This isn't a real review. I'll leave that to Sheryl and Moz and anyone else who jotted down a setlist. This is essentially just my impressions of the show/weekend in something akin to paragraph form.
This was my WXPN weekend. Bela Fleck and Flecktones were so great Friday night. I ran into bass player Victor Wooten in the Penn's Landing version of a dark alley on the way to my car. Amazingly, I managed not to fall to my knees to worship him and had a friendly little conversation. He has a great talent for taking a person to newer and newer levels of awe as a show progresses. Wow! The rest of The Flecktones and Bela himself were fabulous too. I was particularly impressed with the saxaphone/flute player who managed to play 2 saxaphones at once, creating a unique harmony. Great start to the weekend!
Saturday, the WXPN weekend continued as I slipped down to Penn's Landing to see the band of a guy I went to high school with...Marah. I was able to catch Lucida Williams' sound check. Most of it actually. The crowd was actually really into it, applauding after each song, which sort of weirded her out for the first burst of applause, but then she got into the rhythm of it. Marah started off the day so I was able to jam to their country rock sound, before popping up to the Member Area to say hi. From there, I caught most of the Olu Dara set which was fun too. Dashed away from Singer-Songwriter and met up with Sheryl and Barb at the airport. We waited for Moz's plane to arrive and caught up. Later that night we all slipped over to Jen's favorite Irish bar in Delaware, singing along with the performer (it was that sort of place *grin*) and having a rollicking good time.
Sunday...wow. Sunday started with the disapointment of Rob calling to say he wasn't coming. :-( Then, my friends Joanne, Ted and Kevin were *50* minutes late in meeting me at the South Street Diner. Very nice, guys ;-) But this day was destined to go well and even these setbacks couldn't stop it. Got in as the gates opened and immediately spotted Maige. Yay! Sheryl, Barb, Moz and Jen and her friends weren't too far behind. We all just sort of bummed around Penn's Landing for the next 2 hours, waiting for the event to get started. And it did in fine fashion, Mary Arden Collins was great. Silenced the crowd with an a capella opening. Wow. Next up was James McMurtry and then Patty Griffin who was also fabulous. Got a much-deserved standing ovation after her set and was welcomed back for an encore. :-)
Next up was.........
The VW Beetle Auction. The bidding was a bit spirited and at one point the took out what appeared to be Murray's microphone. But Cal later said that it wasn't one of his. Had it been, the auction would have moved to a WHOLE new level of spirited ;-)
Finally, Moxy Fruvous takes the stage. This was the only band who I didn't feel cheated by. They had a rockin', fun set that didn't let up for a second. Banter was mostly focussed on "The hippie on the post," a guy in the audience standing on the concrete support for one of the flag poles. Jian said that he was like one of those dancing sunflowers when you play and they started a little improv. They couldn't have picked a better person. The hippie obligingly started to dance to the little improv about him. Later in the set, Jian wondered what it would be like when he got "maudlin." This started a bluesy improv from Mike. The hippie instantly pulled a clown-like frown and Jian just lost it, cracking up. YAY! As I've said before, the better a show is, the less I recall in a clear, consise manner. I remember pretty much nothing from last night. :-) Just a few highlights. Such as....Sad Girl. I like the back up harmonies that Dave, Mike and Murray have added at the end. Very nice. Rounds out the sound quite a bit. The best for me, though, was just combining my hometown friends with my fruhead friends and folks I had met that day. Lots of laughter and fun.
And apparently all of Penn's Landing agreed with mel. I've never seen a line for cds that long in my life. No one else had lines like that. Go Fruvous.
Francis Dunnery closed out the night. He sounded great from the Member Area, but I never actually got to SEE him :-( Ah well...next time, Francis :-)
All in all, a FABULOUS weekend. Thanks to everyone who shared it with me.
From the 88.5 XPN Xpress - WXPN Member's Newsletter (July/August 1998):
The ever undefinable music of Moxy Fruvous will have everyone, not just the Fruheads, dancing along at this year's Singer- Songwriter Weekend. Their most recent CD, "You Will Go To the Moon," features the entirely too catchy, "Michigan Militia" and that wonderfully campy remake of the BeeGees' "I've Gotta Get a Message To You." The canadian natives released their first album on a self-titled cassette in 1992 which went gold in Canada. Since then they have been charming audiences throughout the US and Canada with extensive touring to highlight their live act.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer (7/10/98):
Singer Songwriter Weekend
For an outrageously low $5 a day ($2 if you can pass for, say, 11), you can sample a wide range of artists -- sullen (James McMurtry), goofy (Moxy Fruvous), trashy (Southern Culture on the Skids), and brilliant (Lucinda Williams) -- this weekend at Penn's Landing. Saturday holds the most promise. Marah will open in support of its outstanding but uncommercial Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight (Black Dog). One of the year's most remarkable debuts, the flamboyantly singular Cut the Crap has propelled the local quartet to the very brink of not making it big. Lucinda Williams, much lionized but not much for time management, will close the day with previews of the long-awaited Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Mercury). Her fourth album of original material will undoubtedly become a lightning rod for hyperbolic praise, most of it deserved. Saturday will be one of her first shows after its release.
-- Fred Beckley
What a weekend!!!! After driving to and from Toronto on Thursday, and Niagara Falls Friday, it seemed like there would be no way we could make it to Philadelphia and back on Sunday!! Well, there is always a way where Fruvous is concerned!!! Although, I am beginning to realize I got more sleep in college!! Since Chris had an interview on Monday he decided it would be best if he didn't go, so it was a girl's day out!!! Jo, and I picked Jen up around 10:00 (we were 2 hours late... Bygones!!!). We arrived in Philadelphia at 4:00, parked the car and wandered down to Penn's Landing.
Penn's Landing is right on the water, and is a very nice back drop for a show. We immediately saw Toby and Cal and knew all was well!! We had some time before the show so we walked around the waterfront. Once we went inside we met Susan who is from the area. She told us that Cricket and the rest of the Philly Fruhead crew had an area staked out that was very close to the stage. We ended up getting even better spots standing right in front of "Stage Murray/Jian" WHOHOO!!! We also met Rich from Wilkes Barre ( who very kindly offered to help if we needed any on the way home, but we made it through with no problems!!)
Moxy came on around 6:15. Right after WXPN, the radio station that was sponsoring the event, auctioned off a new VW Beetle. They opened with a capella Message, which I have always loved as the opener. It just sets the mood, especially for an outside festival show!! (I have a hard time choosing between that and the new extended Sahara opening as to which is my favorite). That was followed by Authors, Get in the Car, and BJ.
It was right around this time that Jian noticed "The Hippie on the Post". The "Hippie" was a man that was standing on one of the posts that were located throughout the park. Jian commented that every time they started to play he would boogie like one of those dancing flowers!! It was very funny!!
We were then treated to Sad Girl. I love that song more & more each time I hear it!!! That was followed by Moon, and Grandpa Fruvous made an appearance for Minnie the Moocher!! The rest of the set consisted of Michigan, Johnny Saucep'n, KOS/GE&H and they finished up with Love Potion Medley. My only complaint is that the guys weren't allowed to come back for an encore, no matter how loud/much we screamed!!! It was still a fabulous show and well worth the trip!!
After the show we hung around and talked to Toby, who had a very long line!!! YAY!!!! We decided to leave around 9:30, and made it back to Rochester around 3:30!!
On my scale of 1 to 4 Budgies this show rates a 3 1/4!!!
The setlist: Message (a capella) Authors Car BJ Sad Girl YWGTTM Minnie Michy Saucep'n KOS/GE&H (short version) closed with: Love Potion Medley No encore :(
Wow, what a weekend! Friday Beth and I went up to Penn's Landing and met Mary for the first night of the Singer/Songwriter Festival to catch Bela Fleck. My first live Fleck, and it was his 40th birthday! Micala Majune (ok spelled wrong, I know) from WXPN brought out a cake and we all sang Happy Birthday. Bela seemed flustered and tried to deflect the attention by making us sing Happy Birthday to FutureMan too. Their newest member -Jeff Collins- stole my breath and knees away with his killer sax and Ian Anderson style flute. (you know what they say about flutists. . .) Where was I . . oh yeah, so I've added Fleck right after Fruvous for my favorite group to follow fanishly. My only regret about Friday night was not being close enough to the stage to watch Bela's hands. Sigh - next time.
Saturday I rushed around to finish my errands before Sheryl, Barb, and Moz were to show up at around 7. I missed. Leaving a note on my door "Grocery Store - BRB", I came back to find all three hiding in a fort they built by tying a blanket across the nook beside my apt stairs. The wanted to know who "Grocery Store" was that I addressed the note to, and when was he showing up? (wise-acres).
Dora showed up shortly after and we schmoozed for a while. The 3 erstwhile travelers collapsed in a heap on the floor for an hour or two before Jeff arrived and I piled everyone (all 6 of us) into my '66 Dart (MiLady) and we headed out to meet Mary at O'Friels. Danny Quinn was playing, Sheryl and Moz were playfully requesting Fruvous songs and were surprised when he actually played "Goodnight Irene" - his version. Danny was surprised at the volume from our table on the choruses (hee hee). We also elicted a raised eyebrow at our proficiency with the Hand Jive during his 60s medley. Home to crash around midnight or 1 am.
Sunday morning, after showers and cinnamon rolls, we piled into Barb's car (it has AC) and I led a small pilgramage to Delaware's Highest monumented point. All of 10 minutes out of our way to Penn's Landing. One photo op and a wild-goose chase later we were on our way again. A local told us there was another plaque on the ground at the "actual" highest point so Moz cavorted across the field and we wandered through a trailer park but we couldn't find it. (I have a new quest now).
We hit Penn's Landing around 1:30 and quickly found Mary saving space for us down front stage Murray. Met LOTS of FruHeads in that same area (surprise, surprise). With my horrible memory for names I am not going to try to list everyone here, but if any are reading this I enjoyed meeting all of you! Staking our claim with a blanket, we all dispersed into the concert grounds to explore. About an hour later, we all ended up dipping out feet in the same fountain, babbling and splashing away happily.
There were four groups on before Fruvous. The first was a local woman I had heard before - Mary Arden Collins. Black hair, black dress, black glasses, black guitar. Very much a "Coffee House" look. She came out and started the day off with a very strong acapella solo before bringing out her band. I am ashamed to say I took a nap during the second act, but I think I was applauding in my sleep. When I became alert again he was still on, a crowd was beginning to line the railing in front of the stage, and the FruHeads to my left were decorating themselves with Sheryl's markers. Dora and I went on a quest for liquids which lasted into the third band, but we listened while we wandered. I had been hearing people rave about Patty Kline all day so we were back on the blanket (and kicking other people off it) for her set. The crowd between the concrete steps and the stage was now thick, but most were sitting down so it was ok. I was disappointed with Patty. She came out in a purple sundress with her red hair pulled up in two pony tails over her ears and all I could think of was "Oh my God, its Pippi Longstocking!" It was a bit hard to take her seriously after that image. And her music was a bit overdone for me, I couldn't hear a lot of her vocals for the crashing of the guitar and the thumping of the bass.
We sat and blew soap bubbles at the crowd during the auction of the WXPN special edition autographed 1998 VW Beetle, and encourgaed the bidding to go higher. Hey, it's not MY money. By this time, the crowd between us and the stage was on its feet, thicker than a brick, and not moving. Beth and Jeff managed to weasel through and we all squished together even more to make room for them with us. When the auction was over Kathy, the woman who does WXPN's Children's Corner, gave a wonderfully spastic introduction and Fruvous took the stage.
And I do mean TOOK the stage. And held it for a ransome of enthusiastic applause, which they received in willing abundance. The week's rest at home has done the Lads good. They all bounded across the stage leaping and spining with energy, which we caught and threw back at them as we leapt to our feet and welcomed them to Philadelphia (although Jian called it Pittsburgh again-heehee). Framed in the airy stage, with the Delaware River sparkling in the background the Lads were a welcome sight and sound. They mentioned the TLA as a great venue they had played before, and when the audience cheered, they said they meant the TLA in Seattle(?). Murray said that apparently there was a TLA in Philly too, and apologized for the confusion. After the first song or two, they were commenting on Penn's Landing and mentioned that the stage area, which had concrete steps for the audience and several tall flag poles holding up triangular blue and gold sunshades, was like a ship and must just sail away after the concert was done and wasn't that efficient?
Jian picked up the improv about "the hippie on the post" from a guy standing/dancing on the cement base of one of the flagpoles, and expressed empathy by saying he was a polesitter himself.
Near the end of the concert, during ?????, Jeff nudged me and pointed to Dave. Dave was deep in his solo bit (on the red Les Paul?) and had broken a string. Looking closer, I noticed that the dangling string had a smaller shadow. Dave was playing with 2 busted strings! But if ya didn't see the strings, or know the solo intimately, ya would never have known. Awesome respect for Dave from this corner! He tried to twist them out of the way for the rest of the song, but that was all the attention they got.
Kathy came back out and cut short our attempts to get an encore. We cheered and screamed over her until she spread her arms like a teacher with an unruly class and shouted "ok - STOP!" And was very surprised when we did. She pleaded the lateness of the show and said no encore. But she fervently marketed the Früvous CDs with the ardor of an American fan who couldn't find them them for soooooo long, and directed everyone to Tobey saying "They are very hard to get here, so GET THEM NOW!!!" And it must have worked. When she was done there was a mass exodus for the Merch table. Yikes! And Yippie!
I wanted to just sit and revel. I am never much good for anything for at least an hour after a Moxy Fruvous concert. But Sheryl, Barb, and Moz were on their feet and running. Beth and Jeff disappeared. And Dora wanted to head to the Merch Table. I delayed Dora for about half an hour or so, and got Alex to watch our stuff. Everyone else had taken their stuff with them, but I wanted to come back and hear Francis Dunnery. There was still a hugh line at the Merch table, so we got our cards stamped and hung out for a while. The Merch Table was just below the VW Bug, and we saw the Lads dash past on their way to sign the bug. And then dash back again to go sign things at the WXPN members area. Murray and Jian got acosted between the bug and the stage and signed a few autographs there. Mike and Dave made it back safely.
Somewhere in this mess, Dora and I lost our rides. Barb had disappeared, and when we went looking for her, we lost Beth. So we were kinda paniked until I found the car in the parking lot to prove they were still here. Dora and I camped by the gate so we wouldn't miss them, and Mary came down from the MXPN members area to chat. When we all got together, we ended up dashing up the steps because the members area had opened to non-members at this point.
On the way to the car, we determined that everyone was staying for the Ocean
City show tomorrow. Yay! I was expecting Pixel around midnight or 1 am, so
everyone else hit Denny's at 1 while I waited, and took a nap for an hour.
Pixel showed up at 2:30, just before everyone else got back. He and I went to
breakfast around 3 while they crashed. Home at 5, shower, change, into work by
7. Wheeeeeee! One down, one to go!!
Some other tidbits from the performance include: