Live Show: 7/31/98


Boston, MA

Reviewed by: Colleen Campbell & Harry

The Details

The shows, not the reviews. *smile* Y'all should know by now that I have a difficult time curbing myself when it comes to talking about Fruvous. The shows were both shorter sets, outdoors (and unfortunately for the lads, staring straight into the setting sun throughout, both times), and very well received, both by the surprisingly large number of Fruheads and by the rest of the audience.

The reason I was partcularly pleased by both these shows is that I saw a number of short, outdoors, folk-fest-type sets last summer, and while there was some variety in the setlists, it wasn't as great as in these, nor were they what I go to see Fruvous for. These were real "Fruvous shows" for me, in that the guys didn't try to keep the show within certain parameters, didn't curb their proclivity towards improv and interaction with the crowd.

I don't have a perfect memory for setlists, but Friday's show, performed at Quincy Market in Boston, included (possibly among others) BJ, Jockey, GitC, Horseshoes, Boss, Spiderman (which was requested by a balcony contingent), Michigan, Johnny, Minnie the Moocher (a terrific rendition!), Message to You, KoS/GE&H, and Love Potion # 9. No new songs, but that's okay, 'cause I think most of the MIT crowd from May turned out for the show (gauging from how many MIT references were made and how much of a reaction they got) and they'd already heard many of them. *grin* Saturday's show, performed at the South Norwalk Celebration of the Arts in Connecticut, included Authors, River Valley, GitC, Horseshoes, Boss, YWGTTM, a surprise appearance of the Chia Pets doing Oliver's Army, Sad Girl, Message, Michigan, Johnny, Minnie the Moocher, Greatest Man in America, Mistra Know-It-All, KoS/GE&H, and Love Potion # 9. Neither show included an encore.

The lads were in fine spirits and fine form for both shows, and I was relieved to see that none of them were suffering ill effects from their car accident of a few days back. When Jian loped onto the stage on Friday, I thought perhaps he'd picked up a wardrobe addition from the lead singer of BARK like a dog, Scott Benjamin (who showed up for the performance), yellow-tinted glasses; but I was informed that he'd been wearing those years ago. I'd never seen them before, though, and I have to admit, he can pull off accessories I wouldn't be caught dead in. ;) There, your hair-and-clothes report.

Friday's show was quite spicy, and I had my impression reinforced that Fruvous knows they can and are expected to get away with all kinds of hijinks in Boston. (I for one was a bit startled to realize just how many Frufans I know from the Boston area and greater Mass area.) They said they had to be introduced by a person with pink hair--wait! and here one was, how convenient! They called her up on stage, but apparently wanting to make a politically pink wardrobe statement doesn't equate to having chutzpah; she was a fish-out-of-water. Michelle had brought them a little cluster of musical lawn gnomes, and Jian joked about his, "Nome Chomsky." *Groan.* Fruvous made it through five songs, I think, before they abandoned propriety and started messing around with us. They serenaded a guy on the balcony (who was dancing rather enthusiastically in, I believe, a hockey jersey; don't ask me what team!), who obliged unabashedly with jaunty moves and later started making arcane hand signals at the guys, which at least one of them tried to replicate. It was hilarious. Their impromptu tune segued into a "Triangle Man" reference, similar to the "Media Lab" song of MIT last year: "Balcony Guy." (Later, when Jian asked who hadn't seen Fruvous before in the KoS intro, he was shocked to find that Balcony Guy was a virgin and said he hoped the deflowering experience was a good one.)

The "stage" for the show was just a roped-off area between pilons (with people peering down from the walkway above), so Fruvous was on the same level with the crowd and the vast majority couldn't see the band at all. Since most of the first 10 rows of fans were crammed with those of us who'd seen Fruvous several times before (does that make us sluts?), we were quite into the game when Jian started ordering us to sit down and stand up in musical time. We were divvied into the first five rows, the second five rows, and "the useless f***ers" (which he amended later, perhaps realizing it was a family show--including Harry Keates & daugher *smile*) behind us. Group A sit down! Group B sit down! Useless f***ers, wave! We did all stay seated during an entire song (I don't remember which one), and remained patiently crammed & crouched until I asked if we could get up now. Group A get up! It was hilarious, but maybe you had to be there. During KoS, Murray interrupted Dave to say, "King! King! I have a question! Do you consider your wardrobe choices to match?" (They clearly didn't.) Dave snuggled up against Murray and replied, lisping slightly, "Yes, they match *yours.*" The crowd howled.

Minnie the Moocher was really fabulous, including a verse about Chappaquidick (which I'm sure I misspelled) and how we love Kennedy anyway, and another about Kenneth Starr's ego. There was one about the rampaging Godzilla and Taco Bell's "little chinchilla; actually, the real name of the creature is a chihuahua, and I'm pulling off these rhymes by dint of bravura!" The standout verse, though, was about how we should lay off Clinton, it was just "old-fashioned sinnin'," it's time to let him off the "Presidential cooker" and focus on Chelsea, "I think she's a lesbian hooker." That got a roar! During "Spiderman," I couldn't even locate Mike while he made the usual web-slinging noises; finally everyone pointed up and there he was, appropriately enough on the balcony. And for much of the rest, the show was spiced up for me by the familiarity of the audience with the material--the number of people who participated on King of Spain/Green Eggs & Ham, did the "Stayin' Alive" dance in Love Potion, etc. You'd think I'd eventually get tired of it all, but I never do.

From Harry:

wow, CeeCee wrote such a great review, I almost feel like I was there. Oh, wait a second, I was there, but CeeCee's review filled me in on some stuff that I didn't quite catch. : )

We started off at the side of the stage, but it was too loud there for my kids, and since we couldn't see from further out in front of the stage, we ended up behind the stage, on the balcony! Actually, it was a much better view than it sounds like. ; ) The delay in the start of the show did my daughter in a bit, She was so excited through the whole soundcheck, that she ran out of steam towards the end of the set and we had to leave to get some food about half way through Love Potion #9.

The show was a lot of fun. It was interesting to watch from behind because you could really see the method to the madness that makes the shows so great. We could see how Jian would chat away while the other guys changed instruments, and mics, and how the others signaled to Jian that they were ready and how the segueys (sp.) took place. So while we lost something in not seeing their faces, it was still a cool spot.

Anyway, as far as the show went, I think CeeCee covered it. Lots of energy, great improvs, and generally lots of fun. Minnie was the highlight for me, my daughter loved seeing Jockey, her current favorite Fruvous song, and my wife loved Balcony man, which was one of my favorite improvs that I've seen yet.

The night reinforced one of the reasons I love seeing these guys so much. CeeCee mentioned Jian watching himself because he was aware that we were there. I don't know that it had to do with us presonally, there were other kids too, but the guys were aware of us. When they saw my daughter during the show, they all clearly remembered her from May and waved and made faces at her. Mike saw us when he was on the balcony and waved and made faces while he snuck around before Spidy, and Dave and my daughter were practicly having a whole conversation through hand signals while he was hiding before King of Spain. He signaled that they would be at the record store after the show and we should stop by.

We had planned to say hi after eating dinner, but about half way through dinner I saw CeeCee (sorry we missed you) leaving from across the way, and got nervous that they were done and about to leave. So we rushed over only to find a huge line of people still waiting to see them. So instead of waiting and talking to them, I figured we would just wave from the side and head back to dinner. Well, when they saw her, they all stopped and said how great it was to see her and really just made her feel very special. Jian even remembered her name, almost correctly, which is impressive considering all the people they meet.

So, this isn't really a review, but I just wanted to share in my good feelings from seeing the guys again.

BTW, my daughter just turned three and my son six months, and this was her fourth Fruvous show and his second. So, that's pretty good I think. I think we need a Junior-Frumiles card for little kids, where it is the number of concerts you see, of any type, by the time you turn five. I think my kids would be well on their way to gathering some good loot by now. : ).

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

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