvous Bowling Experience". Those of us who had reached the magic number of 24 Fruhead stamps were treated to a wonderfully fun afternoon at the Thorncliffe Bowl-a-rama. It kind-of felt like a weird dream or something at first, seeing the guys in a setting other than a concert, but once the action started it was a riot! I must congratulate Dede and Murray for winning the "Team Murray Most Improved Bowlers" award. (Katie was a close second!). I also must thank Rosemary and Laurie for their entertaining syncronized artistic bowling exhibition. Poetry in motion!
I want to thank everyone who was involved in planning this weekend. All of your hard work is greaty appreciated! Special thanks to Dave, Jian, Mike and Murray. I can't think of another band anywhere who is so willing to have such a relationship with their fans, and this weekend was a celebration of that unique relationship. Most non-Fruheads I know think that it's weird for a 30-year-old to have a favorite band and to follow them around as much as I do. They just don't "get it". It was so great to share this weekend with others who do "get it".
Looking forward to the second-annual Fruvous Convention!
From Chad Maloney:
Between shows, Jo, Kelly, and I got something to eat at a Bar and Grill somewhere on Bloor. Great Pierogies. It was so nice to finally eat after having a banana, an apple, and half a raspberry pop tart (sorry, Chris. I can't live off pop tarts and diet coke so well *grin*). We then walked down to Lee's Palace. The place is pretty cool. The front was painted with lotsa colors and pictures. Inside was a good sized venue. There was huge finger pointing at the ladies room, with Katie (who got in! Yay!) and Frufoot (who got in too!) in front of it. Jude was taking tickets (we got little hearts on our hands. Much more personal than some big stamp, and almost as neat as the big F from OWU). The bartender was scary looking, but nice and they had water on the side of the bar. The stage was high (maybe 4 feet up) and there was a section right in front of it for standing. Then, about even with the stage all around the middle floor, there were chairs and tables for sitting people. In the back of the stage in huge letters were Lee's Palace. Really a pretty nice venue.
We hung out awhile before the show. Chris O and Jason had some Pizza Pizza. Sheryl told her story of getting in ("Hey. Ohio. Cool") and we all visited for awhile until the opener came on.
The opener was Oh Susanna. She was one woman and a guitar. She was kinda an angst ridden singer, but she was decent. The crowd was a little restless though (which I guess is semi-understandable since 100 of them had already tasted some Fruvous earlier today). She had this vocal blues thing going on for one number, that roB! and I attempted to discuss while she was doing it. Her voice was doing blues changes, but the guitar just sorta stayed on the root of the blues and the seventh, changing to root and fifth at appropriate times. It was interesting. She closed with O Susanna and then the waiting for Fruvous ensued. We guessed on what part Tory would have and what we would hear. The guys had asked us all to conserve some enthusiasm so that we could be up for the show. The toronto crowds aren't as flamboyant as we are I guess.
The show started and everyone screamed. It was so great to be surrounded by so many people that understood and knew what was going on and truly were here to see the guys play. Snapping ensued as the lads brought acappella Message to open. It was on, the chords (like the ones in the song, not corduroys =) were on too. The guys were looking around a lot seeing some of the people they met earlier. It was so great.
Michigan Militia was really early in the set. That meant I actually had a voice to scream in the bass fill and so I did. Chris stared at me. But Mur just took it. He was so on. He and the Spector (for what Chris and I thought might be the last time) just melded. He was so on early, he got daring and started adding slides and grace notes in places. So cool.
They started out thanking Toronto and everyone and then broke straight off into olympics talk. Canada's hockey team, while not as big losers as the US team, didn't live up to hopes. Mur complained about how hot his jacket was. Jian said that Murray decided back stage to have a dress like Dave night. Dave had a little black modern euro style combo on. Murray had this black dinner jacket with his blue and white polka dot shirt. He was sweating like crazy. The guys proceeded to do a Murray Foster song (something about taking a look at the roster, who else, it's Murray Foster). It was a good groove based improv that went on for awhile. Pretty neat.
The band was really clicking on all cylinders. Between performing for a home crowd and for loads of people that travelling from far and wide (and from LA too) to see them, they just stepped the whole thing up a notch. And it wasn't just banter wise. The music was so great. Murray was adding slides and notes. He really got going with Militia being so early in the set. I was kinda scared he'd get too daring and mess up somewhere and then do a safe show. No chance. The MurMan was on all night adding things to tunes and smiling big. The only thing I noticed was that he came in late on his Horseshoes verse because he was concentrating on the bass fill before it. Silly Mur. The fill was cool though.
The intros were a little simple. BJ was introduced as (get this) BJ Don't Cry, and then played. Saucep'n was introduced to go with the slogan EET. Tureen was introed as a song not about the past, or the future, about which most songs are about. Instead it was about now. Boss was about growing up working in a pet store in Thornhill. Fly was introed as definitely being on the live album.
Banter was about hockey and the olympics. Ji had a bad joke about the Clinton having an affair with the gold medal ice skater, Monica Lapinksi.
Then they tried to introduce Tory Cassis. But Tory hadn't made it yet, as the guys stared off into the crowd and started losing the momentum they had been building up since the opening faceoff. Mike chimed in with "can I do my thing? I can do my thing." and proceeded to dedicate a Mike Ford solo song to his wife Terry and his step-daughter. It was so beautiful to hear a Fordy song. I'm sure he has many many more stored up where we'll never hear them. Hearing the wonderful lyrics and watching fruheads cling to each other in the audience was unspeakable. I wanted to start yelling out the chords for Mur though, since he couldn't see Mike's chord hand through Ji. But it was great to hear. Thanks Mike.
After Mike's song, the guys told about the political struggles and movements and such and did Today's The Day That We Fight Back. It went well. Raja followed. Jian didn't have a long drawn out open to it for once. Odd really. Normally when he sits down, we get some kind of great story, but this time, nothing. This went into King of Spain->Green Eggs and Ham. Many many people pointed at Dave during hey not the Beatles.
Then Tory came out. He took the stage with Fruvous and did Tom Waits' Jockey Full of Bourbon. Most of us are used to the Fruvous cover version, but Tory is a big Tom Waits fan. His voice is like buhduh, baby (right, Andi?). He had opening for three NYC shows at the Merc Lounge and we all took a liking to him. Now he was performing with the lads. His Jockey was wonderful. When he started back into the first version (like the fruversion does), Mike started vamping on the electric. Tory started at him for a bit and Mike got this look in his eye. Tory then continued on and did the third verse, a rare treat for we Fruheads =) What could follow that? Tory stayed on stage and did Leaning on the Stair, a song he co-wrote with Dave. It was so great. Rivalled only by Love Set Fire, Poor Napolean, and Mike's song (boy was this a great day), he and Dave sang the song that we had heard Tory do solo at the Merc Lounge. Breath-taking.
The show ended on a good run of River Valley warming people up into Get in the Car, which kept us going and then Psycho Killer to send it home. The energy from the crowd fed the band. The energy from the band fed the crowd. It was a huge circle that kept things going.
The first encore brought Love Potion #9 medley with some new tunes in it. My memory isn't doing well though. Sorry. Then the second encore came on with Grunge, followed by Brown-Eyed Girl which got everyone in the place going. In the end of Brown Eyed Girl, the guys were trading one off lines. Murray's was I get knocked up but I get back up? (yes, he said it as a questions *grin*). Jian's was Michele Quon should have won the gold. I thought about screaming stick to hockey, buddy, but I kept it inside =) The show ended with an arm in arm Drinking Song, revelling in the friends we met over the weekend. I've never seen so many people open the window and play some nintendo before. It was so great. The only think I can think of that is better than a show where Murray is laying down the groove so well is a show where Murray is laying the groove and Chris Traugott is there to exchange looks whenever Mur adds something cool. What a show.
After the show, we stuck around talking with each other. saying good byes, and such. It was so amazing to see my midwest frufriends talking to my east coast frufriends. I really hope this little shindig helped bridge the gap that seems to exist somewhere in Ohio. And maybe it brought some Toronto fans back to Fruvous. I don't see how it couldn't have.
Jim, the guy who was trying to get Andi in James Joyce, showed and got drinks for some gals. He was impressed and Andi had done a good job. Heather's roomate Anna also caught the show and enjoyed it. Maybe now she understands a little more of the crazy people that slept on her floor the last couple nights (thanks!!). All that was left was some sleep and some sightseeing.
On Sunday, Andi called and woke me up. We met up and while all the fortunate bowlers heaved large balls down wooded lanes, Andi and I hit Toronto. I took the 505 down Broadview and onto Dundas until Yonge and walked up to the Delta Chelsea where Andi was staying.
We then proceeded to marvel at how expensive hockey jerseys were, marvel at how massive the CD collections at HMV were, and spend our Canadian money on some CDs to listen to on the way back. Andi did a great job of reaching her spending limit really fast with some Elvis Costello and other things. I finally picked up Great Big Sea's Play and also a Rheostatics double disc set and a Jazz disc with John Medeski and Fuze. Great stuff.
After that, we walked over to the Eaton Center where discovered the delight that is Yogun-fruz. I got pic of Andi next to the Smoothie Fruz sign (with her hand covering the z) and we enjoyed some yogurty goodness. After that, we got completely lost in the Eaton Center for awhile (much longer than we planned). But cooler heads prevailed and we escaped being eaten by the Eaton Center.
After that experience, we did our own little walking and chatting tour of Toronto. We walked down Queens West, past Queen and Bay and some cool building, talking all the way. I gave Andi the tour of Toronto as given by crossword puzzle answers as we passed the Hudson Bay Company (HBC), the CBC across from the Skydome, and the CN tower. Eventually, we made it all the way down to Harbourfront (after passing the scalpers at the Skydome for the Raptors game - maybe we should have taken those tickets, Rosemary =).
We crossed a little bridge and walked back up north to meet Laurie and Kelly for the trip back. We stopped in for a little dinner (they were out of meat chili and only had vegeterian - aw shucks =) and shared some cheesecake for dessert. Quite a nice end to our visit to Toronto. I think both of us loved the city so much and had such a great time. It was so wonderful. We're gonna have to do it again sometimes.
We met Laurie and Kelly back at the Delta Chelsea, did some last minute trading of Canadian currency for some Smarties and Kit Kats, and went back to Heathers. There were lots of people still there, so we stuck around and talked for awhile, but eventually we had to leave our wonderful hostesses to their dinner and end the bliss of the weekend. Andi and I had a long, but successful ride back. Fortunately, she slept for the first half, so was there to talk to me when I needed her in the end. We closed out the trip with the Valley Girl soundtrack and the Beastie Boys again from Columbus OH to Indianapolis and made it in by 5am. I gave Andi my Thriller CD (she wanted it, it wasn't punishement or anything), we said our goodbyes until next time, and she continued on to Louisville.
Twas a long weekend, folks and I loved every minute of it. I sure hope this brings all the geographically different groups of fruheads more together. I feel closer to everyone and I've got a travelling companion out of all this. Hooray! Take care, everyone. See you at a Frushow sometime in the future.
From Phil Schwan:
The concert at Lee's was great...by far the best of the 15 that I've seen. We stopped at some cool little sports bar/restaurant just down from Lee's. I had a great Pizza Toronto with a 20oz Moosehead (mmmm.....beer....), then decided to try one of their Hard Cranberry Lemonades. Of course, as soon as I got it, someone said that there was a big line and we'd better run to get our tickets and a good spot...so I had to chug the alcoholic beverage. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of my evening. I had another two beers when I got there (before the guys played), and as I was finishing the second, Sheryl comes running up to me. "Here, taste this!" "Mmmm...what is that?" Two minutes later I was paying the bartender for my first of 5 Whiskey Sours (with Scotch). I wouldn't say that was drunk by the time I left (certainly not as much as Sheryl:) , but I was definitely friendly:)
A sleep filled ride back to Ohio capped of what was one of the best weekends I've ever had. Thanks to Mike, Jian, Murray, and Dave for being so close to us all as to even allow such an event, and to everyone who contributed to making this happen!
Looking forward to next year,
From Mary Krause:
Oh Susanna opened and was pretty good, but a little too mellow for our crowd. And finally, Fruvous was on! And, boy, were they ON! Murray had a huge grin on his face all night when he wasn't laughing outright! The other guys also seemed to be enjoying this show even more than usual. Tory Cassis joined them for a few songs and was great as usual in complete 3-piece suit. The higlights of the show for me though were the new song from Mike for his wife and daughter, learning that hand jive (I had it by the 2nd chorus) and swaying with everyone during the Drinking Song. And throughout the concert, Mike's budgie dog sat on stage!! :-) Another nice thing was listening to the audience sing along--in harmony of course, we'd been practicing all day. And when everyone went through the motions of "opened the windows and played some nitendo," it was just amazing to be a part of all that.
After the show, Fruvous wase kind enough to sign a cd for my best friend who was supposed to be there, but her father passed away a couple weeks ago and she had to stay home. And they all thanked me for their budgie dogs. Mike was so enthusiastic about it that he actually bruised my hand while shaking it! And Murray was funny with his teasing, "Mine is different from everyone else's...you were obviously getting better at this as you went along." Then he went on to tell me why his "pudgy" budgie dog was just great!
After getting the cd signed, I just sat and watched everyone interact for awhile, because I knew it's be at least a year before I saw everyone again and I just wanted to savor it all.
The next day brought some quick breakfasting and shopping and then people started to leave. I stayed with Sirilyan and Jaime who had my suitcase and we ended up going over to where Fruvous was bowling to return Doug's planner. Dave invited me to join in, but my hand still hurt from Mike's handshake--Dave thought that was hysterical! Mike was apologetic and then chatted for a bit.
It was great and then finally it was time to say goodbye to Canada and head home.
And believe it or not, despite the length of this review, it doesn't come CLOSE to explaining how great the whole experience was. I love my new friends and I'm glad I'll be seeing a bunch of you next weekend in Boston.
CHAPTER 5, in which we clean up and get our butts over to Lee's Palace
Well there was one person whose butt had to make a pit stop. After cleaning up and with our hands full of stuff to carry up to the rooms, Jian and Mr. TV Ontario came back to talk Chris into getting the tattoo on his ass as opposed to his arm. Jian broadened the definition of ass and Chris agreed. Then the camera crew followed Chris and Jason (who audio recorded the event - how about a tape tree of that?) to a tattoo parlor for the budgie dog tattoo.
Lisa (the first, but no longer only Bronx Frühead) and I made our way to Lee's. We cabbed it over to 529 W Bloor and lo and behold right there in front of our eyes (this was not actually a surprise - I had seen it there before) was Pizza Pizza. And behind the counter was the King of Spain! Well I don't know for sure but he did have an accent. They were very quick there, but the pizza was still luscious. We then hopped across the street, making a quick stop in a convenience store where we had the most amazing Twizzler ever! It was this two foot long beehive looking thing. I drank my Canadian Coke through it and ate it and then drank the newly sweetened coke and....wow it tastes good just thinking about it. We tried going back there after we left the show, but alas....it was closed.
CHAPTER 6, in which Moxy Früvous shakes paint from the ceiling.
I had completely lost track of time at this point, but somewhere in there Oh Susanna started playing. I met her briefly before the show and it turns out she was born in Northampton, Mass! Home of the Iron Horse! I had been passing around my newly acquired Frühead shirt (Thanks Jude!) to have signed. Anyway, she started playing and I was less than interested. I don't know if it was my excitement to see Früvous or not, but I just couldn't pay attention. So I wrote a letter to my girlfriend, sitting cross-legged on the floor of Lee's Palace. She finished soon after - with a name like Oh Susanna I had expected some banjo - and the waiting for Tory Cassis started.
Well....I expected Tory next and when Moxy Früvous came on stage I was a little surprised. Some guy behind me yelled to his friend "hey! Isn't that Moxy Früvous?" and I was like....were you expecting maybe....Celine Dion? Poor Melzie was stuck signing my shirt as they started singing Message....sorry about that, Mel!
After that, they moved right on to Michigan Militia and for the most part, this was straight ahead, high quality, super high energy Früvous. I bring you now, the highlights.
Mike sang a song he wrote for his wife and daughter. Some people have said step-daughter, but after hearing this song, I'll say daughter. This was such a beautiful song. From the reactions of the other bandmembers, I am guessing they had never heard this before. After sitting back enoying it for a little while, they looked at each other and decided "what the heck" and joined in. This is what songwriting is all about and I hope that everyone gets to hear this eventually.
The following performance of Today's the Day That We Fight Back was especially rousing. It was only the second time I had heard this one live. The first time I was just soaking it in without quite understanding it. Now after hearing this on tapes over and over again and undertsanding the politics behind it a litle better as well, I was able to appreciate the passion behind the music. This reminds me of classic protest tunes from throughout the recent history of music - rousing simple melodies with straight forward lyrics and a big payoff.
Later, Tory Cassis was brought out on stage. He was wearing a full suit and looking very sharp. They played Jockey Full of Bourbon and boy did it ever swing! Maybe it's the fact that a sharp dressed man was singing lead and a sweet soulful voice, but the song took on a completely different character. I loved it. Then they sang a sung that he wrote with Dave. He had sung it before in New York and I liked it then. But this was even better - it reminds me of classic Steve Winwood from the early Traffic/Blind Faith days. Well that's what I am reminded of. I want an album of Tory's. I want to see him and his band. When's it gonna happen?
Jian called what we now call Grunge of Spain the King of Spain something-or-other city version. He said it was going to be on the live album to be released in May. Then he said it was their turn to jam. And jam they did....on Brown Eyed Girl! I don't like Van Morrison very much, but a few of his songs are truly wonderful - Tupelo Honey, Domino, Wild Night, and well....this one. This was followed almost immediately by the Drinking Song. Arm in arm we used what was left of our voices to sing out this tune with a fervor rarely heard. I bet they heard us in Mississauga!
After the show was over, I made my way back to the bar and drank eight cups of water. I made a few runs back and forth bringing water to some other thirsty Früheads. I was dehydrated and exhuasted and yet filled with quite a bit of energy. I don't know how many people asked me "where do you get all that energy" and I kept congratulating myself silently for going to sleep early on Friday night. I ran around like a maniac filling up my t-shirt with the signatures of those I didn't expect to see again for a long time, like the Ohio and Ontario Früheads. I caught the last 15 minutes of the Czech/Russia gold medal game and updated Mike on the progress of the game. We then commiserated on the state of hockey in the NHL and thought of ways to improve the league and the Olympic selection process. By doing this, we likely bored those around us!
CHAPTER 7, in which I meet Ashley MacIsaac and go home
After getting a little sleep and a quick shower, we headed out to Tim Horton's. A donut shop named after a hall of fame hockey player is right up my alley. Donuts + hockey = Fun!
We made our way (eventually) back to the hotel and there was some rumblings about Ashley MacIsaac being outside packing his car.....Ashley MacIsaac?? Well anyway a few of us stood around and discussed whether or not we thought it was him. Then finally, Vika walked right up to him (to giggles from the peanut gallery) and asked "Is your name Ashley?" and then we had a fun little conversation. Turns out he was asked if he wanted to be a Fruhead by a camera crew. He said no. He posed for some pictures with us, and finished wrapping the Pez box with packing tape, using his teeth to break the tape. It's a fun little visual - close your eyes and imagine.
Well then we finally got back in Ariel and left for home. Usually on a trip home, I get a sense of something ending and I get a little morose. It didn't happen this time and I enjoyed the ride home, again listening to some groovy music. Ten hours later, I was home.
As many of you know, I handed out all those demographic surveys. I got 99 back, including two indentical ones from Ofer. Those results will be up here sometime very soon when I find some time to compile and post them. Thanks everyone for participating in that.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet most of you for the first time, and to revisit with those whom I had met previously. It seemed like a gathering of old friends and something that I would attend every time it happens. I do, however, hope we reconsider having it in Toronto in February each year. I think we got extremely lucky with the weather. If it had snowed or was particularly cold, there may have been a lot of people who could not have made it due to poor traveling conditions. If it is to be in Toronto, I would suggest having it sometime in late spring or summer. But that is jumping ahead, isn't it?
I will see all you have soon at another show here or there. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!!!
A big dumb load of smiles,
Some other tidbits from the performance include: