Every once in a while, I ask myself why I travel such great distances so often to see Moxy Fruvous. If I ever have any doubts, it usually takes a couple shows to make me re-realize why I do this wonderful thing. Well, this show will always be my reservoir of memory for the show that completely put to rest even the slightest hesitations about travelling to see this band.
I wasn't planning on seeing any of the shows from this 3-show weekend, but on Friday night before the IH show, I was thinking... I can go! Why not? Just go for it... At first, I asked my friend Kevin to join me, but he couldn't, so I was ready to make the trek solo. Luckily, Heather called me about something on Saturday, I mentioned I was going, and her first response was, "Take me with you!".
Well, things couldn't have worked out any better, I think. Heather arrived in Rochester at 10am on Sunday. We hit the open road, and made it to Northampton by 3. Since no one had any idea either of us were coming, we decided we would surprise all our friends. We found the most remote parking spot in Northampton (the roof of some parking garage 3 blocks from the venue). After Heather's quick stop at the palm reader, we headed to Fire & Water (groovy little cafe), and "hid" for about 2 hours. We thought we would wait until everyone had entered the Iron Horse, and then go in, unexpectedly.
By five, we headed to the venue. None of our friends were there yet, so we staked a place in line, met a nice woman who played guard for us when Zard walked by looking for people she knew, and also met Samoq. By the time doors opened at 5:30, Zard had disappeared, so we proceeded in, grabbed a glass of wine, and talked to Samoq and her husband for a bit. I was surprised that very few people were there when doors opened.
Well, eventually, Zard returned. I was upstairs in the loft area talking to Nate, and saw Zard walking in. She headed upstairs to see if anyone she knew was there, so I headed down the stairs. We met half way, and the look on her face was priceless. It was one of those "I know you/why are you here/are you nuts" kinda looks. I dragged her to where Heather was and we basked in the glow of a mini-reunion.
Eventually, more people showed up. Jason, Rob, Lisa, Adam Hartfield, Gordon, Colleen, Vika, Jenn, Josh, & Mary K. All were very surprised to see us, to say the least. I didn't know Chris T wouldn't be there (the only disappointment of otherwise an amazing time). If I'm forgetting anyone, I apologize, the night was somewhat a blur for me.
Fruvous came on at 7:40 (not too bad, the show was slated for seven), and did the most amazing set I've ever seen them do. Josh dubbed it "The Fruhead Convention Part 2". And it was. I hung out and danced with Vika, Colleen, Heather, etc, and had blast... Fruvous blew the crowd away with the off-mic Drinking Song, and I was left with the best feeling as the final chords of that song closed one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Afterwards, conversations abound. The guys made their presence after a bit, but the IH was closing relatively early, so there wasn't that much time to chat. Mary, Zard, Vika, Colleen, Heather and I headed back to Zard's hotel, got some pizza, talked the night away, and everyone fell asleep around 4am. I, on the other hand, did not get one wink of sleep (haven't stayed up all night long in a very long time). At 5:45, Heather and I headed home, and made it back to Rochester by 10:30.
So, I got home, slept, and then wrote this. Wow. That palindrome is the ONLY way I can describe the most spontaneous, and the most amazing Fruhead experience I've ever had. So glad I was able to share it with so many close friends, make some new ones, hear some amazing music (Fruvous is always amazing, of course, but this show was indescribable), and have one of the best times in my entire life.
So this was the show...this was THE show....I don't know what words describe this. Sometimes I have to let things sink in before I go about describing them, but I don't know when that might happen. I don't know where to start - I suppose i should start at the beginning.
(All scene related material deleted)
The band walks out on stage and is greeted with a shot of scotch and a setlist each. Not their own setlists, mind you, but ones prepared specifically for them. They didn't need them. We were told that "this show is going to be special." Hold on to your chairs - here we go!
Poor Napoleon - sung by Jian with only Dave's accompaniment on guitar. A beautiful way to start the show, and need I say, a surprise. So far, so good...
Love Set Fire - sung beautifully by Murray. Dave's accordion took the violin parts. This song absolutely soared. Absolutely the best I have ever heard this song done, which of course is not very many (don't think they have done this much), but I can't imagine it sounding better. I think at this point that we may be seeing "The Convention Redux."
Present Tense Tureen - introduced with a vignette from Dave about how his parents reacted to this song. Turns out they think it is about drugs!!! Everyone know it is about an elf.
Misplaced - back to the convention set? Jian picked up the guitar and Mike took the violin parts on harmonica. This is one of my favorite of their songs and I think by this point, everyone knew this show would continue to go deeper into the Frülight Zone....
Mistra Know-It-All - When Früvous plays Stevie Wonder, I pay attention. Everyone run right out and pick up Innervisions!! At this point, we are at the fourth song that I have never seen them perform in concert. 4 out of 5?? What next?
Horseshoes - A high gear version of Horseshoes.....umm....
You Will Go the Moon - after a quick change to the a cappella setup and a brief silly introduction, they sang You Will Go to the Moon. At the end of the song, Murray started snapping quickly in time and I believe they picked up the tempo. I think this was the first time I had heard this done in such a manner.
Kids Song - I am glad to report that this is so much more fun than all their other a capaella numbers. I can't even think what else to say!
Minnie the Moocher - they put on the hats, I wrote down Boo Time and stuck my notebook back in my little bag. Next thing I know Grampa Früvous is on stage singing Minnie the (freakin) Moocher!!! And not the Cab Calloway lyrics, but lyrics written "30 miniutes before the show." We were treated to lyrics about Cal's problems in Somerville, Marcus's disappearance from the merch table (anyone have any background?), and some other gems of MikeRhyme! We got to sing along. We got to hear some scatting. What a groovy number!!
Beth (vamp) - this was one of many vamps of the evening. This one became a verse and a sort-of-verse from the Kiss classic, Beth. It was played in response to "we're going to play a slow song now..."
Michigan Militia - slow song my ass....straight ahead, rockin Militia. Murray's bass (someone else will have to fill in the brand name) sounded amazing.
Johnny Saucep'n - after the chant of "Eat! Eat! Eat!" we were treated with another Johnny...fast and furious as always!!!
No No Raja - a confession here....when this started I ran downstairs to....ummm....if you've been there you know....so I sang this song waiting in line being stared at by the other linemates.
Spiderman (vamp) - someone was flushing and I had a hard time hearing how much of this played and even if any lyrics were sung before I distinctly heard them break into...
Jockey Full of Bourbon - Mike! Mike! Mike! Were we ever going to stop being treated to gems??
Video Bargainville - hadn't heard this in a while. Didn't miss it. Sounded good, but in my mind, a burp along the way.
Let Us Be Something (vamp) - Dave made up this one as he went along. A song about how they wish they could be special like yeP! or the Nields (members of yeP! were definitely there - maybe the Nields were as well?) was pure silliness at its best!
Get in the Car - I'm alright....look what I'm driving! This led with the briefest (is this a word?) of introductions right into...
Right Wing Shit - the old loud version, the way I like it! And we are not going to stop rocking. It was time now for...
BBC Heaven - the Matthew Sweet penned song from Austin Powers. When I saw this on the NYE setlist, I thought "darn! I'll never get to see this played!" but oh was I wrong. The patient soul gets rewarded!
Psycho Killer - Murray starts. Jian thanks us and tells us this will be on the live album (!!!) and then we get the best PK ever!
And after the cheering and clamoring for more, the boys came out and continued with...
That song about Seymour from LIttle Shop of Horrors (vamp) - Mike sang this one briefly to many raucous ovations from the crowd, but this was not the end....
Authors - A straight forward, joyful Baby Loves. Nothing fancy, but after the "yeahhhh"
River Valley - I just love this transition and River Valley is a better song when it follows Authors. I don't know why this is true, but it is.
Then they left the stage.....and instead of going outside to catch their breath, they went up the stairs to the balcony. They found a place to play and Mike broke into The Drinking Song. As if you could tell. The mixed voices of the crowd carried the day - the harmonies were beautiful, and the song just rang out like it never has before. Time stood still....I don't remember where one verse started and another ended.....and then it was over.
I said goodbye to the gathered Früheads - everyone was pretty much blown away. Some were overcome with emotion - everyone seemed completely spent like they had just been through a draining experience akin to a marathon. I feel lucky to have been there tonight, and I feel lucky that I live so near to the Iron Horse (which I call my home venue) and have been able to see them 5 times there. Each time has been more amazing than the time before. I urge all of you to make the trip next time they play there.
They said it would be a special show and they did not lie. I didn't have particularly much to say apart from an annotated setlist, which I guess I will have to let speak for itself for now. I just know from the look in the eyes of those who were there that we had all seen specialness ad infinitum.
Thanks very much to Moxy Früvous and I will see you soon!!!
Smiles (as wide as the Grand Canyon),
From Josh Woodward:
What? Nobody has posted the setlist for Iron Horse yet? Here it is, and no, I'm not kidding. ;-) Poor Napoleon Love Set Fire Present Tense Tureen Misplaced Mistra Know-It-All Horseshoes Moon KIds Minnie the Moocher Michy - Sauce No No Raja Jazz Spidey Intro> Jockey Full o' Bourbon Video Bargainville Get in the Car Your New Boyfriend (old) BBC 1 Psycho Killer E1: Authors>River E2: Drinking (off-mic, from balcony)
Sunday, 3/8/98 (aka, FruCon 1.5)
I had hoped to wake up early to take the T to MIT and pick up a Jack Florey short, but I got up at noon instead. After playing on the computer and wasting time, Ofer, Moz and I picked up Sly from MIT and headed to Iron Horse. Everyone was there already, so we made our rounds. Chris O. actually showed up with Heather. Kudos. :-) I met a local Fruhead from Northampton named Emily, who was very cool but wasn't on the net. She was my concert buddy for the night. But enough of the scene.
The show. Oh dear. This show can _not_ be done justice with words. A group of Fruheads had prepared a fake setlist and placed them on stage for the guys, hoping they'd play them. I checked the lists out, and they were realistic, but they wouldn't happen. Fruvous comes out in top spirits, looks at the lists, and laughs. Jian mentioned that it was going to be a special night anyway. Umm.. yeah?
POOR NAPOLEON. No way!!! Jian knows how much I love this one. *grins* What a wonderful wonderful way to open up the show. Permagrin mode on.
LOVE SET FIRE. Improved since the convention a little, with Dave on accordion with the violin parts. Beautiful in all ways.
PRESENT TENSE TUREEN. As good as the night before. They must be working on this, because the harmonies sound stronger, and Dave sounds better on the banjo, improvising a bit more it seems.
MISPLACED. No way! As soon as Jian took the guitar, I freaked out. This truly was a Fruhead convention, in many ways. Beautiful, even though Jian forgot a pick. ;)
MISTRA KNOW-IT-ALL. Yay!! This song has somehow managed to evade me, and I was not let down. Sweet and soulful. The crowd was grooving.
HORSESHOES. Rarer than Fly, and occasionally more enjoyable for me. This was one of those times. Just what I needed.
YWGTTM. Sorry, I'm tired of this song.
KIDS SONG. Funniest version I've seen. Huge breaks, and cute snide audience comments. Nice stuff. :) After this they get their hats on for Boo Time? Nay...
MINNIE THE MOOCHER. Another one I'd never seen! Featured some great verses about Cal's experiences in Boston, and the fact that it's not Marcus at the merch table, it's Murph. Murph, not Marcus. :-) I really liked this one. After the song, there was a quick tease of "Beth".
MICHIGAN MILITIA. The pace picks up here and doesn't come down for the rest of the show. A turning point, if you will.
JOHNNY SAUCEP'N. A fast-singing, hand-jiving good time.
NO NO RAJA. I enjoyed this more than usual.
SPIDEY>JOCKEY. A spiderman (jazz) tease introed Jockey Full of Bourbon. I really took off here, I *LOVE* Jockey. It's a bit of an obsession. I'll usually judge the quality of the show by if there was a Jockey, and if so, how good it was. And let me tell you, this was a damn fine Jockey.
VIDEO BARGAINVILLE. Mama always used to say, if you can't say anything nice about something, don't say it at all. Thus, I'll bite my tongue about the placement of Bargainville in a great set.
GET IN THE CAR. The start of the truly energetic end of the show. In the intro of this, Jian mentions how he wishes they were like yeP! or something to that effect. Dave takes this off in an improv song, "Let Us Be Something". I'm not sure if this was a cover tease or not, but it was _great_. :-)
YOUR NEW BOYFRIEND. Rocking version. 'Twas pretty good, but standard. Introduced with the lame "you know, the problem is that my ex-girlfriends new boyfriend is a right wing shit..", though. *grins*
BBC1. I haven't decided about this one yet. It was my second time seeing this (2/3 times it's been played, I think), and it didn't take off for me. But neither did Psycho Killer at first.. and speaking of which..
PSYCHO KILLER. Boom. Great version, and a great set ender!
RIVER. Nice to hear this, but I was hoping for an equally special encore for a special show. Perhaps Down From Above>Nuits>Morphee? Marion Fruvous? That's Any Good>Photosynthesis? Ok, now I'm _really_ dreaming. :-)
DRINKING. Just plain nice. Sung off-mic from the balcony. Made me happy. :)
Ok, so if you couldn't tell, this was officially the show from hell. Wow. We were all stunned to say the least. Every Fruhead was just dazed in a big way after this. Almost all agreed that this was the best Fruvous show ever. I wasn't _at_ MIT, but I'm a huge admirerer of the show, and I think this blew it away. It was better than 12/4, better than NYE '97, better than Lee's, and comparable to FruCon (but that wasn't really a show). The funniest part was that the guys were like "Oh, you liked that?" after the show. *laughs*
I didn't sleep that night. I took the 5:00 T stop back to the airport, flew to Montreal, checked out the city a bit, and flew back home. I slept for 15 hours straight and now I'm here behind the keyboard, raving about the absolutely amazing weekend I've had.
Thanks to all of you who made this possible and enjoyable. My first East Coast Fruvous jaunt has been more than enjoyable.
From Zard Snodgrass:
Okay, HERE is the real reason I've been wanting to do this review!! WHAT an amazing show!! This was the BIG ONE - my absolute favorite show I've ever been to. Ever. I mean really ever. Supplanting MIT, Sudbury, all the greats of the past couple of years. The songs were amazing - well done, rare songs, in a great order - and the give and take and general atmosphere with the audience was amazing. There was room to dance, tons of Fruheads, and folks on the balconies who really seemed into it. My favorite thing about a Sunday show at the Iron Horse (although I'd still rather see Sat. night shows there, so I wouldn't have to always take Monday off…) is that you know people are there to see Fruvous - it's not just that there are some people who sat around and said "Hmm, it's Saturday, let's go out! Why not the Iron Horse?!" Nope, it's people who have trekked there from far and near through a chill, driving rain, to see Fruvous at Fruvous mecca. I don't know what it is about that place, but they pull out all the stops there, and it really is a treat (human treat, that would be) to see them there. It's intimate, there's dancing and sitting, nice wood panelling, good sound (no fizzing in the speakers like there was last time), and very nice people (and apparently good food, since Fruvous always comment(s?) on it from stage). The only drawback is the lack of decent bathroom space - only two holes for everyone there. The benefit is that they're co-ed, so guys have to wait in line just as much as we do! (thus answering the sometime-question of "is a Zard male or female?")
So, back to the actual show… The doors opened at 5:30, and I was out running around trying to find other Fruheads out and about in Northampton, but eventually, around 6:15, I made my way into the club. I'm looking around, trying to find someone familiar (I drove in alone from Boston, since I'd spent some time visiting with cousins), and head up to the balcony, assuming that Jason will be set up there with Number 5 (his taping robot - anyone remember Met Café?!). As I'm going up the stairs, I pass Chris O coming down - SURPRISE!! I grab his shirt and he walks me silently down to Heatherrr, and we have a happy, happy, joy, joy moment!! Then other folks start to come in, and I had the pleasure of actually meeting Adam Hartfield this time, as well as Nate DeRose, and many other happy Fruheads and friends! I was already glowing by this point, but glowed even more at the news that there were fake set lists set up on stage for the guys to find on arrival. Cal fiddled with them when he was doing his final check-over before they went on stage, but apparently he left them in prominent positions, since they were the first thing the guys came across. They picked them up, started looking at them, and said "hmm…fake set lists…" but then Jian tossed his aside and said, "well, we're not going to use those, but we have a special set planned anyways!" and then they kicked straight into Poor Napoleon (originally by Elvis Costello, off Blood and Chocolate - Chris, correct me if I'm wrong), followed by all the great things that Gordon mentioned. It was really and truly a transcendent gift of a show. For those of you who were there who didn't make the Fruhead convention, in a way you actually DID attend the convention. Anytime they play Misplaced and Love Set Fire, to me, that counts almost as a Fruhead convention! This kept up all the way through Beth, by Kiss, which I got the impression that not too many people remembered… :-} but I loved, and ending with the spectacular off-mike Drinking Song from the top of the steps, where the audience was singing along louder than Fruvous. They had asked management to bring up the house lights (though not the really bright cleaning lights), and so we could look at everyone around there who was belting it out - even those balcony types who had to look at their butts now, as they commented. (not their OWN butts, but Fruvous's butts, no ifs, ands, or butts) Emotions ran high, and there was tight clinging, swaying, and a bit of sobbing from overwhelming happiness… I just sat there and swayed or danced with a big shit-eating grin on my face the entire night, not believing how wonderful it all was. What a way to end a weekend!! Then I headed back to the hotel with my impromptu but very welcome roomful of crashers and tried to eek out a little sleep… Again, it was great seeing everybody, and meeting all the new folks. Can't wait to see you all again later this spring!
Thanks for listening!! I'm always sorry that I don't remember more details,
but I blame it on my usual Fruvous high. My head gets all fuzzy afterwards,
and I can't remember a thing! Ooops.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: