1/2 Thorn Horse Wood Downsizing Thorn Down From Wood Too Careful Thorn Too Cold Wood Sad Girl Thorn Doorstep Wood Indy Thorn Nuits Wood Earthquakes Thorn Organ Wood If Thorn Miss[placed] Wood (Dave-o on violin! Much improved) Tureen Wood (thus breaking the alternating rhythm) Splatter Thorn --- Fly Wood --- Hold Thorn MPG Thorn (making up for that Wood Wood)
Whoo-ee!! A show that I never thought would or could happen - all of us just kept sitting there with our jaws open as one after another of the oldies was hauled out, sounding great, interspersed with all the best of the new stuff. Wow!! I've been wanting them to do a quieter, folkier set at a place like the Ramshead or the Birchmere for years now, since they're the perfect venues to do that in (sit-down and no talking), and Jian actually said afterwards that he'd been planning this set for a couple of days, in preparation for the atmosphere at the Ramshead.
Just a note before I start heading over to Borders for the first in-store (I *love* that they're playing right around the corner from where I work!)
Firstus, a big >hug< to all those I met for the first time last night! SO good to finally put some faces with names!
Here's what I scribbled on my napkin during the show... The stage lights were so dim, I doubt *very* much I'll be able to do anything with some of the photos I took sans-flash.
-Half as Much -Horseshoes -banter about it being a sold out show; apologies to the people *way* off to the side (sort of); the beginning of the school bus theme -Downsizing -Down From Above -Hangers-on to the Human Race; more the school bus theme -Too Careful -It's Too Cold -issues about album producers; Classic Trek banter -Sad Girl -On Her Doorstep -the Care-free gum ad meets Barney Miller -James Kirk is the Universal Solider -Independence Day -"What I did for love" -Broadway medleys -Nuits de Reve (!!) I was *so* excited to see this live!) -Commercialism and insurance -Earthquakes -Organ Grinder -Name-that-movie -If Only You Knew -Misplaced -Present Tense Tureen -Splatter Splatter E1: Fly E2: I Will Hold On My Poor Generation
More thoughts soon, have to get to Borders!
Someone wake me up... please? The show has ended, I've driven home, and I'm *still* not entirely sure if my eyes and ears were giving me an accurate account of the evening or not. I thought last year's Ramshead show was great. I thought the other 9 shows I'd seen besides that one were great. They are *nothing* compared to the show at the Ramshead last night...
In the beginning... I arrived at the Ramshead around 6:30, a half hour before the scheduled door time, and got to hear the beginning of the sound check. Most of the usual stuff - Half as Much, Sad Girl, Downsizing... Down from Above... It's Too Cold... and at that point I realized that we were in for quite a show if they were "practicing" those songs.
We got in and I got to my seat... saw a lot of people (as usual) and witnessed a very unspectacular opening act. So unspectacular that I don't even know his name, his band, or what his album is called, or if he even has an album. He didn't say much about that...
About 20 minutes worth of intermission, while Cal busily set up the stage. Towards the end of the 20 minutes, he brought out the towels (from home), placed them near where the guys would be standing, and deposited a violin on top of the congas. This got us all thinking, since there aren't exactly a lot of Fruvous songs where the live arrangements contain violin... well...
They came out and played Half as Much first... ok, so it's not like last year (first four from Wood) but maybe it'll be the top 4...5...6 or more from Thornhill.
Nope. Next was Horseshoes, and since the Ramshead is a "quiet" venue, the audience didn't get to sing the first line of the last refrain. It's been a while since I've heard them sing it, but it still sounded good. :)
Seems like a normal ordinary show so far... they always play those songs. Then we were treated to Downsizing, with Dave doing an *excellent* job on the slide guitar. Pretty amazing how he can mix slide with regular chords during the song... I was impressed. :)
There was some talking in here, but I don't really remember much of the talking... it seemed... insignificant. :) Down from Above was next, but seemed strangely placed - I've never heard of it being used mid-set before, usually an opener for the Wood set. But I'm not complaining. I love the song, and this was only my second time hearing it live, so it was good.
I was writing down the setlist as they played it, and when they started You Can't Be Too Careful, I noticed something... the first 5 songs were alternating between Thornhill and Wood. So I marked them in my notebook with little Ts and Ws, and wrote a "W" on the line below Too Careful, expecting a Wood song. And we got it. It's Too Cold, with both verses and the piano solo, and the instrument dropout in the end... oooh, really nice. Another one I'd never seen live before.
By the end of the song, I'd written a little "T" on the next line, and that went for Sad Girl, which sounded really good live... I have no idea why I was originally unimpressed by this song, but I think it's wonderful now.
Now that the pattern was established, many people were expecting it to continue. We got an amazing rendition of On Her Doorstep, which might very well be the only song where the lead singer performs it from behind the keyboard. It looked a little odd, but it sounded great. I had also observed that until this, the Thornhill/Wood pairings all had similar sounds in the titles - Half/Horse, Downsizing/Down, Too Careful/Too Cold... but that was probably a coincidence. Right? :)
Independence Day was next, and I forget how they introduced it (as one might be able to tell from the set they were playing, the "banter" was not what stood out in my mind :)
And they followed it with Nuits de Reve. Wow. Fourth song in the set I'd never seen live before. But not the last, because Earthquakes was next, in an arrangement very different from on the album, but that's not surprising, since most of them can only play one instrument at a time. Fun song.
Without switching instruments, they introduced the next song, with a couple of false start intros, "If you see this guy, you might say........." was said a couple of times, and finally finished off with "Hey, Organ Grinder!" and was played with much audience clapping.
Switched instruments around again for If Only You Knew, and then came the moment we had been waiting for... the violin. And a story about one of the early tours Fruvous made, back in 1993 or something. It was a sad story, of how the tour helped end what had been a great relationship, and the song Misplaced came out of that experience. This is my absolute favorite Fruvous song, and I thought I'd never get to hear it live. It brought tears to my eyes (long distance relationships are, unfortunately, not unfamiliar to me)
And then..... The Present Tense Tureen. But wait... that's not on Thornhill! It's on Wood. Well, the song after it was Splatter Splatter, and I'd guess that it makes a better set closer than Tureen, and it would also be odd sandwiching it between Misplaced and Tureen.
And that ended the main set. They came back for encores, and continued with the theme, playing Fly, another of my absolute favorites. Although at this point a lot of people were becoming preoccupied with what *hadn't* been played yet, and before the second encore began, someone shouted "Bed and Breakfast!" and was told that they'd have to wait for next year's Ramshead show for that. We got a closer of I Will Hold On and My Poor Generation, which made a wonderful end to an amazing show.
I'm not sure they can ever top this one. At least not in my mind.
other stuff... very little banter, but when they went onto some tangent,
it lasted quite a while. someone else can tell you what all they talked
Some other tidbits from the performance include: