Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

The Soft Boys
Concert appearance: Wed., 29 Jan. 2003

Boat Race
Cambridge, England UK

Set list:

I Love Lucy
I Got The Hots
Bells Of Rhymney (Pete Seeger/Idris Davies)
Kingdom Of Love
Queen Of Eyes
My Mind is Connectedů
Insanely Jealous
Vegetable Man (Syd Barrett)
The Man With The Lightbulb Head
Mr. Kennedy
Sudden Town
(I Want To Be An) Anglepoise Lamp "Seven Winged Bat" version
Underwater Moonlight
Encore: Om
Encore: Hear My Brane
Encore: He's A Reptile
Encore: Pulse Of My Heart
Encore: Rock 'n' Roll Toilet
Encore: Face Of Death

So everyone should have the setlist and pics by now. By the way, as Nige pointed out to some that was Robyn's encore shirt. The first one was indeed very floral. If any of you have seen those bold Victorian wallpaper designs with aspidistra's and the such like all over them, you'll get the picture. Robyn did apologise on his return for the crayon shirt. He commented on it being a very old one that he hadn't worn before, so I got the impression he was a little embarrassed about it too (I guess at 50 you gotta tone it down a little). But it does get hot up on that stage and RH seemed to suffer the most. If you look closely at Morris's t-shirt, it reads I Love Lucy. One guy gave Nige the eyeball, confusing his digital camera for a minidisc recorder. However, if anyone hears of a recording of the show, I'd love to get my hands on a copy.

During the support band's slot - who are definitely NOT the Violent Femmes' younger brothers as someone suggested recently - we were up at the bar for some of the time, and I noticed a small elfish little guy with grey puddng bowl hair wander up with a female companion, and was gradually joined by some other friends (one assumes long term friends from Cambridge) and Morris. A little while later we were standing next to each other waiting to buy drinks, and I asked him if there were any plans to do any Syd/Pink Floyd songs tonight due to the Cambridge connection. He replied to say that they were planning to do Vegetable Man and would take it from there. Another guy waiting at the bar then asked about Astronomy Domine but unfortunately it wasn't to materialise. I also asked how the UK tour was going and he said it was going well. At this point I was about to be served and I offered to buy him a beer, but he politely declined, answering that he was buying quite a big round anyway. So that was about it, and all in English, Mark. No gnomish or elfish to be heard. Someone else also mentioned to him that they'd heard the recent radio sesh (I assume the WFMU one) and that they were very impressed.

This is only my second SB show - the first during the 2001 comeback tour also in Cambridge - and Nige's first. Glad you decided to come along, Nige. It was good to meet up after all this time. Second time I managed to snag a setlist too. I was standing right in front of RH, with a couple of guys just in front of me, and the one setlist was just in front of the monitor. The Boat Race is quite a small venue - basically a pub with the bar at one end, the stage at the other, and floor space in between. A nice little intimate setting. So after the encore I had to lean forward past the guys in front to reach it, and the guy to my left also decided to make a grab. Apologies for the little shove, but Mark did ask me to get it ;) Honestly, I felt a little guilty for a little while because he looked a little put out, and it was definitely out of character for me. But the choice of songs was good, and a little different from the previous UK date setlists I saw.

Main set -

I Love Lucy
I Got The Hots - RH said it was written about a Cambridge guy who they called Hots, so of it wasn't for him there wouldn't have been the song....
Bells Of Rhymney - I was personally pleased they played this, and it was a good rendition including those harmonies
Kingdom Of Love
Queen Of Eyes
My Mind Is Connected To Your Deams
Insanely Jealous
Vegetable Man - RH did a shout for Syd, asking if he was still around. Someone said they'd seen him in the park recently, but he wasn't around tonght
The Man With The Lightbulb Head - RH said about this song "Written by me in a Syd Barret stylee", and at the end he quipped "if it wasn't for the Soft Boys there would be no Syd Barret" to laughter from the audience. You know, I'd not linked this song to being Barret-esque. I'd have said something like Hots or Face Of Death would be more so.
Mr.Kennedy - the main reason Nige, and my mate Chris, came along was the mp3 they got to hear of this song. And to these ears it sounded note perfect. This was the first of the new songs I got to hear at the 2001 show too.
Sudden Town - not owning NDL yet I didn't know this one, but I like it a lot. RH said it was written about how places can change, and likened it to the area of Cambridge we were in, where the whole area behind the pub had been flattened to build a new mall (The Grafton Centre), and the pub we were in had previously been called something different too.
Anglepoise Lamp - RH mentioned this song was now known as "Seven Winged Bat" but that we all might have known it as something else. He did sing Anglepoise right at the end. Would the squiggle on the setlist next to Anglepoise be his depiiction of this bat ?
Underwater Moonlight - RH had made some comments during the show about how we were living again in trying time, and this song was the one that allowed him to vent his feelings a little more directly. You know how he uses the end of the song to go off on a vocal meander, well this was (as close as I can remember) the content of those meanders tonight:-

"George Walker Bush, you have been summoned to this court to face charges of crimes against the environment. How do you plead ?
George Walker Bush, you have been summoned to this court to face charges of crimes against the economy. How do you plead ?
George Walker Bush, you have been summoned to this court to face charges of crimes against humanity.
George Walker Bush. You're a fucking wanker !!"

and with that they exited stage left. There was also reference during the set about another part of Cambridge called Mitchum's Corner, and how Alistair Sims used to sit there alone with a torch under his chin scaring himself. But I can't remember which song. He also asked if anyone hadn't heard of this place. I didn't own up, but my bro-in-law who was also there knew of the place.

Now this is where somebody may be able to correct me. The bottom of the setlist contains a list of songs from which to choose from for the encore. They did six in total (including one not on the list), but I'm struggling to remember the correct order, so here's my guess....

Om - Didn't know this one either, but RH introduced it as a "tantric yogic meditation" or something like that, performed in the style of Madness. Sure it enough it had a type of ska feel to it.
Hear My Brane - RH mentioned this song came from their first EP.
He's A Reptile
Pulse Of My Heart
Rock'N'Roll Toilet
Face Of Death - RH mentioned it was written about one of the old characters of Cambridge who used to roam the streets. Not Harold, but The Face as he was known.

Talk soon,
Rick F

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