Concert appearance: Wed., 24 July 2002
The Horseshoe Tavern
This Could Be the Day
I Got the Hots
A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs
Not Dark Yet (Bob Dylan)
4th Time Around (Bob Dylan)
The Speed of Things
De Chirico Street
I Feel Beautiful
Encore: Creeped Out
Encore: Arms of Love
Encore: Visions of Johanna (Bob Dylan)
Well.. there were about 200+ people in the place, not
all of them were there to see Robyn. There were a
bunch of rowdy drunkards near the bar, but Robyn
ignored them. He had an eclectic shrit with a
polynesian flair to it. He did the following:
1) This could be the day
2) Queen Elvis
3) I've Got The Hots For You (referenced as the
"Phantom Song on the Soft Boys Album")
4) A Man's got to know... (funny ass intro, explaining
the movie and all)
5) It's Not Dark Yet (Dylan)
6) Unprotected Love (New SB album)
8) I Don't Ask For Much (Dylan) not sure of the
9) Cynthia Mask
10) The Speed of things
11) Trilobyte (nice intro)
12) Dechirico Street
13) I Feel Beautiful
15) Creeped out american girl (Behind your eyes) (?)
assume it is a new SB song....
16) Arms of Love (at the drunken request of rabble
rousers at the bar)
17) Visions of Johanna (Dylan) dedicated to Michi
He was in a good mood and joked a LOT about the pope
and the Rolling Stones both being in Toronto at the
same time. I thought he would have played "If you
were a priest" but perhaps he will next time. the
announcer stated Robyn and the SB will be in NYC for 3
nights, so tour dates must be floating around out
> There were a bunch of rowdy drunkards near the bar
they weren't *that* rowdy; guess you've never been to a UK gig, then...
> 10) The Speed of things
> 11) Trilobyte (nice intro)
I think this is the first time I've heard him play these live. Fabby.
They're two of my three favourite Robyn songs; the third is below.
> 16) Arms of Love (at the drunken request of rabble
> rousers at the bar)
but beautifully played. In a parallel universe, that song got used
instead of Celine Dion's in "Titanic".
> He was in a good mood
and on good form. It was all acoustic; I kept expecting the change to
the blue electric, but it never happened.
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Robyn's Soft side
By MIKE BELL -- Calgary Sun
On Tuesday, two notable figures landed in Canada -- both in Toronto
One is the head of the Roman Catholic Church; the other, British
singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock.
"That's why I'm here," jokes Hitchcock, who's sitting in his T.O. hotel room
staring outside at the passing transit vehicles.
"My work is never done as a representative of the other side. I mean, a lot
of the other sides."
Nor, too, does it appear his work as one of the world's most unique
(eccentric? To-may-toe, to-mah-toe) and original pop artists will be winding
down any time soon.
At the age of 49, the wry Hitchcock, who plays the folk fest main stage
tonight as well as workshops today and tomorrow, is currently playing a
handful of dates in order to support his latest release Robyn Sings.
Unlike past solo albums such as Fegmania!, Globe of Frogs, or Perspex
Island, his latest is a two CD collection of Bob Dylan covers, including one
disc that is a re-enactment of Dylan's infamous Albert Hall concert.
The reason for the project is simple.
"I grew out of Dylan," Hitchcock says.
"I wouldn't have been a singer or a songwriter if it wasn't for Dylan, I
would have been a poet or a comedian or a painter or a novelist or
"In a way, it's like the Soft Boys -- I'm checking in with my origins,
completing the spiral."
The Soft Boys to which he refers is his influential late-'70s cult band
which reunited last year for several shows to celebrate the re-release of
its quintessential album, Underwater Moonlight.
"It was interesting to see where time had left us all relative to each other
after 20 years," Hitchcock says of the reunion.
"It seemed to leave us within reach of each other. We'd all been cast up
pretty close on the same beach ..."
So much so that, two decades after first splitting up, the quartet is set
for the September release of a new studio album, Nextdoorland.
Although Hitchcock does think the album should wrap things up for the Boys,
he says he has enjoyed the new experience.
"There's been very few flashbacks. People are all recognizably what they
were, but it isn't exactly the same thing. I feel very different internally,
and I look pretty different externally. I guess we're all the same height
... but I think between us we've gained the weight of an extra person," he
"I wisely foresaw that in Edinburgh in 1980 when we were all sharing a hotel
"They rang up and said, 'How many will be down to breakfast?' and I said
'There's five of us.' And she said, 'I thought there were only four
gentlemen in there?' I said, 'Yeah, one of us has had a baby.'
"And I was so right, we have. And our baby is called Our Collective Weight
Friday, July 26, 2002
The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
TORONTO - There's something to be said for concerts that go off without
hitches or glitches, where months of blood, toil, tears and sweat have honed
performances to marvels of precision. On the other hand, after one too many
of these, it can be refreshing to wander into a club where neither the
audience nor the artists really know what to expect.
At a gig by Robyn Hitchcock, for instance, it's hard to predict anything
other than that you'll be entertained. He's a greatly talented songwriter,
as well as a surrealist stand-up comic whose between-song banter can find
him extemporizing about the Pope, the Rolling Stones, trilobites, the Dirty
Harry vehicle Magnum Force or reading E. Annie Proulx in the bath with the
"It's great to still exist," Hitchcock tells the crowd at the Horseshoe as
he takes up his acoustic guitar and straps a harmonica holder around his
neck. His floppy hair may have gone grey, but at 49, he's a little young to
be giving thanks for longevity.
His fans, however, are thankful they know of his continued existence: Like
some kind of alt-pop shaman, you have to seek him out. For a short time in
the late '80s and early '90s, he was on a major label. But despite hum-along
hooks, expensive pop production and guest appearances by REM's Peter Buck
and Michael Stipe, Hitchcock's songs about Perspex, moss and exploding
balloon men -- delivered with a distinctive middle-class London accent --
somehow failed to find a wide audience.
The Horseshoe audience is also somewhat small, but the intimate setting is
perfect for his between-song ramblings, and Hitchcock is a versatile enough
guitarist and singer to keep an audience enthralled, carrying off heartfelt
Dylan covers and his own compositions -- be they folk, rock or grotesque
novelty numbers -- with panache.
Oddly enough, his best material tends to be the dreamier fare, like the
gentle new number I Feel Beautiful Because You Love Me, which Hitchcock
acknowledges has "a pretty unambiguous message." Nonetheless, it does
contain the lines "I wake up in the morning and I face the East / I am in
the paws of an enormous beast." Sublimely ridiculous.
The Globe & Mail
Saturday 27 July
Hitchcock knockin' on Dylan's door
At the Horseshoe Tavern
in Toronto on Wednesday
Reviewed by Bill Reynolds
English Singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock began his Toronto performance
ridiculing the Pope, but ended making music just like a Dylan. The
flesh of John Paul may have been available for the fawning, but at the
Horseshoe Tavern on Wednesday the spirit of Bob was more inspiring.
Hitchcock pointed out both the Pope and the Rolling Stones were in
town, and both set out to accomplish the same goal -- give people
something to believe in. The same could be said for the mischievous
songwriter with a twisted sense of humour, although belief in His
Bobness was paramount this night. He stands, looking like a Greenwich
Village folksinger (well, except for the extraordinarily gaudy shirt),
with his acoustic guitar and harmonica rack. He sports full reverence
and awe for the man whose songs convinced him to join ``Dylan's
academy of philosopher-kings'' so many years ago.
Hitchcock has often been called eccentric, but he's more like an
His crisp and precise elocution, his superb sense of comic timing, his
odd tales of love and lust are brought into sharp focus without a
rhythm section or solid-body guitar.
When the acoustic strum borders on tedium, Hitchcock lets loose a
standup comedy routine on the pretext of introducing material. Among
numerous originals, he performed three renditions from his latest CD, a
double album of Bob tunes called `Robyn Sings'. His take on `Not Dark
Yet' got inside the song's deep-felt angst over aging, and the
accompanying exhaustion with human moral frailty.
Hitchcock self-mockingly noted that there is a small guy with curly
hair lurking inside him, but it's clear he graduated magna cum laude
from the Dylan academy many years ago.
(Robyn Hitchcock performs at the Calgary Folk Festival today and
tomorrow and the West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg on Tuesday.)
Special to The Globe and Mail.
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