This was my first time seeing Fruvous headlining on New Year's Eve, and ringing in the New Year. I was not disappointed...
Jen, Jenn and I left Rochester around eleven in the morning and got to Niagara Falls *way* too early. To fill the time, we walked down to the American Falls, hung around the Rainbow Mall and headed to the Canadian side for a couple-hour visit to Casino Niagara (I won!). After all that, a visit to a nearby hotel just to keep warm, and some more driving around, we finally went into the Hard Rock at eight.
A huge line of freezing people were waiting to get in, but Fruvous was kind enough to allow people with 12 stamps or more to be on the guest list, so I got in right away. A lot of my friends were there, so here's the list (as best as I can remember): Mike/Kelly, Jo, Chad, Dan J (and a bunch of his MIT friends), Caiti and Chris from California, Heather, Laurie & Craig, and a lot of other familiar faces. Jude and her sister Wendy, Lisa, Susan Tanner and her sister and brother-in-law, Mike Ford's brother and sister-in-law also decided to make the trek and come down to see the show. Lazlo was also there, doing monitor mix for Moxy.
The concert area was not what was originally planned. In the beginning, Fruvous was going to play in the actual restaurant area of the Hard Rock, which had a capacity of about 300 people. Well, they moved the show to this large party room in the back, which had very little atmosphere, unfortunately. Since the bathrooms were situated behind the ad hod stage that was set up, they put a bunch of porta-potties along one wall. Nice smell, let me tell ya.
The opening act was Michael ?something?. He's apparently from Buffalo, and was a little too Dylan-esque for my tastes. He played for about 45 minutes. The crowd seemed to enjoy him; he wasn't bad, but he didn't blow me away either. The audience started to gear themselves up for the New Year's celebration in anticipation of Moxy's set. A Buffalo station, Alice 92.9, was hosting the event, and made various announcements during the show. They gave away some prizes, including jacket (I think) autographed by Moxy Fruvous.
Fruvous finally hit the stage a little bit before eleven, and the crowd was very much into it, even more than the typical Buffalo crowd. They elected a girl to sit on stage, and every so often she would stand up and give us the time in analog format, using her arms. She did a decent job, I guess, but when it came down to the wire, she couldn't read the watch she was given, so the gentleman whose watch it was came up on stage and counted down to midnight.
At midnight, Cal played the King of Spain techno mix over the PA while Fruvous ran around the crowd wishing everyone a happy new year. The Hard Rock handed out a bunch of party hats, leis, and noise makers, and a bunch of balloons were released when 1998 began. Moxy, after some more celebrating, and a drink to usher in the new year, proceeded to do about 20 minutes of awesome cover songs. Cal's setlist said the following, and as you can see, they abandoned it nicely. :-)
Laika BJ Video Message Kids Bootime PoorMary Lazy Moon Border Fly River Car Michi Saucepn King GEH (Auth - Darl)
The show ended close to one in the morning, with three well received encores. Considering, about a month ago, that a local Buffalo paper was cutting up the fact that Fruvous was playing at the Hard Rock, they delivered an amazing performance and the crowd ate it up. After the show, we all hung around and chatted, and Fruvous came out to say their hellos and salutations. Dan J called up Jason Reiser on his cell phone (Jason, Rob, Ella and Lisa (as well as many other around the northeast) couldn't make it to the show because of the inclement weather near Syracuse.
We were finally booted out of the venue in the 2:30-3 range. We all said our goodbyes, and Mike, Kelly, Jo, Heather, Jen, Jenn and I went to a local restaurant for some eats. Jo and I finally headed back to Rochester by 4:30 in the morning. I hit the sack at six in the morning, but with a nice smile on my face, thinking back at the night's festivities.
Now I know why Mike SantaLucia has always raved about the Moxy NYE concerts he's seen in Buffalo. What an amazing show, and I can't wait till 1998/99 to do it all again.
From Chad Maloney:
Hey everyone! Happy New Year!!
I travelled out to Niagara Falls (despite the better judgement of my friends and family who would have rather me avoid all that bad weather up there) for the New Years Eve show. It was a great time. Lotsa surprises and some great people to ring in the new year with.
I started my drive about 9am figuring I should be safe. Armed with my CDs and a will to get there, the drive was pretty average. Cleveland had some bad snow places, but I got behind a someone driving in their Cherokee Jeep and just followed my way through the snow. It took 8 1/2 hours which I guess was pretty good and I rolled into Buffalo at 5pm.
I'm going to buy new shoes. Let me just say that right now. Jason cleaned his fridge, so I can buy new shoes (which leaves Canadian Currency as the remaining long running joke I guess). Normally I get lost in Pennsylvania. Every time I've touched the state, I get lost. Well this time, instead of being lost, I fell over a fast food parking lot. So, the last couple hours of my drive were interestingly wet to say the least.
My poor half-birkenstocks are just no good anymore. My socks were completely and totally soaked after each venture outside.
Laurie, Craig, and I headed to the venue around 7:30 very thankful for our guestlisting. The person at the front of the line had been there for awhile and the line was rowdy and loud, probably so that they could make some heat. We ran into Heather, Caiti and Chris, Kelly and Mike, and Dan and the MIT crew outside and waited patiently to be let in. Needless to say my feet were frozen completely by the time they let us. The hugs outside helped keep warm, but nothing could beat the feeling of getting inside.
The guy doing the carding was flipping over the wide range of IDs. That was pretty funny. Once inside, I started stamping my feet trying to force them into feeling again. We ran into more familiar faces inside. Jo and Jenn from Rochester were there, Sandy from Ohio, Susan Tanner and lots more. Jenn (connecticut Jenn) and Chris O'Malley sauntered in about 10 minutes after the doors and someone snapped a picture of Chris actually being not early for something.
After a little bit of talking with people, I sauntered over to the Birkenstock section of the crowd. Well, more or less, me and the other person wearing Birks. Laurie, Craig, and I were dead center about 5 feet back from stage and met a couple housemates of Victoria Brasseur's. It seems like they got a little Fru-house going on up there. We chatted for awhile until the opening guy came on.
The opener was a Buffalo guy from a band called Go Dog Go named Michael Oliver. Rumor has it that he was a Catholic priest which we decided was semi-possible but very unorthodox. Michael had an earring and a couple days of stubble, neither things found on your typical Catholic priest. He also sang a song called If Your Right, What's Left For Me which doesn't really fit in with stereo-typical conservative Christian beliefs. All I have to say is that if he is a Catholic priest or not, I admire his beliefs and he put on a decent show including such hits as Neil Young's Harvest Moon (which was requested by a burly security guard sitting on the right of the stage) and Green Acres. He also sang some freaky song about an Argyle Cat (he had diamonds on his feet, he had diamonds on his back) and various other songs. Overall it was enjoyable, upbeat semi-happy angry music and the audience clapped a good deal for him.
The venue was a buffet room of sorts. I guess the room the show was supposed to be in was actually in the Hard Rock Cafe, but this is kinda next door or something. They strung it up with party balloons and a stage and some lights and called it a venue I guess. It could fit a good number of people though. I don't know how small the other place would have been.
It appeared that they Hard Rock didn't really know what to expect in a concert. They had wristbands even though the show was 21+ and several large burly security guards waltzing around at all times. Lots of people with headsets and such. I don't know if they expected a bunch of loud crazies, but to me they were very over staffed. Maybe that's why cokes were $2. They had to pay all the hired help. The room also appeared to have been opened a little too soon. Porta potties lined one wall and the room just didn't look finished.
Fruvous went on before 11. It was a long wait. It looked like things were ready, but Cal and Lazlo were just sitting off to the side waiting for something. Finally, a manager from the Hard Rock came up and thanked some people and introed McGhee and some lady from Alice (a radio station in Buffalo, 92.8 maybe? 92.9? something like that - they play Fruvous a little - Check FDC's Nuz flashes) came up and introed the band. Both the manager and the Alice DJs slammed New York City in their intros and made it seem like the band had some vendetta against it and that is why they played closer to home. Whatever. Okay.
Finally, the first thing I noticed when I saw the stage got picked up. Murray is using the ole coral quilted Spector again. No Fender with stickers in sight. Murr laid down the groove to Laika on the Spector and it was great. Man does Laika's bass line rock!
We also got to hear non-acappella Message (wah and all). That was also a treat to me. They probably played it because Alice has been playing it lately.
