Live Show: 5/2/98


Amherst, MA

Reviewed by: Chris O'Malley, Zard Snodgrass, Chris Traugott, & Moz

The Details

Man, I'm just getting the Massachusetts tour this weekend, aren't I?

Vika and I left Boston around 3:30, and after some back road driving, made it to Amherst College by a little bit before 5:30. The campus, like the previous night, was absolutely beautiful. Old style buildings, big trees everywhere, yet another campus I wish I'd gone to. :-)

Once on campus, we instantly ran into Chris & Moe. After walking a bit around the campus, we found the tent under which the concert was to be. Jason, Rob, Leah, Chris T, Zard, Jo, Jen, Gordon, Moz, Adam H, and a bunch of others were already there. Yay!

Fruvous was slated to go on first, around six-ish. They came on stage pretty much on time, and delivered one of the best "shorter" sets I've ever seen. They played for a little more than an hour, and entertained the crowd with, amongst other things, a cappella within-crowd numbers and running around like nuts. It was outdoors, ya know, so Fruvous almost always has fun in such environments.

After Fruvous was done, the Nields came on around 7:30 or so. I watched a good portion of the set, but also talked to Jian, Mike and Murray and made my way from crowd to crowd of onlookers, friends, and fans. The Nields also played for a little more than an hour, ending with two numbers in which Fruvous came on stage and helped sing along (can't remember the title of the first one, but the second one was 'Goodnight Irene').

At this point it was about nine, and a bunch of us ran to Antonio's for some pizza and just general hanging out time. By 10:15, Vika and I said our goodbyes, and headed back to Boston, arriving around midnight. Not too shabby, although I did end up getting us semi-lost on the drive home. Oh well. Rob and Jason came back to Boston as well to stay at Frucasa.

Sunday morning. Hung around with Jason, Christy, Cee/Adam (who missed Saturday's show, but arrived early Sunday morning), and had some breakfast. Getting ready to go to the Harvard Square show in a bit. Cool!

And the saga continues...

From Zard Snodgrass:

The next morning, after a quick shower and big breakfast at Friendly's (I love the northeast!), Chris and I headed off on small roads to Amherst - this was almost a first, not having to rush to the next place, and having plenty of time! It was a beautiful drive, and we even went through Northampton, with a nod to the Iron Horse . Once in Amherst, we wandered about the VERY pretty little town until it was time to head to the venue.

Here's the first thing that's a true shame - even though it was threatening pouring rain, the show was still outdoors, under a tent, which meant that there was plenty of room for everyone (and since it didn't rain, there was REALLY plenty of room), and it WAS open to anyone. The reason this is a shame is because I think a lot of people stayed away, thinking that they wouldn't be able to get in. The reason that THAT's a shame is because this was the best outdoor show I've ever seen them do!! (and there's your reasoning for always trying to attend a Frushow - it may be one of the best you've ever seen!)

They got up on stage (Fruvous was preceding the hometown fave's, the Neilds), and there was a glitch with Jian's microphone. So, while that was being fixed, they broke into Please Please Me - "Beatles, always a crowd-pleaser!" was Jian's rationale. A song or two later came the "Policeman, Outside of the Tent" jam - there was a policeman standing in back by the soundboard, and they figured that most bands have security at the front, to keep the crowd from rushing the stage, whereas Fruvous has to have security at the back, to keep the crowd from rushing away from the show! The policeman kept his firm stance, and so they went into the fun jam, which was really quite catchy, and evidently THEY liked it, since they kept breaking into it at different parts during the show!

After the policeman jam, the came into the crowd to go a cappella, starting with Boss, where they went through the crowd, ending up by the policeman, and at the end of the song, Jian fell into someone's lap who was sitting back by the soundboard. Then came Spiderman, also on ground level, and Mike spotted a guy wearing a Superman sweatshirt, who he proceeded to maul. Other highlights were: Mike doing the "Canada dance", which included lying on the ground face up. He said "when I raise my hand, I'm starting the dance". He raised his hand and rolled over. That was Canada rolling over and getting screwed by the Americans. :-P Setlist escapes me, but my favorites were Sad Girl, which I heard for the first time, the Spector (Murray's bass, for those who don't hang out with Chad or Chris T) sounding lovely, Signed Sealed Delivered, an impromptu Brown Eyed Girl show ender (since they'd heard it a couple of times on the radio coming over, they figured it was a sign), and most everything else. WHAT a show! It was worth the drive from DC, just that hour. And then the Neilds went on and did the best show I've seen them do (only my 5th, but still). Fruvous came on and joined them for the last two songs of the evening - the first I can't remember, but the second was Goodnight Irene. The entire time the weather was just perfect, Fruheads and Amherst students mingled admirably, I got to dance barefoot in the grass, and it was just so low-key but wonderfully fun! The sound in the tent was also remarkably good!

When it was all over, some of us headed to Antonio's for pizza, and then to the Amherst Brewing Co. for some brew, and then Chris and I toddled off to our Motel, where we got to bed by midnight - a first for any Fru-weekend!

We headed out homeward the next morning, so missed Harvard Square, but hope that everyone had a good time. I'm still smiling! :-) See many of you at MIT!

From Chris Traugott:

The next morning we rescued Ariel, and then Zard and I set off for Amherst via the roads less traveled. And less paved, as it turned out, but that is another story. After a pleasant drive we arrived in Amherst, found shelter and food, wandered about a bit, and finally strolled down to the college for the show. The skies looked threatening, but the organizers had set up a tent outside the student center, and as it turned out there was plenty of room for everyone.

Fruvous came on first, and Fordy had that little twinkle in his eye and bounce in his step that boded well for a good show. Fruvous began with the "Canadian Dance." Mike stepped down from the stage onto a bit of grass and said "Now, when I raise my hand, that means the dance is beginning." He then lay down, flat on his back, and raised his hand straight up. "Ready?" He flipped over onto his stomach and wiggled a bit, then stood up and grinned. "That is Canada rolling over and getting f****d by America," he yelled, to raucous applause from the crowd. Once everyone was back on stage, Jian discovered that his mic wasn't working, so while the tech crew worked to solve that, the guys launched into the Beatles "Please, Please Me." Who was a happy camper?

From then on, the show rocked. Lots of improv, including the policeman's song, about the security guy at the back of the tent who kept the crowds from running away from the show instead of from rushing the stage. That song ended up being something of an extended improv and running joke throughout the show, you can bet that fellow had some stories to share around the police station after the show. Dave joked that Fruvous would be playing the policemen's ball this year. During Boss and Spiderman, the guys sang off mic while standing in the midst of the audience. Jian flirted with the policeman at the back of the tent (he swore the policeman had winked at him suggestively) and Mike tackled a guy in a Superman shirt. "Just like the old days" joked Jian.

Bass notes (yes, you knew there had to be something about that guys, indulge me): I think Murray replaced a chip in the Spector, I know he has a new chip from Spector that should correct the problems he was having with the bass. At any rate, he had no troubles during sound check, according to roB, and during the Amherst show the Spector sounded great. Murray commented to me once that the fans seem to care about the Spector more than he does, but if our SOS (save our Spector, so dubbed by Zard) campaign has succeeded, so much the better. It sure sounded sweet Saturday night!

Murray added a few notes and slides here and there, as he has started doing lately (happy face). Michigan Militia and Boo Time sounded great. Two fun moments for me - CHAD take note! - Murray played a few bars "slap bass" style in the middle of Signed, Sealed, Delivered. I've only seen that song live a few times, and I never noticed him do that before. I don't know if this is something new, but I haven't ever seen him play that way. Second, most of the bass line to Green Eggs and Ham sounded new to me. So, it's been a few months without Fruvous and my brain is fried from work, etc., so Chad and all you lurking bass lovers out there, pay attention next time they do GEH and let me know if I'm imagining things.

Towards the end of the show, Jian looked over at Murray and I saw Murray mouth the words "Brown Eyed?" questioningly. Jian nodded and turned to Mike and said "Brown Eyed," and the guys launched into a rocking version of "Brown Eyed Girl" to close out the set, to the immense delight of Zard, who let out one of her infamous "eeeps!"

After the show Zard and I wandered out behind the tent to make room for die hard Nields fans and to enjoy the cool evening breeze and green grass between our toes. The Nields did a fun set too, and ended their show with Fruvous on stage for two songs, one by Buffalo Springfield that I can never remember the name of but which has the chorus of "Stop children what's that sound, everybody look what's going down," and the other a lovely version of "Goodnight, Irene." A good night, indeed!

After the show a group of us wandered back into town for pizza, beer, and conviviality, and all too soon it was time for us to go our separate ways. Zard and I had to skip the Sunday show in Boston as we had to work on Monday, but the trip back was filled with happy chatter about the weekend and one solid hour of WXPN on the Jersey Turnpike, always a treat. It was great to see so many fruheads again, it seems ages since the Fru-con. Looking forward to seeing more folks at MIT in a few weeks. Until then, happy travels!

From Moz:

Saturday night, was simply great! Fruvous actually opened for the Nields (since the Nields are VERY local to Amherst, they actually may have had a stronger following at the school than Fruvous). They played a great set, and I will only tell you the things that stick out in my mind as particularly neat/special/rare. The show was kicked off by an immediate microphone problem (Jian's) so, of course, Fruvous felt the need to sing a Beatles song so everyone would be happy nonetheless, and forget all about the mic problem. Made sense to me. They did an extended teaser (which I must say, sounded very rehearsed) of "Please Please Me." What a great start to the show! Another great point of the show was the Policeman Song. Jian started by saying how most bands hire policemen to keep people from storming the stage, while Moxy Fruvous hires policemen to stop the people from running away from the stage. And that explained the cop standing on the back. The song was extremely funny, as well as catchy, and provided a basis to a running joke on the campus security cop all night. There were jokes ranging from the cop secretly wanting to do the forbidden policeman dance, which involved shooting his gun, to the cop actually suggestively winking at Jian. It was hilarious, and at 5:10 AM, it's not coming out on my computer screen very well, but nonetheless, I MUST continue typing... =) The highlight of the Fruvous set, for me, HAD to be Boss and Spiderman. For these two songs, they jumped off of the stage and moved around the very "personal" (translated: small) audience, singing off mic. It was amazing, and they said it reminded them of their busking days. During boss, they sang one verse right next to the cop. I laughed (Just thought you might wanna know). Jian also proceeded to play the virtual drum fill on the lighting guy's head as well as jump in his lap at the end of the song. It was really quite unbelievable. But we all knew that Fruvous was truly going "no holds barred" when Mike jumped on a guy wearing a Superman t-shirt during Spiderman. Being a great promoter of violence, as usual , Mike really gave that guy a good WWF-style (translated: fake) beating. Other highlights of the set included "Sad Girl," which I heard for the very first time (and will post my thoughts about later) and "Brown-Eyed Girl," just because I hadn't heard that yet. When all was said and done, this was truly a great set!

BUT, the finest moments of the night were yet to come. The Nields played a tremendous set, which I will not detail, just because this is not the Nields' newsgroup. For the last two songs, however, Fruvous came on stage with the Nields to do two of the most amazing renditions of songs I have ever experienced. By golly, it was amazing! The first song was Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" (aka "Stop-- children, what's that sound, everyone look what's goin' down..."). First of all, I love this song. And second, they did it so wonderfully, and yet differently-- it was truly great. Mike sang the second verse very beautifully. At this point, I had already decided that the 2 1/2 hour trip was worth it for this one song. I really wasn't sure if I wanted one more encore, because I wasn't sure that they could top what I had just heard them do. I didn't think it could get better than that... Well, I was wrong... Katrina used some good logic in introducing the final song of the night. She noted how Fruvous always ends their shows with Drinking Song, and how the song they would do is right in the middle of Drinking Song-- therefore, it was a very worthy equivalent to ending with Drinking Song. By this point you may have figured it out: "Irene, Goodnight" (Or is it "Goodnight, Irene"?). I can describe the performance of this song in two words: raw passion. It was truly unbelievable. It was so great to see Fruvous and Nields singing that together, especially since they all seemed to be doing it from their hearts. The emotion and passion in this song was amazing, and I think it will remain in my memory as perhaps one of my favorite concert moments of all time. Wow...

Well-- it now being 5:37, I think I'm ready for bed. Have a good night all, and I hope to see you in Boston today (Sunday)!!!

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

The Music

Opened with The Set Closed with Encore 1 Encore 2 'The Nields' Encores

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

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