Live Show: 10/29/98


Boston, MA

Reviewed by: Chris O'Malley, Colleen Campbell & Richard

The Details

Thursday night...Boston. I moved here in early September, hadn't since Fruvous since early August, and this was the first time I'd seen a full fru-concert in the Boston area. Perhaps I should just move to each town I intend to see Fruvous at. :-)

Around six in the evening, Zard, Loren, Richard, Vika and I went to grab some light dinner at a nearby vegetarian restaurant. Good miso soup...yummm. Vika's friend Sara joined us there, and afterwards the six of us walked the 15-minute walk down Commonwealth Ave. to the Paradise. A line of people (with and without tickets) had already formed, so we took our rightful place at the end o' the line.

While waiting for doors to open, many of our friends arrived (this weekend it's going to be impossible to list everyone who was there, so I think I'll just stick with the people I hung around with during the show and's that? :-) Jason Reiser and Kathryn showed up, so I entered the Paradise with them once doors opened around eight-ish.

I'd never been to the Paradise before. Kinda strange venue...strange layout...but in the end, I appreciated it. Lots of different vantage points to see the stage from. Jason and I perched on the balcony, near the board, somewhat stage Dave. The hallway that connects the outside door to the main area of the Paradise is freaky to me...looks like something out of a horror movie...tight corridor, low ceilings...

Jess Klein opened and played for about forty minutes. I don't think the audience was really paying attention, which surprised me, since she's apparently quite popular in the Boston area. There was about another forty minutes before Fruvous finally hit the stage (so I guess it was around 10:45 by this point). They played a high-powered :-) Canadian export set (for the most part, fairly standard), including the old fave 'Early Morning Rain'. It was GREAT hearing that live for the first time. I'm starting to really enjoy 'Half as Much' as well...they've definitely polished that song nicely. For the first half of the show, I was on the floor (stage Murray) with Vika, and for the second half we sat down on one of the tiers of tables and chairs (also stage Murray) where ceecee, Richard, AJ, and a bunch of other fruheads were hanging.

Here's what one of the setlists read:

Sad girl
Early Morn
BJ - Potion

After the set, the staff of the Paradise very rudely ushered us towards the door, but we managed to stay near the merch booth, and talk to Fruvous, who came out shortly thereafter. After an hour of chatting, a gaggle of us headed back to FruCasa for MUCH needed sleep (I actually dozed off during Psycho Killer during Fruvous' set, which was VERY scary). We got home around two in the morning, and I finally went to sleep around three.

Great show! :-) This was a perfect prelude to the two amazing Iron Horse shows. I haven't even been to the shows yet, and I'm predicting they'll be amazing. Well, it's the Iron Horse, what do you expect? ;-)

From Colleen Campbell:

Chad has done an excellent job of capturing the Fruvous portion of 10/30 (thank goodness, because I don't have an eidetic memory and would have spent hours coddling my brain, trying to get anything relevant out of it), Dante has given a run-down of the delicacies of the area, I'm sure someone will follow up with a weather report or hotel rating *grin*; all that's left for me is to pan around and do a writeup on the Lifestyles of the Lucky and Insane, a few of the Fruheads who made it to the shows of late October, and my own feelings on having been there for it all.

The weekend started for me on Wednesday night, when Richard made it back to our neck of the woods (he'd been exploring the bellybutton and ingrown toenail of the woods in the last two weeks) for another night at FruCasa. To my surprise, he accepted a massage from me (okay, so y'all might not all be obsessed about things like this, but: the English are the only people in the world with *more* personal space than the Americans, i.e. distance which they generally require to be comfortable with someone else near them), then serenaded me in return with mandolin, one of my favorite instruments. (For those of you who haven't yet been turned on to Billy Bragg, listen to "Everywhere" off the "Don't Try This At Home" album; that says it all.) For the record, Richard came armed with gifts for the hostesses of FruCasa: Vika got cookbooks and I got CDs. Are we that predictable?! Er, well, yeah, we are. . .

Thursday, Loren and Zard joined us (and I got to show the three of them around my workplace, which has to be seen to be believed: how many of y'all get paid to sit around reading in front of a fireplace?), were strangely amenable to going to get baklava nearby (no, really! took very little arm-twisting!), and met me at the The Paradise after I got off work. Also meeting us were, oh, a few dozen other Fruheads, some coworkers, clients, and local friends of mine, etc. This was especially odd for me: a little over a year ago, I'd gone to a Frushow there (with Hamill on Trial opening; what a difference from Jess Klein), been surprised and delighted by how many people I knew in the audience, and decided on that trip north to move to Boston. It never wears off, guys. I've been here nine months and the magic just keeps going. This particular time, I was reveling in the fact that I could walk 15 minutes to get to a Fruvous show, whereas last year I had to fly for hours. (Not that I *did* walk; it was damn cold!) Anyway, I hugely enjoyed dancing and renewing my acquaintance with umpteen people, and I got all squiggly inside just looking at the crowd assembled of (reportedly) 600 people--and knowing that some of them were there because of me. It means a heck of a lot to me, to be able to contribute to Fruvous fan-base now.

