What a great show! What a great venue! All I can say is that shows like last nights is why I love Fruvous so much...
I got to Syracuse right on time for the opener... Sarah Harmer??? (sp?). She was very good (looking forward to seeing her again in Utica tonight). I claimed my spot (leaned against the post in the center of the room) and stayed there the whole evening... the room started to fill up quite a bit once Sarah ended her set... which is too bad. People missed a great opening act.
The lads came on stage around 10:30 and opened with "Down from Above", a song I had never seen performed live. They continued with the Wood album going into "Horseshoes", then "Fly" and then "Present Tense Tureen"... all performed brilliantly! I was psyched! I thought for sure I was going to hear "Poor Mary Lane" and "Organ Grinder" (another Wood song I have yet to hear live)... but alas, "PPT" was the last Wood song of the evening... they immediately delved into an energetic version of "Johnny Saucep'n", which after the song Murray made a comment about his lung capacity being pushed to the limit... "Kick in the Ass" followed. It seemed like one song went right into another with little time for any banter early on.
The lads took a pause to intro "YWGTTM" by chatting a bit about S.U. and then Neil Armstrong... some funny stuff all around... 'Neil Armstrong the Action Figure -- with Karate Chop Action!' Again... another great rendition of a popular Fru tune! Murray mistakenly called Neil Armstrong -- Neil Young -- and from there the banter took off! Jian made comments about a guy wearing a tie to the show and said that people should really start dressing up for the shows... from there they started working in some instruments but Dave took the improv in a new direction and was proud to stump the guys with his rendition of "Walking on the Moon". This went on for a while with bits of "Broadway" and "Golden Years" mixed in... very cool ditty! "Splatter, Splatter" followed... I had never heard this, and have listened to it a few times already since the show, and I really LOVE it! I was so wowed by this tune that my thoughts were focused on it and I missed the next bit of improv, but it was short and the lads went right into "Too Careful" (this song is growing on me).
Murray 'stunned' the crowd by announcing to Cal that the battery in his bass was dead, so the guys played an extremely cool version of The Kinks tune "So Tired" while Tobey "fixed" the bass. It still had some distortion when they started playing "When She Talks" so the guys stopped the song to borrow the opening act bass players bass (follow that?)... this is why I love Fruvous... they could have finished the song with the distortion and changed basses after, but they stopped and then started up again from the beginning... Jian said that by now, we all should know the words and to sing along ;)
Mike teased the intro to "Pisco" by saying the fish song they were about to sing was "Big Fish"... not so. The 'Strudel/Noodle' verse is back in and sounds great! I've always liked this version and missed it when they started leaving that verse out... I'm glad it's back in, and I really hope this song is on the new album! "River Valley" was next and "Get in the Car" followed... I'm starting to see a trend here (they've played these 2 songs back to back lately -- they go great together)!
Little did we know last night, that we as Fruvous fans were in for a special treat! Dave and Murray captivated us with the rarely played live version of "Bittersweet". The crowd was so quiet, Sprint could have used us for their pin drop commercials. I would like to have heard the infectious drum beat in the background, but I was thrilled just to hear Murray sing the song. Next up in the 'Moxy Fruvous Sectionals' was Jian and Mike... "Homeward Bound". Jian never ceases to amaze me... he can sound like Simon and Garfunkel, Michael Jackson, David Byrne, etc... the guy is incredible!
A rocking version of "King of Spain" got the crowd moving again. I was surprised "GE&H" didn't follow. "Darlington Darling" instantly made up for my initial minor disappointment though. They closed with a slightly milder version of "Love Potion"... I say milder only because Mike didn't break any guitar strings (he usually snaps 2-3 on that song alone). I would bet the costs for new ones after every show would add up after a while ;)
The guys came back out and Jian started up a bit of 'cheer leading' by raising his hands and lowering them to the get the crowd going while Dave tried to get the banjo 'working' for what looked to be "Michigan Militia". They gave up and started in with "Psycho Killer" instead. Jian was funny (as usual) with his intro... requesting silence with hand gestures, and looking a bit annoyed when someone clapped or yelled... he looked like he was having fun, and the crowd enjoyed it. I'm not sure if "Pyscho Killer" replaced "Michigan Militia" of if they just skipped that song totally... someone who snagged a set list can prolly verify this.
For their second encore, the lads dedicated "I Will Hold On" for Rodney... a tribute done with a lot of class and I really praise the guys for their thoughtfulness and compassion. Jian had a touching and moving intro speech for the song, and I'm sure everyone hopes to see Rodney back at some Fru shows real soon. The show ended with "My Poor Generation".
It was so good to hear a well played set with great sound and a good crowd, and despite the minor instrument problems, the guys put on a fantastic show that is among one of my favorites. The RIT and UofR shows were fun college shows, but this one was in a totally different category... extremely well done!
Looking forward to Utica!
From Tom Fazzio:
Finals are next week, but come on, why miss a Früvous concert in my hometown? Even if it *is* 3 hours away? After going to class during the day, I drove over to state (SUNY Potsdam) and picked up Amy [my eternal love and life mate]. Stopping at ticketbastered to pre purchase tickets (something I've only done for FrüCon), we began our trip out of town around 3:30 pm with CDs spinning to prep us. A quick stop in Watertown for McDonald's, then Amy gets excited about driving the van, so I let her drive the last hour to the mall (Carousel). Living in the North Country, the mall is an amazing building which must be worshiped and cherished. Then a short drive downtown and a search for quarters to get a parking pass, we ran into numerous happy people standing outside Styleen's - Norg, Dante, Chrissy. Before we stood in line, I caught a glimpse of Mike down an alley, told Amy, and she ran back and waved to him. We stood in line for about half an hour, just chatting about everything and nothing when the doors open and we get inside. We made our way to the front of the crowd, sitting on the staircase just 2 feet from Dave's mic stand; exactly where I was for my first Früvous concert ever.
The opener, Sarah Harmer, was decidedly a folk singer and to the two of us, not all that impressive. Sorry everyone, just not my type. I'd rather see the good 'ole Syracuse hometown heroes Johny Vegas or Hamell on Trial. She played from about 9 to 9:45 pm. The usual FrüDelay and they hit the stage at 10:25 pm.
A simple thanks and straight into...
Down From Above Horseshoes - sitting there holding Amy and hearing this song brought a tear to my eye.
Jian pauses for a second and asks the crowd, "Who knows the album Wood?" Cheers around the place and we get two more from the album...
Fly - the feelings were amazing as we held each other as we never had before Present Tense Tureen - the one song Amy wanted to hear, I saw the setlist and told her, "I think you'll be happy"
Johnny Saucep’n – after drawing in the crowd with those first four, the noise level was extreme when Jian pulled that little flute thing out. They really increased the pace tonight! Kick In The Ass – from absolutely no where Murray chimes in with the bass part and took the audience by surprise, but not to worry, we were very appreciative!
A super extended segue including chatter about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Jian makes the point that Buzz was going to be the man walking on the moon, but what kind of image is that, "American *Buzz* Aldrin"? Dave (in a wasted voice): "whoa - a stoner is on the moon, cool!"
You Will Go To The Moon Splatter Splatter – my first time hearing this song I came to quickly like it. Very upbeat song with great lyrics You Can't Be Too Careful When She Talks - Jian described this as he just wanted to sit down and write a few simple words which just mean a lot. Thank you Jian, this sure is a great song. Only problem was the bass gave out before this tune, but they started it anyhow only to stop after just under a minute or so. A run to the dressing room, Tobey brought back another bass for Dave to play for this song. This time it sounded great! Pisco Bandito - Every successful band has to sing about fish, they begin saying. Mike sang two lines of Big Fish, then this fun little tune gets going. River Valley - simply my all time favorite tune to hear live! Get In The Car - while Amy and I decided we don't listen to this song on the album, I greatly enjoy seeing the excitement on the stage during this one
A long-standing request by someone, Dave says this is a song they plain forgot, but will try to see what they can do...
Bittersweet (Dave on bass, Murray on metal guitar) – WOW! An unrehearsed version, Murray began the chorus accapella then Dave came in with some bass in the background. Murray really impressed a silent crowd with this song. While we were all singing the song, the place was silent except for Murray's voice floating like a "country rain on a city street" through the room. Homeward Bound (Jian vocals, Mike on acoustic) – besides Jian forgetting one line and flipping off the crowd (it was really quite funny!), this was quite the sing along for many and Jian really got into the song himself King Of Spain - hilarious as ever! I was hoping for GE&H to follow, but no this time Darlington Darling - is this a great tune to dance to or what? Love Potion #9
Psycho Killer (was Michigan Militia on setlist but banjo quit) – For the second time tonight, the instrument Dave was going to play (the banjo this time) absolutely wouldn't play. Murray stepped in keeping the bass line going while Mike & Dave scrambled to get guitars for this quick change of songs
I Will Hold On – with moving intro by Jian concerning Rodney’s health condition, he dedicated the song to Rodney. Amy's first time ever hearing this song, she knew this was the one song I have heard live a number of times, and each time I would stand completely still just listening. This time, for the first time, I held on tight to her as Jian let the lyrics out with a passion I now understand. My Poor Generation – a very interesting end to the evening, the whole crowd was expecting one more
Amy and I hung out for a bit waiting to say hi to the guys and get her picture taken with each of the four. Jian came out but instead of standing in one place, the guy was wandering ALL around Styleen's talking to people, as he walked by us, he stopped and said hi and I snapped the picture for her. Thanked us for being right up front and enjoying the show, then he was off talking to someone else as he made his rounds. Dave was friendly as ever as we talked with him and got the picture. He distinctly remembers us from being right up front as during the show he asked us where all the shots came from - there we a good number of drinks for him at his mic stand. Murray was as cool as ever, Amy told me how he is just so Murray-like, whatever that means. =) So she got her picture with him and we said thanks. Unfortunately Mike didn't come out so we left Styleen's around 1:15 am.
Ahhh, now for that 3 hour drive back to school for an 8 am class. I was extremely tired so Amy drove most of the way back while I gave her pointers on driving and life and everything; boy do *I* get weird at that hour. Pulling into her school at 4:15 am, we said our good-byes and I came back here only to sleep for what seemed like ever.
Thanks again for a wonderful concert and another FrüTrip. We look
forward to making more long drives to have such a great time, but short
drives are nice too...
Some other tidbits from the performance include: