Live Show: 3/6/98


Brunswick, ME

Reviewed by: Chris Traugott, Zard Snodgrass, & Moz

The Details

This most recent frutrip got off to something of a rocky start for me. I had decided to fly out of Baltimore (cheaper tickets) and found myself trapped on the Washington beltway early Friday afternoon because a dump truck full of manure had overturned, closing down the inner loop. I couldn't have come up with a better metaphor for Washington if I tried! Then, due to a tiny man with a big ego who kept the parking lot shuttle bus waiting whilst he unpacked his trunk and sipped his mocha coffee, I arrived at my gate just as the plane was pulling away. Fortunately the third USAir agent that I spoke to had a sense of humor and issued me a boarding pass instead of making me fly standby on the next flight, so I arrived in Boston harried, but in time to catch a ride with Zard up to Bowdoin.

We picked up our friend Jen who lives in Brunswick, and arrived at the venue about ten minutes before Fruvous went on, enough time to hug Ceecee and Vika, see Jackie (newly returned from Chile) and meet Chris Moesel and Sharon and her husband. The band walked on some time after ten, and opened with a strong version of Message.

Next came Michigan Militia, which I was anxious to hear as I had spotted a new bass on stage and someone had told me that it was the Thunderbird. Fortunately, it wasn't. I found out later that Murray had borrowed the bass when the Spector, which he brought on this mini tour, had troubles during sound check. The borrowed one was a Fender, and for some reason it sounded very muddy and indistinct, without the rich tones of the Spector or the strong, solid sound of Murray's own Fender. I was disappointed in Militia, and apparently so was Murray, because he leaned down and said something to the tech guy and a song or two later, Cal brought the Spector up on stage.

It was about this point that Jian began a little discussion about the band's politics, and stated that "I'm not really known for having strong political opinions." Murray had unplugged the Fender and was plugging in the Spector, and right as Jian said that a loud popping noise came from plugging in the cable. Murray laughed and apologized, saying "It had to be done," and Mike followed with, "Jian, I think that is the musical equivalent of being told, "F*ck you."" Jian laughed too, and started ragging on the Bowdoin newspaper, which had a typo in the banner, of all places. The newspaper is called "The Bowdoin Orient" but somehow this one came out as "The Bowdoin Oient." Between the name of the college and the typo in the header, the guys had plenty of material! "Who decided how to pronounce Bowdoin, you say bow, like 'bow down,' and of course the doin is French so it should be pronounce 'dwa.'" Mispronunciations of the school name became a running gag. Then the guys joked about an article entitled "Should we bomb Iraq" and claimed some guy called Whitey had stated "Yeah. And when we are done, we need to invade Canada." They said they were glad to get the heads up about the coming invasion, so that Canada could get all three of its tanks, manned by the four men in the Army who were under forty, lined up on the border. Then Jian read a bit of the article about the men's hockey team, which contained the line that " lone goal was not enough to help the men's team to win. Bowdoin lost 5-1" and Dave commiserated with fans who were counting on the weighted system of scoring hockey, where a lone goal might have counted for more than one point.

The guys played a few more songs, including Video Bargainville, but the show didn't really seem to come together until they played Fly. Jian sang with great emotion, by then Murray had the Spector plugged in and ready to go, and the band seemed to pull it together. Present Tense Tureen was a delight, I hadn't heard it in a while and Murray seemed to be feeling playful and added in a few little extras in the bass line here and there. Murray introduced Tureen as Dave's song about magic, and Dave responded that that wasn't his interpretation of the song, it was Murray's, and was Murray trying to tell the audience how to think ("Well, yes, I am," he replied), and how come he (Dave) got stuck with taking credit for writing the song anyway.

At some point there seemed to be some confusion about the set list, Jian's had Kid's Song on it, but no one else's did. "It's a conspiracy!" he yelled, "I called it out, it was supposed to be on your set lists!" He looked at each of their set lists, and accused Mike and Dave of conspiring to keep the song out of the set. Dave asked "Hey, what about Murray!" and Jian said, "Yeah, right, he never writes his own set list" at which point Murray held his up and said "Yes I did." Mike said he hated that song and didn't want to sing, and Jian argued that it was a great song for the flow at this point in the show. Dave asked, "Flow, what flow, we've totally blown 'flow' here." Mike jumped around yelling he didn't want to sing it and Jian joked about how they had to humor Mike sometimes. The audience yelled for Kids, and finally got it, but Mike sang an entirely new verse about introducing his family to his girlfriend, who had a French surname that his folks insisted in pronouncing as English. I can't remember the exact words, but the rhymes were seizure, fissure and fish, and fish became among the items loved and despised during the song. Murray's favorite color this time was blue, to which Dave responded with a quizzical "blue?"as if blue was simply too mundane a color when set up against mauve, teal, and some of the rest of the color palette which has made it's way into that song over the years.

Dave began the intro to Spiderman with "Well, Tina Turner may say "We don't need another hero" but we do" and was interrupted by Jian, who pointed out that Tina Turner said a lot of things that weren't true, like "I'm your private dancer" when she wasn't. All the joking about heroes led to reminiscing about the early 80's show "Greatest American Hero" (all us over 25s were giggling at this one) and Murray began to sing the chorus from the theme song for the show. The audience joined in, and we got a few minutes of "Fruvous sings TV show tunes from the early 80's." For the rest of the show, the guys would spontaneously break into "Believe it or not, I'm walking on air, I never thought I could feel so free, flying away on a wing and a prayer, who could it be? Believe it or not it's just me" and Dave and Mike even "flew" around the stage a bit.

About mid-way through the show, Jian walked over to Dave and whispered in his ear, then walked over to Mike and whispered in his ear. Mike turned to whisper to Murray, who whispered back. This went on for a few minutes, as the guys giggled and exchanged "meaningful looks." Then they broke into a song that I've heard on the radio recently and for some reason associate with the movie Austin Powers (not sure if it should be associated with the movie, but anyway….). I don't know the title of the song, but the refrain is "BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4" and it has a wonderful bass line, at least the way Murray played it, with mini-solos inserted here and there. Needless to say I enjoyed it immensely. :-)

Other songs on the set list included Moon, jazzy Boo Time, Saucep'n, King of Spain, GE&H (short version) and River Valley, and the encores were Pscyho Killer (yay!) and Drinking Song.

After the show we hung out a bit talking with one another. All of the band came out to chat with folks, and I believe a lot of new fans were born that night, there were certainly a lot of Fruvous virgins, but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves and a lot of them went up to talk to the guys. We finally piled into the car around two-ish and rolled into Boston about four.

From Zard Snodgrass:

Warning - due to brain transcription problems, much Fruvous content has been lost. (that would perHAPS be due to lack of sleep! Staying up 'til 6 am, as the sun is rising, at Fru-casa in Allston, does that to one...)

Wow!! How to describe this past weekend, especially without duplicating the great reviews already out there (for those of you who haven't checked out FDC, go by there for Chris O's reviews)?! I'll just try to go show by show, pulling things that others may have left out. Forthwith:

Bowdoin College

Well, this show had special meaning for me, since I graduated from there 10 years ago, and the only musical guests I had ever seen there were The Fixx and John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band (which does have that Eddie and the Cruisers tie in, between them doing the actual music, and Dave being in E. and the C. part II). Anywho, I don't know who's spoiling the current students, but I hope they keep doing it! The very weirdest part of the whole show for me was the flashbacks (no, not drug-induced, thank-you-very-much) - such as when Fruvous covered Psycho Killer, and I could shut my eyes and live between two worlds: the freshman/sophomore me, back in '85/'86 listening to the Talking Heads at frat parties, and the current me hanging out in Daggett Lounge listening to my favorite band, that I had never even dreamed of existing back in the 80's. It's hard to explain, but it was a mini-version of time-travel!

For this show, I met up with a friend and old college roomie of mine (who now has two children) to introduce her to this whole Fruvous and Fruhead phenomenon. I think she partially went for anthropological research reasons, but she also said she wanted to go (despite having to stay up later than she had in quite a while!) because she thought how bad she would feel if she suggested a great and very important book to me, and I just shrugged and said "Nah, thanks. I'm not interested in reading it." So, obviously she was somewhat interested, but I don't know how much she was really looking forward to it. She lasted until 11:45 pm, and the show started around 10:15 I believe, and she said she really enjoyed it! In Boo Time, when Mike was doing the call and response, she turned to me and said "Teddy [her 6-month old] would really like this!" I don't know if she's a full-fledged Fruhead by any means, but she certainly has a better grasp of the whole phenomenon, having seen a great show and met a number of Fruheads. Speaking of, it was great to meet Moz (another Chris) and Samoq (Sharon) and her husband, and to see Jackie again and meet her friends. One of the very best things about a Fru-show is meeting new people every time! (and then seeing them again and again and again at future shows!)

The show itself was very good, but was kind of odd in the pacing. Because the crowd was so subdued, there wasn't tons of cheering to keep the energy up between songs, but the guys' chatter was pretty inspired, the jokes were funny, and the music was really on. Go figger! One inspired pun of Dave's went something like: they must teach a course in New Orleans cuisine here at Boudin college, don't they?! Other great moments were the continuing thread of "Believe It or Not I'm Walking on Air," which had those of us who WEREN'T currently in college rolling in the aisles (oh, no aisles.)! Herewith I send up a plea - if any Bowdoin-ites or others out there were taping this show, could you please email me?! (I beg!!)

