Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock with Deni Bonet
Concert appearance: Sat., 10 Jan. 1998

West Hollywood, California US
Set 1

Set list:

Visions of Johanna (Bob Dylan)
De Chirico Street
Elizabeth Jade
Jewels for Sophia
Queen Elvis
Queen of Eyes
Madonna of the Wasps
Golden Years (David Bowie) >
Fame (David Bowie)
I Feel Beautiful
I Dream of Antwoman

The Doors opened a little later Saturday; it appeared they needed more
time to soundcheck. On entering and paying the cover, we were all asked
which artist (Tim, Robyn, Colin Hay) we were there to see. Their
explanation was that those tallies were used to determine how much of the
money taken in in cover charges would go to which artist. Is this
standard procedure?

Anyway, Tim opened (same red sweatshirt, black trousers, and boots, but a
hat this time and no stool). Someone in the audience blurted out
"Disneyland!" after his first song, to which he said, "I played that last
night. You can't do a song two nights in a row, that's cheating." After
a long pause, racking his brain for more ideas, seemingly getting
confused about something, trying to come up with a plan, and getting
exasperated, he finally said, "All right, I'll play Disneyland."

Anyway, after a bit (including a brand new song which was excellent)
Robyn came out to assist on a song that I don't remember, after which
they did a rousing "Superkeen." Very satisfying.

Robyn came back out after a brief intermission, decked out in his b/w
checkered shirt and black trousers (though he was seen earlier at Largo
with his famed green trousers). After a massive search for a harmonica
in D, and kicking around the idea of trying one in C, Jon scampered out
with the desired instrument. Off Robyn went.

Visions of Johanna (!)
1974 (after a monolouge about a 90s revival)

DeChirico St.
Elizabeth Jade
Jewels For Sophia (with a monologue about sex, bank
accounts, Santa Claus, and Eric Idle)

Queen Elvis
Queen Of Eyes

Macarena / Golden Years / Fame '98
I Feel Beautiful
Antwoman (electric, and awesome)

Robyn's voice was obviously tired from the studio work he's done over the
past few days. The vocal bit at the end of DeChirico Street he did an
octave below what he usually does, and he had to strain in some parts
elsewhere. Still, he was relaxed and having a good time, and it was a
fun set.

One absolutely surreal moment happened during the show as Robyn
apparently forgot the chords to Queen of Eyes. That's right, Queen Of
Eyes. Right in the "Here I am again" bit Robyn called out "wait" and
figured it out, with Tim looking up at him as though the world didn't
make sense anymore. We in the audience just looked at each other in
disbelief. I don't know exactly what threw him off, but it was really
odd to watch. An admirable recovery though. He then did a new "I wish I
was , I wish I was " line, but I don't remember what it was.

There was absolute mayhem onstage when Grant walked on and found Jon's
Macarena gorilla doll. He turned it on, held it up to the mike, and
before long he launched into a Bowie tune accompanied by the toy.
Amazing how well they fit together. He and Robyn did an acapella duet
for a time, dancing all the while, before fading out with another Bowie
tune. It was hilarious.

Up next was Colin Hay (whose guitar case still says "Men At Work"), who
apparently does the Largo frequently. It was his last show there before
a three month trip down under. He played an hour and a half of
depressing music, much to the delight of the Eye-heads present. So if
you want a positive review, ask one of them. As for me, I couldn't wait
for it to end. Entertaining monologues, though.

So, at about 1 AM, Robyn's quartet reemerged, declared themselves to be
"The Evil Church Bells," and launched into Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue."
There were too many songs in there I didn't recognize for me to keep an
accurate setlist, and in fact all I remember right now is Soul Kitchen
(Doors). Well, that and the one below...

One more story before you go on about your day. Peter, Julie, and I had
been talking before the show about what we hoped they'd play; Peter was
hoping they would do Beautiful Queen, Julie wanted to hear Queen of Eyes,
and I was hoping for Elizabeth Jade and/or a Byrds tune. Well, EJ and
QoE fell early. Then Robyn said to Tim "Shall we do BQ or bring on
Grant?" And Grant charged the stage as Peter looked on in horror.
Beautiful Queen is right there on the setlist, but they didn't play it.

But not even that compares to how The Evil Church Bells left me hanging.
They got a full line or two into Bells of Rhymney, Robyn gently playing
the electric, and Ethan banging up a storm on drums. Then Robyn stopped
everything, saying "Hold it! This song needs to be done much more
delicately." Then they switched and did a far less delicate tune. Argh!

Anyway, a very good show, VoJ was a wonderful, wonderful surprise, and we
all are going to very carefully check upcoming shows at this place... if
it weren't for Woj's post, we would have missed out on this. Many thanks
to Woj.

contaminating the void with a long, long post,
- Chris

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