Live Show: 11/6/99


Cincinnati, OH

Reviewed by: Amanda, Josh & Lawrence

The Details

If the Chambana show on Friday left me asking myself why I travel so far and so often to see Fruvous, the Cincinatti show on Saturday provided that answer.

Just like the previous night, the Cutters opened; just like the previous night they sounded like some cheesy 80s flashback. I would have appreciated them if they had been background noise in a bar, I think.

Just like the previous night, glancing around the stage it was hard not to spot the dumbek and chair, but unlike Friday in Chambana, the lights went down and a buzzing sound came up, then Jian and Murray, then Dave, finally Mike. Extended Sahara. Mmmmmm. very nice. The crowd was very into it.

I hadn't heard it in a while, and honestly I'd forgotten what a treat it is. Dave had a nice guitar solo, Mur and Jian set up the intro beautifully, Mike did a wonderful job on the vocal.

Splatter just keeps developing, sounding more and more solid. I hardly recognize it from the first time I heard it last winter. Mike's vocal was very cool, almost spoken-word on the verses.

Jian did a screwy intro to Medicine show, I honestly don't recall. I like the song, always fun. Has this always been an accordion song, or am I just Everybody participated in the Moon intro. Murray mentioned that he liked disposable things, then Jian started talking about aerosol cheese. Dave took the cheese thing one step further down the primrose path when he revealed that they had sprayed it all over Mike's back and licked it off. Amazingly, the Easy Cheese also functions as a hair remover, if Dave is to be believed. (Heeee.)

The energy level on stage was high, and the guys were a pleasure to watch. Bogart's was packed with people who were really psyched to see; it's located on the main drag of the University of Cincinatti, which also included a tattoo parlor, a Rock and Roll laundromat, several divey restaurants and a Subway, which Jian mentioned at one point. "Not that I would buy anything there, because it's a chain." We all laughed. He said the difference is that in Canada, the minimum wage folks behind the counter knew the name Moxy Fruvous.

I don't have much to say about the three songs from Thornhill except that they sound like they do on the album, more or less. IWHO and If Only right together might have been an energy killer, but it worked. I can't say that I understand going from IWHO into Lazy Boy, but that's just me. At the time it didn't strike me as strange.

It was about this time when somebody in the front tossed a frizzy black wig on stage. Dave picked it up, laughed, and draped it over his mic stand. He was quite late getting his bowler hat on, but he wailed on the keyboards in Boo Time, absolutely matching the energy of Mike's vocal. The scatting at the end was nice, too.

OK, The "sometimes a guy just wants to dance" intro to Video Bargainville is tired tired tired. When members of the audience are repeating it with you, it's time to find something new. Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy the song. Generally Murray goes off on some kind of riff near the end; tonight, Dave and Mike joined in and I really thought they were going to go off into some kind of disco jam, but Jian started in on the last vocal bit. Oh well.

And then Jian and Mike disappeared; Murray reached for a hat and a guitar; Dave picked up the banjo. Huh? There's no banjo in Bittersweet. It took me about two seconds to realize we were going on a hunt. "My buddy Tex has a story to tell," says Dave.

"Actually, my name's Billy Joe-Bob McBride," Mur mumbled as he started strumming. Pork Tenderloin was punched up with banjo and harmonies on the chorus, it was so much fun. Murray kept his face in character the whole time, and I was very impressed.

After that surprise, I had no idea what to expect when Jian and Mike came out, each with an acoustic guitar. Jian did the intro, talked about the Harris government and the struggle in Ontario to maintain some semblance of normal life under his regime. Today's the Day with two guitars seemed very much to fall into the protest tradition, and served as an excellent intro to King of Spain. There were several great moments in King: "unspeakable wife Queen Lisa" with Dave turning around in circles crooning "flashback, flashback;" Mike's "I am a porpoise!" The crowd was hopping up and down, and for once, I wasn't sorry to hear King.

When Dave headed for the banjo and Jian started talking about Thornhill, I was really expecting Earthquakes. Tureen was a bit of a letdown for a second, but that was OK.

The musical highlight of the show for me was the imprompteau a capella rendition of the Hockey Night in Canada theme. It seemed very much as if they were putting it together as they went along. Mike started, Jian and Murray joined in, then Dave. Wow. Fruvous doesn't really jam that much, but this was incredible. It wouldn't surprise me to find that they'd used that as a warm-up at some point.

Personal weird moment during Fly, I realized that I once had a breakup in an amusement park. I'm not sure why I chose Cincinatti as the place to remember that, but I did. It didn't make me sad, I just thought it was ironic, and strange that I had forgotten about it.

By this point in the show, we were all just grooving. They could have played anything, and I think we would have been happy. Well, I would. When they launched into Nuits, it made a show that couldn't get any better...better! I glanced at Dave's guitar while he was playing the solo. He shifted slightly so the light caught the metal and reflected through his fingers as he played.

It was one of those transcendent moments; they don't come very often, but when they do, I know why I'm there. That feeling carried me through the end of the show, a hysterical rendition of Gord's Gold including Mike, as Gord, announcing that a white Toyota Tercel had left its lights on.

They ended the last encore with Costello's Alison, which I'd never seen live before. Mike does a nice job on the vocals, and I like the rendition quite a bit. Sometime I'd like to see the guys do all their Costello songs, since they each sing lead on one.

After it was over, I stood out in the audience, awash in a sea of cheers and applause. The sounds rang in my head and I couldn't find anything to do but smile.

Really nice show, I'm so glad I made the trip.

From Josh:

I promise that this show *actually* happened.

Extended Sahara
Splatter Splatter
Incredible Medicine Show
You Will Go To The Moon
Half As Much
If Only
I Will Hold On
Lazy Boy
Boo Time
Disco Bargainville
Pork Tenderloin (Murr on gtr/lead, Dave on banjo/harmony)
Today's The Day (Mike on gtr/lead, Jian on gtr/harmony)
King Of Spain
Present Tense Tureen
Hockey Night In Canada
Nuits De Reve
River Valley
Get In The Car
Psycho Killer

Encore 1:
Billie Jian
Michigan Militia

Encore 2:
Gord's Gold (full band jam at end)

From Lawrence:

Well, I just got back from Charleston[1], and now that I'm at my computer again, I can post my thoughts about the amazing show in Cincinnati...

I got to Cincinnati insanely early. And as a side note, I find it a little odd that the taste I'm getting for most cities I've been in recently is only of the places where the clubs are, which isn't at all the whole city. So when people ask me "Oh, you've been to Cincinnati, what was it like?" I get to say "Well, the few streets I saw seemed pretty nice..." :)

Bogarts is quite a large venue. Maybe it's just that the floor is considerably larger than some that I've seen, but they don't have a balcony, so it probably balances out. I didn't really expect the floor to be much more than half full. I was wrong, which is a good thing. :)

Another plus about Bogarts - I don't know about alcoholic drinks, but non-alcoholic ones are very large and relatively inexpensive. I got something about four times the size of what I got in Columbus for about half the price.

Oh yeah, and Früvous were there, too... unfortunately, there was an opening act before them. I wouldn't call them "bad," because they really weren't, but they were *much* too loud. Very non-typical Früvous opener.

Since the setlist was already posted, I'll just give my highlights...

So after about a half hour, they stopped and we waited. and waited. and waited. Früvous finally came out around 9:45 with the Extended Sahara, which I haven't seen since February, and was quite a nice change of pace from the last several shows I'd seen which mostly started with Half as Much. :)

Lots of interesting banter very early in the set, including, to my amazement, a fairly obscure TMBG "quote" ("this band is not grinning scarecrows... here to... torture you..." or something to that effect) and Jian making comments about the treatment of brown guys (and a few other "drinks" - I think if we'd actually been playing the drinking game, we'd all have passed out after two songs - but no one broke any strings for the whole show :)

Lazy Boy started with a (perhaps unintentional?) tease for Jenny Washington - Mike at the congas talking about a "talk show host." But they did Lazy Boy as planned, and there was a lot of clapping from the audience during the clapping part...

Disco Bargainville... two false starts... first time, some heckler shouted out "FOUR!!!" after everyone else said a "TWO!" the Jian seemed fairly impressed with. But after the "FOUR!" inserted in the silence, Mike started over. The second time, there was no heckling, but during the pause between the "TWO!" and the "at Video..." the audience decided to fill in, and started to sing it. So Jian motioned to Mike to start over once again. They got through the intro that time, and the last line of the song was "No no no Raja, at Video Bargainville!"

When Mike and Jian left the stage I knew something cool was about to happen. And we were treated to a duo version of Pork Tenderloin (I don't know if this is the "standard" now - last time I saw it was just Murray) with Dave on banjo and backing vocals.

Then they went backstage while Jian and Mike came out and, in a bit more political a moment, described the horror of the policies of people like Mike Harris[2] (yet another tease - but they can't do Big Fish with only half the band, I guess) and played Today's the Day that We Fight Back, which I'd never heard at all before, and I thought the guitar parts were really cool...

Then came King of Spain and the Wood portion of the show, where they did Present Tense Tureen, Fly, and Nuits de Reve, which I enjoyed immensely.

First encore started with the Billie Jean medley, which I didn't recognize, because, well, I've never heard that one, either (and I didn't recognize the songs anyway - forgive me, I seem to have missed that bit of the music world)

And for the second encore, Mike was absent, and Jian began introducing a guest... my first reaction was to think "Oh, Dancing Queen... but wait, they've already done one medley..." The guest was not, in fact, Lou Reed, but was Gord, who, after forgetting a pick, announcing that there was a car with its lights on, and false starting a couple of times, played a nice rendition of Gord's Gold, and was joined by the rest of the band at the end.

And they closed with Elvis Costello's Alison, another that I'd never heard before (at all - yes, I'm really out of it when it comes to a lot of music, and yes, I really should change that)

Overall, totally amazing show. I keep thinking that I go to so many shows that eventually it will get repetitive, but there's always something new, or, in this case, about 5 somethings new... :)

[1] I'll post a review of that separately

[2] sorry, I know basically nothing of Canadian politics, other than that this Mike Harris guy is really awful, at least according to Früvous.

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 1999 page