From Moz:







Friday, Moz finishes classes, jumps in car (along with girlfriend named Ann and FruVirgin named Walt), and treks from Boston to Maine. Net time to first destination (house of the Moz family): 2 hours, 25 minutes. Dinner with the folks (1 lasagna, 1 salad, 3 loaves of Italian bread, and Pepsi for the New Generation (complete with the New Generation's new logo)). Depart for Bowdoin. Net time to Bowdoin: 45 minutes. Arrive. Wait. Steal nice color Fruvous thing off the wall of a deserted hallway (thus it was an ineffective advertisement anyway). Moz's other 4 friends arrive. Doors open and wa-la! Moz gets in on his first guest list admission (YIPPEE!!!). He first meets Lara, the coordinator of the nights events, and thanx her for getting the guys to come up. He then assembles himself in the audience until people he recognize arrive (which, at this point, were not many). Finally Cee and Vika arrive and Moz is happy. After a few quick hugs, he meets Christy (Ceecee's cousin) and Sharon and her husband (woo-hoo!-- they only live 20 minutes from Moz!!!). Then Zard, Chris T. and friends arrive. Moz is introduced and enjoys meeting the lovely ladies. Sooner or later, Fruvous arrives (having been preceded by an interesting duo-- guitar and mandolin, with lyrics about something or other concerning college life).

Wow, the Fruvous show kinda escapes me. And since it's been detailed by others, I will not go over the whole thing, but just the certain "moments". Of course the opener is always a "moment". So, they opened with Message. Now I particularly love the Acap version of this. This is partly because the harmonies are amazing, and partly because you just have to love a band that does a cover of their own cover. I mean, the album version is quite different from the original Bee-Gees version, and the live version is quite different from both. That's just too cool... Let's see... other comments... Murray's bass. I remember when Chris T. first saw the red and white fender. I believe her words were something to the effect of "Oh sh**! He sold his Spectre! No, no, no, I can't believe it!" followed with a brief amount of panic. I could be wrong, but I think I remember that happening. Luckily for her (and for Murray), he hadn't sold it. Whew (wiping the sweat of his brow)!... The whole newspaper thing was very funny. Jian just kept ripping on the newspaper. The spelling, the generally bad writing, anti-Canadaic sentiments-- everything. At one point he commented that it must be comprised of volunteer writers. The whole newspaper bit was just funny. Apparently he also informed Lara, later on, that she had gotten the release dates wrong in the article she wrote about them. Oops. Great American Hero has already received much commenting, but I must also say that it was very fun. That is, of course, one of my favorite parts of fruvous shows-- when they just kick back and try stuff they've never done before. And they always do it well. BBC 1 was a new one for me. I had read about it on the ng, but never heard it. I thought it was fun, but it backed up my new fruvous theory: all new fruvous covers are hard rock. More on that in another post (I bet you just can't wait now...). Love Potion #9 was good. And Drinking Song was touching. For the first time, I knew the people I had my arms around and this made all the difference. I just closed my eyes and experienced the Drinking Song as it was meant to be.

After the show I hung around a bit, helped put away some equipment, and chatted with the guys and others. Talking to Mike, he said something that kinda touched me. I mentioned to him that I heard he wrote a really beautiful song about his wife and daughter. To this he replied: "I've written many beautiful songs about my wife and daughter." So I mentioned that I heard that the particular one he chose to share with the fans in Toronto was very moving. He said thank you and that it was good to share the song with others. I then asked if there would be any chance of him sharing the song this weekend. To that he replied: "No, I couldn't. I can't play that song unless at least one of the two people it is written for are there. Otherwise, I'll miss them too much." Maybe you had to be there, but this was the singlemost touching thing of the night. For that moment, Mike wasn't a member of Fruvous to me, he wasn't a guitar player, he wasn't a fun guy: he was a husband, far far away from home. And I saw what Moxy Fruvous was about. They're not about witty lyrics, politics, or even emotional roller coasters. Moxy Fruvous is about life. Each song is a small representation of life. Sure, some of these slices of life expose politics, some are made fun with wit, and some may move a person to tears, but they are more. They are the heart and souls of the musicians. I'm sure Mike's song is beautiful, but that's not because it's a good song, it's because his relationship to his family is beautiful. The song is a piece of his life which is beautiful, and therefore, the song becomes beautiful. Does that make sense to anyone but me? Next time they sing Fly or even Drinking Song, look into Jian's eyes and you will see that Moxy Fruvous is about so much more than songs. I don't know how to explain it: Fruvous is simply an expression of life, be it happy, sad, enlightening, or painful. Of course, I always thought this-- it's obvious that Fruvous is about more than the songs-- but until I saw Mike's love for his family, through his eyes and through his words, I never completely understood. I walked away from that concert with a smile on my face, an autographed picture in my pocket, and a new respect and understanding of Mike, Jian, Murray, and Dave. Oh! And of course, some great new friends...

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 1998 page