Live Show: 10/17/98


Highland Heights, KY

Reviewed by: Allen Lindsey, Kat, Colleen Campbell,
Trace, Chad Maloney & Jordan

The Details

Having never seen the band live (I only picked up one of their discs about a month ago) I wasn't really sure what to expect.


No really, wow!

That was the best $10 I've spent in a long time. Something struck me though, having seen Barenaked Ladies several times...

Is it a "Canadian" thing to do improv? I love it, it adds to the fun as long as it's done well. Tonight's show had goofy riffs on various American presidents as well as the "Canadian Rock" and a few others. Is this just a tradition that BNL and FrŁvous share or is this more widespread than I'm aware of? I very rarely go to concerts anymore, I'll make exceptions for a few select bands.

The encore of "Gulf War Song" was gorgeous and "Fly", which I'd never heard before (I only owned You Will Go to the Moon before tonight) made me cry which is a rare thing for me, at a concert anyhow.

Sorry to ramble, I was just completely thrilled with this show. Pretty darned good turnout too. I bought my ticket at the door and ended up in the third from last row.

From Kat:

[warning in advance -- i'm writing this at 2:47 am, so i make no promises about the length or the coherence. but it's for the good of the frucommunity, n'est-ce pas?]

well, it's been four months since i last saw fruvous in concert, but i'd been reading the reviews from all over in the interim, and felt occasional twinges of jealousy when i heard that some town got "marion fruvous" or someone else got "gulf war song" off mic, when the set we heard in june was fairly standard.

tonite, however -- we got it *all*. and i couldn't be happier. :)

my friend elizabeth and i left centerville around 6:15... had no real trouble getting to NKU, 'cept that i felt like i was driving *waaay* too far on 275 & passing through too many states (indiana? what happened to kenucky??). we circled the campus before we found the correct parking lot, then wandered on foot until we found the correct *building*. sheesh. once inside, i had my frumiles card stamped (#2), then followed the music to the wnku cd party where a local band was playing. there we met bud & his friend nelson & their families, as well as a guy named matt who said he used to post on here about a year ago, but just lurks now. anyway...

growing anxious, we crossed back to the auditorium & found our seats. the auditorium was *very* nice, with purple padded seats & everything. quite a change from the last venue we'd been in (and no beer bottles crashing into a nearby garbage can, thank god). our seats were stage dave, 6 rows back, so we were more or less on a level w/ the band, but far back enough that all 4 guys could fit into my camera's viewing window (w/o the flash, of course).

around 9:15 (not bad at all, considering how fru-time usually works) they were announced & greeted with wild cheers. the auditiorium was filled, and most of the audience seemed to be fans & not there just 'cause it was a benefit for the radio station. *shrug* as the guys came out, they seemed unusually... serious. but as the night wore on, that attitude broke down entirely. :) the set:

MESSAGE (a-cappella): was (pleasantly) surprised to be greeted by this song... and realized how great the acoustics were in the theater. wow. made me proud to be right in front of a speaker.

BJ DON'T CRY: mike seemed to be full of energy tonite... he threw in a line about watching a streaker in cinergy field for the locals. ;) however, jian's facials were taking on a mind of their own, so it was difficult to keep my attention fixed in any particular spot. especially during--

VIDEO BARGAINVILLE: jian did several false starts, including restarting when the crowd didn't do a satisfactory cry of "two!" murray was headbanging during the bridge... come to think of it, *all* the guys seemed to be full of energy. just added to the delight of it all.

during the break here, about 7 people walked in & took their seats in the section in front of eliz & i. jian & mike were bouncing around an improv about millard fillmore (pronouncing it "mil-LARD"... i'd always thought it "MIL-lard". hmm.), but quickly turned to mocking the newcomers, saying that they were too aloof for the first 3 songs ("that third song is rather unsavory"). dave began twanging "tureen" on his banjo, but the others weren't ready, so it disintegrated after the first 2 lines. a chuckle, some banter, then once more:

PRESENT TENSE TUREEN: jian forgot his shaker, so there was a bit of a scramble at the start. i really like the design on dave's banjo. totally rockin'. but as long as we've got the banjo out...

JOHNNY SAUCEP'N: ... and i tried my darndest to sing along. the "pork hocks" part always gets me... too many consonants. ;p

SPIDERMAN: dave, jian & murray chatted w/ the audience from the front of the stage, distracting us so that mike could take his place in the audience. once the superhero made his appearance, however, the three of them leaped off the stage to back him up, dashing along the middle aisle. spidey presented a cookie to a little boy in the audience. the treat, however, was laced with what he used to call "lysurgic..." i'm sure the concert was very interesting for that young man. ;)

PISCO BANDITO: yaaay!! my first time to hear this ditty... i think i caught a glimpse of the infamous pisco dance from the dancers in the back of the auditorium. :) i'm really looking forward to the next album, particularly if this & "i will hold on" & "sad girl" are all part of it. very good stuff.

then a bit of digression... or, shall we say, a *lot* of digression. a long banter about how grover cleveland's real name wasn't grover, but "kroger." even developed into a song (a sort of folk, pop, grunge mix... such homage to mr. cleveland has never before been paid, i swear). not quite sure why the lads were on such a presidential kick this evening. quite funny, whatever the reason.

I WILL HOLD ON: *sigh* i melt with jian-ballads. this, fly, message, no no raja (ok, so the last one's not quite a *ballad* -- it's still one of my favorites).... i *love* this song. hearing 2 new songs for the first time would've made this evening special. but it didn't end there...

BOO TIME: mike, mike, mike... he was making the most of a slippery stage & did some incredible dancing, shuffling back & forth in front of the instruments. almost caught his hat when he flipped it at the end. *almost*-- it fell off the stage. :)

MISTRA KNOW-IT-ALL: yet another first-time new song... i *like* it. then again, i haven't encountered a fruvous song yet that i've actively disliked, and something tells me i won't. ;p i'll praise the acoustics of this place once more... their voices were blending exceptionally well, and being seated next to the stage L speakers, caught every note. fantastic.

KIDS SONG: the evening keeps getting better & better. never seen this one live, either, and watching fruvous as children... now *that* is humorous. :) gave a loud "no!" for quebec separating. mike did this bizarre little shuffle-dance that soon had all the others following suit... the whole song sort of stalled out while mike did this quiet, mumbling improv about captain kirk (tha'z all i caught of it, anyways). i don't know if his words were funny or not; i was laughing at the expressions on murray's face. :)

quite an extended break in singing here, involving many topics and all of it hilarious. let me think... it started with mentioning that fruvous was being touted as "canadian rock." they said that in the future (in a really stupid town -- cleveland? no, toledo... toledo is to ohio what newfoundland is to canada ;p), they'd advertise canadian rock & just have a stone sitting on the stage (mike:"ha ha! you paid $15 for this, you suckers!" jian: "yeah, but what would be really sad is if that sold more tickets than *we* did"). then onto a discussion of bloomington, IN and their rationale for being in a different time zone (it takes a lot of balls, but also a lot of stupidity, according to jian)... then apologized for slamming the venue they played at the night before. then they slammed the venue they were at right then, commenting that quebec is like a giant kentucky (*heehee*). dave started singing "old kentucky home"... all this in the interim before "raja," 'cause jian kept pausing to get in the mood. at last--

NO NO RAJA: mmm. exceptional, particularly w/ the sound quality. this is one of my absolute favorites, so i was thrilled to hear it live. but the show kept getting better...

BALLAD OF MARION FRUVOUS: !!! i didn't expect to hear this one tonite, and i was *thrilled.* :) they are in rare form during this number. i'd heard it on tape, but that doesn't do justice to dave's costume, jian & murray's pantomime... it all works so well together. a mini dramatization. i was so excited to catch a "rarity" that i didn't pay much attention to mike's intro to the next song, until i nearly fainted--

NUITS DE REVE: *gasp* i kept pinching myself because i couldn't believe what i was hearing. the song that makes _wood_ my favorite album. six minutes long and in *french* -- certainly not a song i'd *ever* expect to hear live. and i was in the midst of it. the instrumental bridge was simply amazing, particularly watching mike on the guitar. this absolutely made my night. (thank you, guys!!)

AUTHORS: i was still lulled into nirvana from hearing the previous song, so i don't remember anything special about "authors." murray used the "crucifixion" line...

oh, wait, yes, there was something: murray did an elvis impersonation for "turnin' pages," flipping up his collar and sneering. this brought forth a torrent of cheers from the ladies in the audience, described as a "tidal wave of love". go murray. ;)

MICHIGAN MILITIA: brought forth all sorts of cheering from the crowd. lots of owners of _ywgttm_ or _live noise_? as fun as ever, particularly mike w/ the bullhorn. *heehee*.

FLY: jian gave quite the intro for this'un, and i noticed that mike was playing drums w/ the harmonica fastened to a metal wire around his neck so he could play that, as well. has this song always been played this way, or am i simply lacking memory recall? a beautiful rendition, nevertheless.

afterward, i was surprised to see dave & jian leave the stage. mike and murray started bantering w/ the crowd, so it took a minute before i connected mike's major literary figures (herman melville!) with -- ohmygod!

GREEN EGGS & HAM (LONG): hilarity such as i have never seen, i swear. :) as if dave & jian's costumes weren't funny enough, at one point all four of them were *running* around the slippery stage in some bizarre sort of chase scene. happy to see this "rarity"? you betcha. the short version is fun, but this is pure theatrical satisfaction.

ENDING MEDLEY: love potion, ohio, stayin' alive w/ jewel, chumbawumba, & barbie girl thrown in -- i was on my feet & clapping w/ the rest of the crowd when it was over. and we earned our encore. after thanking WNKU, the crowd, saying that they were going home for a week now, & advertising their new year's eve show in new york (i'm working on my mother... i want to attend so badly!), they stood at the edge of the stage and played --

GULF WAR SONG (off mic): *gasp* *gasp* *gasp* i'd posted here yesterday that i was "hoping for gulf war song" -- now, i was *hearing* it. wow. the acoustics were such that they didn't even need the microphones to be heard exceedingly well, and it was the absolute finest ending i could've imagined for an already incredible evening. thank you, fruvous, for playing everything i could've possibly wanted to hear at a concert. ('cept maybe "fell in love," but we must save something for next time, hmm? ;p)

we stuck around after the show for autographs, and was glad to see all four guys out signing & chatting. i thanked mike for "nuits de rÍve". i gave jian a tape of road music for their travels (the indie group mailbox out of boca raton, florida... if anyone cares, there's a link to their site off of mine (in fact, that's how i got their cds -- free!): -- just scroll down, you'll see it). i got pictures w/ all four (i'll scan 'n' post them as soon as possible), and walked out into the crisp night air. and screamed. and danced. and laughed. what an amazing night.

From Colleen Campbell:

What knocked me off my feet was Saturday's set. It was a terrific place to see Fruvous; normally I get antsy about sitting down to see them, because 1) I want to dance, and 2) what if that keeps the rest of the audience from getting into the energy?, but this time, I got to jump right behind me to the walkway to jam when I wanted to, and there was never any doubt about the audience being totally swept into the energy. Except for the MIT and Iron Horse shows, I've never seen them fool around with quite so much panache, glee, and freedom. Twice, they interrupted shows to run around the stage, quite literally--which amused me especially, as I'd commented to Mark upon coming in, "Oh, we're going to get `Stop Making Sense.'" I've never seen them get quite so silly during "The Kids' Song" (which is saying a hell of a lot), insult quite so many American cities (Bloomington was their favorite to pick on) or reference so many presidents (Rutherford B. Hayes, "America's only black president), "Kroger" Cleveland (about whom Dave sang a ditty that they all picked up on), Millard Fillmore (who apparently changed his name from "Mallard" because it reminded people of a duck; Jian dissed the crowd for knowing nothing about our own presidents).

The odd thing was that the crowd seemed to be largely unfamiliar with their work, or at least with a live show: they were, for example, laughing at all the gently funny bits of Gulf War Song. I forget that the lines *are* funny, because I think of it as such a serious song, until I'm hearing it in the context of someone who isn't expecting "Fighters for Texaco." And it was clearly not a northeastern liberal audience; they clapped for Mr. Cheese voting Republican. And yet, they totally "got" it--everything from the incredible musicality of Nuits de Reve (wild cheers) to the environmental message (buried within the hilarity) of Marion Fruvous to the beauty of I Will Hold On. They were clapping along enthusiastically with MBLABOA, dead silent for Fly, cheering and screaming during Love Potion and Michigan Militia. And the standing ovation was like a tsunami, spontaneous and immediate: no one was watching the rest of the audience to see if everyone else approved. There were actually two standing ovations, the second after Gulf War Song.

But Saturday's, for all that when I left, I wasn't winded and exhausted, was actually one of the more powerful shows I've seen them do. Kudos, guys. Once again, you've proved that you never fail to make it worth my while to see you, no matter where you're playing.

From Trace:

Anyhow, on to NKU!

I'm just going to dive in with the *awesome* setlist and get it over with even though Jordan already posted it.

Message: (absolutely beautiful as usual)


Video: (Ok, the recent Mondegreens thread concerning panned vs banned in Video made it onstage. Jian *clearly* enunciated the line as "...maybe something BANNED, maybe something formerly BANNED." I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. When I asked him about it later, he said again that it is "banned" in both places. I don't know why it says "panned" in the liner, maybe that "Jean guy" made a mistake in the liner )

PTT: (an hysterical false start as they broke up laughing at the beginning)

Johnny Saucep'n: (fast as usual)

Spidey: (off-mike with ALL of them running around in the audience. Mike gives a kid in the audience what I believe was a piece of candy *awww*)

Pisco: (I just love this song!)

I Will Hold On: (Gorgeous)

Boo Time:

Mistra: (Yay! The guys made up for the miss in Bloomington! It sounded great and I just LOVE Murray's solo)

Kids Song: (Mike was HILARIOUS, hunched over with his hands on his legs. "Captain Kirk, I want you to look at my legs." The others joined in the fun as well)

Raja: (after extremely funny banter about a certain dead president, "Groger" Cleveland, and the"Canadian Rock")

Marion: (Wow! I've never heard this played before and I LOVED it! This show was really turning into something special)

Nuits: (I was in an ecstatic state of shock. They followed Marion with Nuits! This song just gives me chills. I was surprised to hear it at a show with so many people in attendance who were not really familiar with Fruvous, but from what I saw, the audience seemed to really appreciate it. I know I did! Thank you Mike!)

Authors: (a real crowd pleaser)

Michy: (again, brought the house down)

Fly: (This had to be the most beautiful version I've ever heard. The sound was great and the crowd was quiet. It took my breath away)

Green Eggs and Ham - Full Version: (I didn't think the night could get any better, but then it did! I'd never seen the full version before, and this just made the night take on a dream-like quality for me. I also thought the change of pace/tone from Fly to GE&H worked well)

Love Potion Medley: (After which the sit-down crowd gave them a standing ovation)

Encore: Gulf War Song (Beautiful harmonies to end the show. The crowd loved it, and I'm STILL feeling a post show glow, more than 24 hours later. I can't wait 'til Noho)

And so ends my first attempt at a review. I'd also like to say thanks to Chad for giving me his seat; not every guy would give up a first row seat in order to tape (and yes the show was taped! Woohoo!)

From Chad Maloney:

> Anyhow, on to NKU!

> Video:  (Ok, the recent Mondegreens thread concerning panned vs banned
> in Video made it onstage.  Jian *clearly* enunciated the line as
> "...maybe something  BANNED, maybe something formerly  pause> BANNED."  
> I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.  

I did fall out of my chair laughing or trying not to laugh and biting my

> Spidey:  (off-mike with ALL of them running around in the audience.
> Mike gives a kid in the audience what I believe was a piece of candy
> *awww*)
It was a cookie. They were running all over the place on the aisle between
the lower seats and the upper seats. I was the only person sitting in a
chair in the aisle. Needless to say I was pretty scared, but got away.
I woulda taken that damn cookie, Mike. It would have been nice. I guess
I just wasn't cute enough...

[Dream sequence:

Mike: Spiderman comes today to Northern Kentucky University to seek and
      deliver... to search and destroy... to strew gifts upon the masses.
      Spiderman comes to the middle of the audience to give Chad a cookie!
      Here Chad!
Audience: Awwwwwwww.
Mike: That's right, a cookie laced with lysergic.
Chad: (dies)
Mike: (laughs maniacally and runs off to finish the song)


> Mistra:  (Yay!  The guys made up for the miss in Bloomington! It
> sounded great and I just LOVE Murray's solo)

The solo was really good. He stayed low for most of it and was more
groovy and fit more into the feel of the song. Very nicely done!
> Kids Song:  (Mike was HILARIOUS, hunched over with his hands on his
> legs.  "Captain Kirk, I want you to look at my legs."  The others
> joined in the fun as well)

This was purely hilarious. I was rolling on the ground again biting my
hand. Mike just sat there bouncing back and forth with his hands
on his knees grinning. Murray stared at him for probably 20 seconds and
said "You're Crazy". Jian walked over and so does Dave and they all end
up in a line. Jian says "Hey, that looks like fun" and they all start
doing it. It was great.
> Raja:  (after extremely funny banter about a certain dead president,
> "Groger" Cleveland, and the"Canadian Rock")

Don't forget Millard (accent on the first syllable) Fillmore and the only
black US president Rutherford B. Hayes (where does Mike come up with 
this stuff). 
> Marion:  (Wow! I've never heard this played before and I LOVED it!
> This show was really turning into something special)

This was the point where I knew it was gonna keep getting better
and better. With the large stage, the guys had room to get crazy. 
And the did get crazy, but they also played some special musical
tunes too.
> And so ends my first attempt at a review. I'd also like to say thanks
> to Chad for giving me his seat; not every guy would give up a first
> row seat in order to tape (and yes the show was taped! Woohoo!)

Taping, no. Didn't you hear the guys talking about this on stage? 
Taping is illegal. Very very illegal and no should be doing it. If you
see someone taping, grab their little tape recorder and break it
right then and there.

Well, that's a long post for neither being a full review or a
made-up story. But here, have it anyway...

From Jordan McClure:

But it was Saturday and we were headed to Kentucky! What's the point of feeling great there? We managed to find Greves theater in Highland Heights without too much trouble, despite the fact we forgot to bring directions. Then came the show. The Show.


What a show. From the silent, yet enthusiastic audience to the full Green Eggs and Ham to the false start on Present Tense Tureen to a song about American President Kroeger Cleveland to Nuits de Reve to "You're Crazy" in the Kids' Song to Misstra Know-It-All to Marion Fruvous to perfect renditions of I Will Hold On and Fly to Spiderman and the Gulf War song off mic to the wave of standing ovations at the end, this show is all still a blur to me. It was perfectly Fruvolicious and I can't bring myself to pick it apart.

After the show, a bunch of us (Barb, Sheryl, Chad, Bill, Angel, and random Tennessee people) headed out to Perkins to get some food. Before Saturday, I had only eaten at Perkins twice in my life. Each time, I told myself I would never go back because it was expensive, the food was inferior to Denny's, and the service wasn't great. Saturday wasn't any different. But it mattered not. We were still high from the ultimate Fruvous show and the chatter was great. No alcohol this time, though, we learned our lesson there. After Perkins, everyone not from Tennessee headed to Sheryl's dad's place for some much needed sleep. But did we sleep? No. (Okay, Barb was exhausted from many long nights of work and did). We watched Clerks. We were in a house with a huge big screen TV, a surround sound system, and more movies than your average Blockbuster Video and we watched Clerks. It was great. Clerks was followed up by a healthy dose of 4 a.m. religious programming and cheesy cartoons and just before sunrise, we actually managed to fall asleep.

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