Robyn Hitchcock Deni Bonet
Concert appearance: Sun., 10 Nov. 1996
El Rey Theatre
Los Angeles, California US
with Billy Bragg
The Devil's Radio (acoustic)
Where Do You Go When You Die?
The Wind Cries Mary (Jimi Hendrix)
De Chirico Street w/Deni
Filthy Bird w/Deni
Let's Go Thundering w/Deni
I Something You
The Yip Song
I Am Not Me (electric)
You and Oblivion
Encore: Direct Me to the Cheese
Encore: Beautiful Queen
Forgive me if it's all been covered before...
1) Devil's Radio. Solo and accoustic...
2) Where Do You Go When You Die (?)... this set the gleefully macabre tone
for the show, which featured both More Death!!! and More Frivolity!!! than
Around this time Robyn asks the audience if anyone was actually born in LA.
Someone yells that they were born right there in the El Rey Theatre. Robyn
adopts an American accent and exclaims "So was I, Friend!" and launches into
a story about how the spotlight was his mother and the second mic was his
father, and both were banished from the El Rey when it was a movie palace,
only to move to Orange County where they stood upon two oranges calling each
other brother and sister until they were arrested for such incestuous
perversion, only to be freed by a perverted judge who allowed them to live
together only in he could join them, and these three then begat Robyn. The
applause was deafening--- no kidding.
3) Wind Cries Mary
4) Feels Like 1974. This one rambles and has no real "hook", but is great
nonetheless-- one of those perfectly autumnal Robyn songs. (The line about
Syd Barrett's last session, followed by "Now he'll have to be Roger for the
rest of his life", although clearly about Roger Waters, is also almost
verbatim what the former Jim McGuinn said not too long ago about changing his
name way back when...)
5) DeCherico Street. Deni Bonet shows up dressed in orange and is
thenceforth referred to by Robyn as "The Human Pumpkin Girl". Um, she seems
to play viola, not violin.
6) Filthy Bird. The viola is particularly nice on this one...
7) Let's Go Thundering. By the end of which Robyn is practically dancing
with Deni, which is a pretty unusual sight.
8) Glass Hotel. Deni leaves and Robyn spends a while tuning. The audience,
which has been very responsive thus far, begins to get distracted-- possibly
an influx of the latecomer Billy-only crowd. They yak it up annoyingly
throughout this most delicate of songs. Afterwards, Robyn seem vexed, to the
point where he does something I've never seen before-- he stops one of his
rambling stories in midsentence!
9) I Something You. Still frustrated, Robyn delivers the "predictible"
middle bit in an especially unhinged manner and folks start paying attention
10) Yip Song.
11) "I Am Not Me". Robyn switches to the electric and introduce the song
thusly: "What was the kindly old lady made out of? ...FUCK-ASS ROCK AND
ROLL!" Indeed. There were a couple of sly and effective lyrical refinements
in this version.
12) "You and Oblivion". Even scarier than usual. Robyn appeared frozen or
uncharacteristically immobile with tension by the "death train" line.
13) "Freeze". (I expected Robyn to update the David Byrne line-- he didn't).
End of the regular set.
14) "Direct Me to the Cheese" (?). Encore is electric also. At the end of
this one, Billy marched onstage and placed a large hat shaped like a wedge of
Swiss cheese on Robyn's head. They bow to each other, whereupon the Human
Pumpkin Girl returns to the stage as Billy leaves.
15) "Beautiful Queen". Lovely lovely lovely. Marred only by the fact that
Deni's amp seemed to break down after the bridge, and there was much
distracted rushing about trying to fix it. Robyn finished just fine without
There followed a tease that they would fix the technical problem and
continue, but Robyn abruptly changed his mind and said they were done,
Billy was quite good, too. Why the hell didn't they encore together?
Trading verses on "Visions of Johanna" or some such? I guess their
audiences were a little less compatible than I would've thought. Still a
terrific double bill for my money.
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