Concert appearance: Tue., 30 July 2002
West End Cultural Centre
Queen Elvis acoustic
The Ghost In You (Psychedelic Furs)
Gene Hackman electric
My Wife and My Dead Wife
Hitchcock Shares His Amusing Universe
by Bartley Kives
Winnipeg Free Press
Wednesday, July 31st, 2002
Even though he's far too amused with the world at large to draw
attention to himself, Robyn Hitchcock treated last night's
performance at the West End Cultural Centre like a career
Playing Winnipeg for the first time since 1994, the eccentric Brit
with the inimitable nasal voice showed an attentive crowd of 200 how
an old folkie like Bob Dylan -- Hitchcock's earliest influence --
inspired the wildly creative mind responsible for seminal new wave
band The Soft Boys and more than two decades of solo material.
Performing alone, Hitchcock played two sets. The first was a purely
acoustic affair featuring a mix of old favourites (including Queen
Elvis, Hitchcock's sardonic take on fame), cover tunes (the expected
Dylan selections plus a surprising show-opening version of The
Psychedelic Furs' Ghost In You) and a fresh tune called Unprotected
Love, a song written for a new Soft Boys album due out in September.
Sometimes nonsensical, occasionally cutting, but always hilarious,
his lyrics are worth the price of admission. During the first set,
they ran the gamut from meditations on the addictive power of cheese
to the sad fate of prehistoric sea creatures who have no say in the
scientific names given to them millions of years after their
Still, the man's meandering, ad-libbed between-song banter actually
threatened to overshadow his songcraft. The first set's off-the-cuff
weirdness included tales about giant Canadian land clams disrupting
traffic in Minneapolis and narcissistic pumpkins who stare at their
During the second set, Hitchcock picked up the electric guitar and
delivered a more sombre and focused performance, largely devoid of
the free-wheeling mirth that characterized the earlier part of the
Nevertheless, he remained mischievous, poking fun at actor Gene
Hackman ("he's in every movie") and reaching back into his two-decade
vault of material for the morbid silliness of My Wife And My Dead
Wife and the sentimentality of Glass Hotel.
The rate of idea bombardment in Hitchcock's brain is truly stunning.
Hopefully it won't be another eight years before he plays Winnipeg
If you have an addition or correction, please send an e-mail message about it to Bayard Catron.
If you ever see an error message or a bad link, please send an e-mail message about that to John Hedges.
Back to Query Page
Back to Main Page