Robyn Hitchcock Deni Bonet
Concert appearance: Fri., 9 Jan. 2004
Hoboken, New Jersey US
all request night, rescheduled from 12/6/03, early show
Agony Of Pleasure
I Got The Hots
Give Me A Spanner, Ralph
Ted, Woody and Junior
Uncorrected Personality Traits
Sinister But She Was Happy enter Deni Bonet
Arms Of Love
Driving Aloud (Radio Storm)
Encore: De Chirico Street with Deni Bonet
recording archived at http://www.archive.org/details/rhitchcock2004-01-09early-schoeps.shnf
This is short because I got home at 4 last night.
Best hair day I have ever seen Robyn have in the 15 years I have been seeing
Half Cleaveland, which is half of Tin Huey was fantastic.
Deni sat in for about 6 songs in the first set.
Ira Kaplan sat in for about 6 songs in the second set.
Ira played drums on a very shabby Rock and Roll Toilet.
First set, he was wearing a shirt that looked like someone had vomited up
some faux Mexican wallpaper on it.
Second set, lizard shirt.
He didn't play the requests of anyone I know.
I missed the cone, I think that there was one for each set.
He did Spanner.
It was 7 degrees outside after the show.
During the second set the people next to me got very drunk, loud and
obnoxious...she couldn't sing at all...but boy did she.
Robyn Voice was shot by the end of the night.
From Mike H.:
i attended the maxwells early show last nite, it was a lot of fun. being
a request gig, he really dragged out some old chestnuts, very enjoyable .
might have been a little slow and off- putting for a first timer, but i
really liked it.
my only regret is he brought along a telecaster, but didnt do anything
great with it, just some muted chords . maybe he did more during the late
Well, I attended both sets this time. I have to say with regret that the
intensity, quality, and je-ne-sais-quoi-ness level were not up to the
very special Halloween show. I did have my hopes up, but this proved to
be an average solo Robyn show, sloppy but enjoyable and livened up by the
Despite the uneven performances, it was great to get to hear some of
the unlikely songs trawled up by the requesters, stuff I'm sure none of
us have ever heard him do live and never will again. He opened the
first set with September Cones, for chrissake! (The song has grown a
bridge, incidentally.) In fact, that was one of the more intense
performances of the night-- the quality bar did seem to be higher for
the obscurities, probably because he just relearned them and has them
fresh in his fingers and voice. The second set had a similarly haunting
rendition of Skull, Suitcase, Bottle of WIne, the mood of which was
initially spoiled by some guy losing his shit when he recognized the
first line. "WHOAAAHH! DAMN!! YES!!" the fellow roared, to the extent
that Robyn interrupted the verse to say "come on, it's not THAT good."
I learned that given the chance to make requests, Robyn fans will
largely stump for the RH Novelty Catalog. Spanner Ralph, Victorian
Squid, Ted Woody and Junior, etc. The performance of Victorian Squid
was great, especially in the weird "between the walnut and the fir"
Moss Elixir came up aces this time-- Sinister but she was Happy and
Filthy Bird (both with Deni) and You and Oblivion were all among the
best performances of the night. Robyn introduced You and Oblivion
sincerely and unquirkily, saying it was a song about "an old friend who
flipped and I didn't", and how at first, when Robyn was staying on the
straight road and his friend was veering off onto the wrong path, he
wasn't sure whether it was the other way round, with Robyn the one
losing his mind and his friend the one keeping it together. He likened
it to the moment the shuttle and the retrobooster split up, and at
first you're unsure which one you're on.
Other song intros were quirky indeed, but in the best way. Whereas
Halloween's excellent perfomances were accompanied by a lack of sparkly
verbal Robynisms, last night the monologues were dead on.
Ira Kaplan's contribution, on acoustic 12-string, to the latter half of
the second set, was tentative and muted and didn't add much. They did
Some Kinda Love and Ocean together, neither of which really jelled.
Also Queen Of Eyes (which I don't need to hear live again for a few
years, I think) and Love from the first solo album, which did come
together beautifully with Ira singing along on the "Ahh Ahh Ahh Ahhhh"s
of the chorus.
Speaking of Love, the cover surprise of the night for me was
Andmoreagain. Robyn's rendition was great, especially his guitar
playing and the way his middle-aged voice sank down low for the "cuz my
things are mateeeerialllll" line. He mentioned meeting Arthur Lee when
he sat in on a couple of songs at the Forever Changes concert in
London, and said he and Arthur discussed Syd B. Syd apparently listened
to Love a lot, and Robyn pointed out the similarity in Syd and Arthur's
weird chromatic chord progressions before going into a so-so cover of
Andmoreagain was one of many solo acoustic numbers Robyn played
exclusively fingerstyle on. I first noticed this on a few songs at the
Halloween show. Am I wrong or is fingerpicking a totally recent
development for him? I'm sure I've never seen him do it before: it
always jumps out at me when someone in a band does it since I myself am
always vacillating between fingerstyle and flatpicking. It's really
neat to see Robyn challenging himself at this stage and adding a new
aspect to his already inimitable guitar language. Fingerstyle is really
bringing a different sound to all those trademark moody arpeggios of
his-- more twangy and with more variety of dynamic and texture between
the notes. If anyone posts the setlist from last night, I do remember
specifically that in the first set, he didn't pick up a pick at all
until Uncorrected Personality Traits (in its spiffy new strummy guise).
In my continuing crusade for the recognition of Luxor as an A+ Robyn
record as well as a new kind of sound for his catalog, I have to
mention that Idonia was one of the two or three best performances of
the night, along with Filthy Bird, Sept. Cones, You and Oblivion,
Victorian Squid, and Andmoreagain.
Hair report: he's had a cut. The massive wings are gone. Or so it
seemed-- by the end of the first set a miniature one was spreading wide
off one side of his head as if to take flight. Meanwhile, Ira Kaplan
right now resembles exactly a cross between Gilbert Gottfried and Eddie
Murphy's Buckwheat. Back to Robyn's 'do, he mentioned having had it
temporarily dyed for his work in the Demme movie. Why do I keep hoping
his role in that is going to be something similar to the evil drug
dealer from Withnail and I? "If I medicine you, my friend, you'll know
you have been spoken to." "Hair are our aerials, man..."
Okay, I'll stop now, after finishing off with a list off the top o' me
head of other songs he did... Arms of Love and Driving Aloud, both with
Deni. Rock n' Roll Toilet, with Ira making a grand old mess on drums
and the whole audience singing along. Clean Steve. Ghost in You.
Staying Alive, to close the last encore. De Chirico Street with Deni
(limp). Solpadeine (without the pharmaceutical exigesis). Penelope's
Angles (with nicely exaggerated baritone. The majority of the audience
not knowing Luxor, the "yam" business drew big laughs. Same with Ted
Woody and Junior later on). I Feel Beautiful (with lots of wrong
chords. C'mon dude, this one's sposed to be for your lady!!) 1974 (the
Syd/Roger line cracking the whole place up). A Man's Got to Know His
Limitations, Briggs (which is already getting annoying). Man with a
Woman's Shadow (very sultry and nice).
Okay, I admit both shows were great fun. But the Halloween ones were
somehow more than fun, which is why I'm just slightly disappointed. Now
I'll hope for another Rock Armada-like tour.
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