Jian started the night out by welcoming everyone and then started poking fun at under 21 people. He dug himself into a really really deep hole really and I'm not gonna even try to remember some of the things he said. He did say he was just kidding though... =)
Now, I don't remember exactly how things went down, but here are some highlights.
Did I mention Murray was using the Spector? Woo hoo!
The guys complained about people who wish you Happy New Years before New Years happens. It was likened to congratulating someone on their promotion before they got it or telling the band good concert before it happens. Or congratulating a team on winning the Stanley Cup before the season. Mike pointed out that there is only one place where you can get away with that and that is the 2007 Toronto Maple Leafs.
New Years also had a motto, but it was really long and silly and I can't remember it for the life of me. Someone wanna help?
The band put the word out for Knox, the human clock, a Buffalo tradition I hear, but he was absent. So, Jian instructed everyone to remove their watches and elect the most anal a**hole in the crowd who had a watch so we could use that as official time. Marc from MIT, a small bearded fellow with a Jack Florey shirt on, was singled out from the masses by the MIT conglomerate as being an anal a**hole. Jian wanted proof, so Dan pointed out he brought a GPS on the plane. Jian's face dropped when Dan said that. He looked around hoping someone in the band had any idea what the heck Dan was talking about before he fumbled around with naming the thing. He took the watch and set it down on the snare. Next, the elections for Knox's replacement came. A couple people raised their hands. It was pointed out that due to affirmative action, people with beards may be more likely elected and Mike was pointing at Marc again. No luck though. Jian suggested that maybe this year they needed a woman and thus elected was Carolyn (not caroline as she so eloquently pointed out on stage). It seemed that at any time not during a song, the crowd could ask "What time is it, Carolyn?" and she would then proceed to show what time it was using only her arms. Sounds easy? It was tested and it turned out to be quarter till one. Not very accurate. After a few tries, a couple reversed tries, and some falling over laughing, Carolyn got out the time and the fruvous frollicking continued.
When Carolyn was invited on stage, Murray pointed out to her that she could just jump in on the congas whenever she felt like it. Mike politely pointed out that they were bongos and not congas, but Mur didn't notice. Just for the record, bongos are smaller like the Fruvous bongos where congas are full length to the floor. I knew you all wanted to know that.
Carolyn grooved out to the tunes for awhile before Lazlo got her a chair. She was called upon a couple of times to know the time and really never got the showing the audience what time it was thing down. Once she stood up and her chair flew off the back of the stage. Murray, after she finally just resorted to saying the time into jian's mic, said he was just getting used to it always being quarter till 1. If anything, Carolyn had fun and enjoyed herself, no matter how uncoordinated her arms were =)
In Boo Time, the intro was I hear a hoot owl. I hear a hoot owl Lord Baden-Powell. Mario Lemieux throwing in the towel. Vanna, can I have another vowel (with an umlaut) and everyone knows what time it is, time it is, time it is.... and the ending of the call section was smoking some jay at the rock cafe. The scat in the middle was really good and Dave and Mike played really well together in it.
Cross Border Shopping was introduced as one of the silliest songs every written and Fruvous wrote it. They pointed out it is going to suck, but it always does. That's what happens when you try to do a song you never ever do. It actually was pretty good. Murray took the lead strong in the end and sucked up the applause like the good man he is.
I couldn't understand what Mike was saying in BJ at the end. It wasn't the normal lyrics though. It kinda sounded like he messed up a little. Maybe someone else knows...
At a little before midnight, Marc was called back on stage because it seemed Carolyn didn't know how to tell the seconds on the watch. Marc said there was about 2 minutes left so the band jumped off into SauceP'n before the countdown. With a Fruvous beat behind him, Marc counted down the last 30 seconds before the New Year and as midnight hit, the balloons fell, people screamed, and a funky King of Spain dance remix blared through the speakers. This lasted for a good 5 minutes of people hugging and dancing and tossing balloons at each other before the band came back on stage and announced a name change for '98. They had been threatening to do it for awhile. And now it is official. In '98, the band is going back to its roots and is now the Chia Pets again. They then proceeded to open up the bag of covers and return to their days as a cover band playing Signed Sealed Delivered, Tempted, Substitute, BBC Heaven, Psycho Killer, Brown-Eyed Girl, and probably a couple others. It was great to hear all those tunes with a Frutwist to them. No Mistra Know-It-All though =) The Billie Jean Medley was introed as a completely new song (I fell for it for about 3 seconds until Mur started the funk line).
Where breaks occured I have no idea. There were three encores I guess. The first being Psycho Killer and Love Potion Medley maybe? I don't have an idea. The second maybe King of Spain into the short Green Eggs and Ham and the third encore was the Drinking Song. Before the first encore, the two people from Alice got up on stage to encourage us. Silly people. What were they thinking. Marcus caught them and kept them from going up there for the next encores.
The band wondered if you are allowed to tell people your new years resolutions. It was pointed out that you can, but you can only tell one person. That person is TV's Leeza. Leeza Gibbons.
The end of Love Potion was something about Marcus. I don't remember what, but funny. In the middle of King of Spain, Dave had us sing Auld Lang Syne which was revealed as another language for something, but my memory isn't working right today. Sorry about that. In Green Eggs and Ham, Jian tried really hard to kill off the Hey Not the Beatles stuff quickly, but Dave didn't. After a couple seconds, Jian just said You Don't Like Green Eggs and Ham and Dave said No I don't. I really don't. Jian retorted with I SAID You Don't Like Green Eggs and Ham. It took about three or four tried, but finally Dave went into the rest of the song.
The Drinking Song was a great end. Swaying in the front looking back across the Fruvous year with arms around some of the friends I've met over the time was just wonderful.
After the show, we stuck around and chatted with each other and with the guys, said our thank yous for a great year and our goodbyes till February. Hugs abounded and people returned back from whence they came.
One of my new years resolutions? I'm gonna count how many chocolate eclairs Dave owns because you know, after all those get all these people chocolate eclair bequeething by the King of Spain, I don't know a single person who has ever actually gotten one. Not as exciting as counting yee-haws in Flat Rock, NC, but still fun...
From Dan Jablonski:
Well, I just got home from Niagara Falls and the NYE show...
Rolled into Niagara at about 5pm, got checked into the hotel, and headed down to the hard rock. We got dinner there, and sat in the room that they apparently planned to use for the show when they first booked it. Woulda been a neat show there--small stage in a small room, with hard rock cafe decoration all around. But the show was moved next door, into a much larger room--the stage was temporary, the cables to the soundboard ran above the floor, but it was *big*, so everyone that showed up got in.
Fruvous didn't come on stage until 10:45pm. They started with Laika, and continued with a nice rockin' set. At about 11:15, they asked for a wristwatch from someone in the crowd who is completely anal about time. This turned out to be Marc from MIT (who sets his watch by his GPS receiver). They also asked for someone from the audience who was "charismatic and has full use of their arms". Someone named Carolyn was elected, and she was brought on stage. Whenever the audience shouted "Tell us the time, Carolyn", she was supposed to display the time with her arms. She had difficulty orienting things right for the audience, so she usually just announced the time into the microphone.
A few time displays went by, until 11:58, when they had to get Marc on stage to interpret the number of seconds. But, it was only 11:58, so they decided to sneak in Johnny Saucep'n before midnight. After the second crawfish claws, Marc announced that there were 45 seconds remaining. He did the countdown to midnight, then balloons fell and a very odd techno/club remix of "King of Spain" came on the speakers (from tape). I want a copy.. :-)
This lasted about 7 minutes--people batted balloons around, Fruvous wandered around a little bit, and people did the happy new year thing.
When Dave, Mike, Murray, and Jian returned to the stage, Jian announced that they were no longer Moxy Fruvous, but rather the Chia Pets. For the next half hour, they played nothing but covers. My favorite was Squeeze's "Tempted"--it was frighteningly good. We also got Signed, Sealed, Delivered, the Billie Jian Medley, BBC Heaven (is that actually the title of this song? it was really cool, anyway), Brown Eyed Girl, and Love Potion medley. There were more, but it's a blur...
Finally, the second encore, and there was Fruvous music again. King of Spain, Green Eggs and Ham, and (third encore) Drinking Song.
Excellent show, and, as always, something different..
After the show, I checked the voice mail on my cell phone, and had a message from Jason R., so I gave him a call and passed the phone around. then hung around for a while, yakked for a while, and said "goodbye until February" to lots of people..
went to the hotel, slept, went to the airport, flew home, yada yada
Some other tidbits from the performance include: