Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock
Concert appearance: Mon., 17 Nov. 2003

Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, California US

Set list:

I'm Only You
I Got The Hots
Balloon Man
Madonna of the Wasps
Glass Hotel
You Remind Me Of You
No, I Don't Remember Guildford
Uncorrected Personality Traits
Keep Finding Me
The Sound Of Sound
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask
Devil's Coachman
Queen Elvis
DeChirico St.
I Feel Beautiful
Encore: The Speed Of Things
Encore: Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees)
Encore: I Saw Nick Drake

recording archived at

from Mike K.:

A strong show. Robyn seemed to be in an ebullient mood, and earlier on in
the set most songs were prefaced by a lengthy (and occasionally relevant)
discourse, although towards the end he chatted slightly less and focused
more on the music. His playing was in excellent form all night, with tasty
guitar work throughout the set. The audience seemed pretty chipper as well,
with frequent shouted requests between songs and occasional interaction
between Robyn and voices from the gallery.

A piece of luck for me personally, me & my friends arrived at about 8:45 or
so, shortly before Robyn took the stage. The Great American had put all the
dinner tables out on the main floor, and the room was largely full except
for - three cheers for my eagle-eyed friend Travlin - a single empty table
right up in front of the stage. I could hardly believe it was true, but we
waded up to it and sat down and nobody ever complained, so lucky us got to
watch the show seated comfortably about 5 feet from Robyn.

Robyn walked onto stage holding a nearly empty cup of tea and started with
an observation that those who have been seeing him since he first played
San Francisco have had an opportunity to watch him get grayer and fatter,
and how rock & roll was an opportunity to watch people pucker up. (I
realized at that moment that the first time I saw him, he was younger that
I am now**. Yikes.)

1. I'm Only You - which ended with a very strong guitar solo, with Robyn so
into it that when he was done he staggered backwards and knocked over his
guitar stand.
2. I Got The Hots - which included the lyrics "she laughed a laugh that
echoed around the Tenderloin" and a new, Lennonesque coda.

A lengthy diatribe followed about how "cars in America are fattening
again", how when he first came here in the 80s he expected to see all big
American "scratchy" cars like in Dirty Harry (the first of several Dirty
Harry references during the show) but all he saw when he got here were slim
little Japanese cars, and "That's a long way to come to not be impressed by

And then, "Here is a song about fattening, a subject near and dear to my
heart." [pause] "Either you get fat, or you shrivel. Either that, or you're

3. Balloon Man

During the pause between songs, someone in the back of the house shouted
out, "How about a song for our new governor" referring, of course, to the
inauguration of Arne Saknussemm as California's governor earlier in the day.

At this point something truly unbelievable occurred. Robyn leaned over to
the mic, opened his mouth... and nothing came out. He was at a loss for
words. He just stood there mute, with his mouth partially open, but no
words coming out. I have never seen that happen before. Of course, it only
took him a moment to regain his composure, and he was off and running about
what a good move it was for Arnie to have said "I'll be back" instead of "I
may be back", and say "Fuck you, asshole" instead of just saying
"hnnnmmm..." and walking away. Robyn said that he himself would have said
"I may be back", and dedicated the next song to Arnie.

4. Madonna of the Wasps
7. Glass Hotel

Robyn noted that Glass Hotel had been recorded nearby at Hyde Street
Studios, using the very same guitar he was playing last night.

5. You Remind Me Of You

Next, "This is a song about inheritance."

7. No, I Don't Remember Guildford

Brief intro: "That was one way of saying life isn't always great for
humans. This is another."

8. Uncorrected Personality Traits - which he has written a very nice
acoustic quitar part for and holds up very well in this arrangement.
9. Keep Finding Me
10. The Sound Of Sound

Next Robyn spoke at some length about his fondness for Solpadeine - a
codeine/caffeine combo unavailable in America but apparently quite nice for
hangovers. It was an unusually candid moment for Robyn, much more
personally revealing than he tends to be. Except for the occasional
"Airscape" intro, I can't recall him ever directly talking about personal
fondnesses or sorrows, without couching them in terms of cod and radishes
and moldering brains and such.

11. Solpadeine - Robyn open-tuned his guitar and played slide for this one.
If he ever auditions to join the Rolling Stones, this is the song to play.

"Thanks, this is another English blues."

12. Sleeping With Your Devil Mask - which he afterward insisted has no
metaphorical meaning whatsoever. (I resisted the urge to shout "So you mean
that song isn't about cunnilingus?" In hindsight I sort of wish I had done
13. Devil's Coachman
14. Queen Elvis
15. DeChirico St.

"This goes out to my fur-lined woman."

16. I Feel Beautiful

At which point Robyn left the stage, which was followed by footstomping so
strong that I had to catch my glass when it vibrated off the table. The
person at the table behind me wasn't quite that quick and their glass
shattered noisily on the floor, to great effect. Robyn came back out a
moment later, pausing to have a glass of red wine handed to him as he got
back on stage.


17. The Speed Of Things - which was a treat, I've always been very fond of
that song.
18. Staying Alive - which he has cooked up an acoustic guitar part for and
somehow, brilliantly, managed to make his own. It was really quite an
enjoyable listen even beyond the obvious novelty value. Believe it or not.
(And yes, he clearly sang "Staying" not "Stayin'")

Someone shouted "Wading Through A Ventilator!", which Robyn said was a good
idea and made an attempt to launch into, but then stopped and said, "I
don't know if I can sing that now... I don't know if I could sing that
then." (Of course, the bits of chatter I've transcribed here are nowhere
near everything, just the bits I could scribble down quickly without
distracting me from the show.)

I believe at this point he went on about cellphones and cameras and such
and how they're all evolving into one small, oblong device and how in the
future kids will say "Don't forget the 'device'" when you leave the house,
and will think it's funny that you had a separate device for just your

"This is from an album that is not for sale here, it's not for sale in the
store - you just have to kind of squeeze it out of the air."

19. I Saw Nick Drake

And that's it.

As a plus, Luxor is on sale on this tour for $10, which allowed me to save
a few bucks on it and still feel good that I gave my money directly to

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