The show was excellent. Sadly, it's been eclipsed by the two subsequent shows, so I can't do it justice; if I'd seen it on its own, I wouldn't give it such short shrift. It started off with "Sahara" (not the extended jam, just going straight into it), followed by "Laika" (which I enjoy but which makes my fingernails itch to hear the "Bargainville Tour era" version, slow and swinging). I believe "Half as Much" came next, which I'm sad to say is the only one of the new tunes which really hasn't grabbed me at all, even with repeated listenings; my attention wanders. After that, of course, they started frolicking musically: Dave commented that the Paradise really is, well, paradise (and of course got some smart-ass rejoinders from the others) and they played a tribute to it in the form of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," done in ska form (because Fruvous is always behind-the-times and the intend to release a ska album next year, after it's no longer trendy).

After that I'm a bit lost. High points: "Pisco Bandito" elicited screams from me that heralded just how badly I'd be treating my vocal cords for the weekend: I might as well pour carbolic acid on them and have done with it. (I teased Murray on Saturday that I knew it was all a conspiracy, an attempt to get me to scream, personally, so that I'd destroy my voice and sing an octave lower--just so I'd be able to sing *his* parts.) The GE&H "Not the Beatles!" part was, I believe, the longest I've ever heard, but for the life of me I can't remember what they went off on; a tangent leading them halfway to Jakarta and back, basically! The "drama class" interrogatory-sentences stuff, including Mike suggesting they visualize beating up Murray Foster. "Kids' Song" was delightful but, sadly, the mics really went out on that one, to the extent that Dave spoke gibberish-mock-static into his at one point rather than singing his line. And Murray told a story about a "visitation" that afternoon he'd had, assuring us that he's a skeptic: he was lying in bed--(screams from the audience); "alone!" he amended--and heard a few steps in the room. Mike told him that he (Mike) had sent his ghost to the room to use the can, but that Murray's ghost had been in the bathroom, so those few steps Murray had heard were Mike's ghost going to pee in a bottle instead. Someone said that sounded like a bit of an anti-climactic story, and they talked about how all ghost stories would be that way in the future: Dave said, ". . .and then they opened the door, and it was the janitor. Normal janitor, with all five fingers and toes." It took a second, and then the audience howled. "That would be a scary story!" Fruvous concluded. "Janitor with five fingers and toes." Mike also commented on the words "in re," i.e. "in regards to," and said how, being raised Catholic (hope I'm getting this right) he noticed that Christ had a sign over him as he was being crucified, "In ri." "Yeah," snapped Mike, "In re this crown of thorns, dad! In re the vinegar soaked sponge! Getting the point!?"

When Jian stepped away from the drums and Mike took up the harmonica, I blithely assumed "Fly," just as blithely ignoring the fact that Mike wasn't putting the harp into one of those doohickeys that looks like headgear so he could play the drums too, and blithely ignoring the fact that Jian's political speech wasn't the one normally leading up to "Fly." He railed against Clinton, saying we shouldn't impeach him for the Monica thing (applause)--but that we *should* impeach him for the fact that he's misrepresented himself as a liberal (more applause), including signing a bill to increase revenues going to the military by $8 billion, just what we need, right? Sadly, a couple of whoops and claps for that, too, which Jian ignored as he went into a beautiful, heartfelt version of "Stuck in the 90's" (with the line about "Sounds like more George Patacki"). It's been far too long since I've heard it, and I hadn't realized how much I missed it; used to be one of my favorites, when sincerely sung.

The most wonderful moment of the show for me, though, was hearing their gorgeous arrangement of "Early Morning Rain." Is it just me, or are we being especially priviledged lately to hear such gems from their early career? "Road Runner Song" came out recently, and "Marion Fruvous" has turned up a couple of times. I'm totally all for it. But "Early Morning Rain" was a stunning song that I would have welcomed no matter how many times I'd heard it: the pathos to it, the imagery, the poignance. Inspired me, all by itself, to go back and start digging around in earlier folk music, to find another such "bijou."

After that, the Paradise staff impressed me by vaulting into first place as rudest bouncers I've ever encountered. They threw us out, even those patently and patiently waiting for Fruvous to come out for a visit. I left after enduring my share of rudeness; found out later that the lads *had* made an appearance, but ah well. I'm told that Jian especially was glad to be out, to meet Richard (who will gracefully refrain from tooting his own horn), almost inarticulate with pleasure in saying, "I'm such a fan of your posts!"

From Richard:

Okay so I thought I'd settled back into normality again. Then I read cee and Chad's reviews and I'm 3500 miles away from my desk again. So I'll give up the pretence of doing any work, put Ani Difranco on the CD player and regail you all with my memories.

To me music is never without context, memory and associations. So I'll try and explain some of the emotions that were flooding about my head last weekend. This may finish up sounding very ego-centric. Its not meant to. Or maybe it is. I wouldn't write it out if I didn't want you all to listen to me I suppose.

Firstly, a completely fictionalised account of my travels in the Canadian rockies, New England and upstate New York is currently being written up and will appear with photos on the web shortly. So I'll not bother you with that, other than to give credit where credit is due: Laurie, Susan and Amy who showed me around Buffalo and Nancy and family who fed me and let me sleep in their spare bed, even after I'd played mandolin at them. Thank you! On the other hand I'd just like to say fk off to that miserable witch at Calgary airport customs who made me feel really welcome after travelling for 22 hours. Grr.

Right, so here's the thing. I set out to go to a continent I'd never visited before to meet people I'd never met before. Most things you plan to do in life you have a feeling for what its going to be like, before you do it. Not so this trip. I was never much of a traveller; too poverty stricken as a student and too much of a cowerd. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. From meeting you all to driving on the right hand side of the road, it was all going to be completely new. Actually it wasn't as much of leap in the dark as it might have been. Laurie and Craig had toured round Britain earlier this summer and we'd met up in London. It was strange to realise I'd only ever *read* words like `cee' and `Zard' and had never heard them *spoken* until talking to Laurie and Craig. I rang up my mum and said `I'm off to America for three weeks, visiting people I've not met before.' and being my mum she said `Oh alright then dear, ring us when you get back.' I then rang a University friend Phil who said `You're doing WHAT? Are you mad? You'll be murdered without a doubt.' Phil was always my surrogate mother. I set out on a Monday morning, shut my front door, said `Can't believe I'm doing this.' Three weeks later I retuned, shut the door and said `Can't believe I just did that.'

Okay, so the associations I hold for Fruvous: I first came across Fruvous four years ago when I was doing a PhD and arseing about doing some music journalism in my spare time. This was not a happy time in my life for a million nasty reasons that I'll not drag out of my subconcious now. Bargainville and Wood shone out of the pretentious, talentless Brit-pop bollocks that I had to wade through as a music journalist. And those albums and the Fruvous gigs I saw at the time stood out as things I could point at afterwards and say `That was good. I enjoyed that in spite of what was going on in the rest of my life.' In particular I remember standing at the bar in the Old Vic in Nottingham, listening to Stuck in the 90s and it hit me that in fact soon *I'd* be 30. I'd always known that soon I'd be 30, but that was the first time that I'd felt it and believed it and begun to face it. There are albums that I associate with that time that I just can't listen to now, but once I escaped the twin evils of PhD and music journalism and moved to London I made a special effort to reclaim Bargainville and Wood as good-time albums and associate them with the new improved happy-Richard-life that I found in London.

Stood in the Paradise in Boston I suddenly realised that although I'd reclaimed the albums I'd not reclaimed a Fruvous live show. So what had changed in three years? Er, less hair on stage for one thing, but the humour, the joi-de-vivre was still there as was the honesty. As Jian went into political rant before Stuck in the 90s you knew that was heartfelt, and you knew it was true. That what is going on with the Starr inquiry is a revolting travesty as is Clinton's shallow pretense at liberalism. But who bothers to say this in the press? All too fascinated by cigars apparently. And the music! Utterly tight and confident inspite of the tech problems that night. They make it look soooo easy. And anyone who has grasped a musical instrument and stood in front of a room full of expectant faces will tell you, its not easy. Its very scary. And you can dance to it too! And laugh, and think, and cry which I think just about everyone I spoke to had finished up doing by the end of the weekend. What more can you ask of four blokes and some musical instruments?

But in the Paradise I realised that PhD memories were being triggered by the show, especially Green Eggs and Ham which I'd not heard for years. An irritable bad mood floated about my head inspite of everything. That's what spending three years of your life writing a PhD thesis in a shed in a car park can do for you. Anyway... The Drinking Song: suddenly I found myself grabbed from all sides, arms around me happily swaying and singing. Didn't expect that. When I saw them in Britain we all happily chorused along, but arms around complete strangers? Never. Its Against The Law. We would Rather Die. Flame proof suit on to mention that actually until Thursday I'd never much rated The Drinking Song. Now I know why you all love it, and I do too. :)

Cee seems to think for some strange reason that I'm too graceful to mention the after show events. Which I am. But what an ego boost. :)

So we trooped back to Frucasa for the aftershow post mortem. Chris O pointed out lots of technical thingies that had gone wrong which I never even noticed. My only comment as I battled with exhaustion and that PhD mood was that the show was `superb', which caused much amusement. Not sure why. Cee, bless her, seemed to take vast amusement whenever I uttered a word that was remotely gutteral. A comedian I saw once said she was heckled by Americans, she rejoined with some anti-American comment and they shouted `Don't pAYTronize us.' `No, actually that's pATronise in English.' she said. If cee ever does get over here my linguistic revenge will be terrible to behold, I can tell you.

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