Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock
Concert appearance: Thu., 18 May 1995

Union Chapel
Islington, England UK

Set list:

Surgery acoustic
Wide Open Star
Balloon Man
Shuffling over the Flagstones
De Chirico Street
Madonna of the Wasps
The Devil's Coachman
Glass Hotel
I'm Only You
I Something You
The Yip Song
Encore: I Am Not Me electric
Encore: I Often Dream of Trains
Encore: Listening to the Higsons
Encore: 52 Stations
Encore: Only the Stones Remain
Encore: Queen of Eyes
Encore: Insect Mother
Encore: Zipper in Your Spine

Hello. Just got back from the Union Chapel gig - it really is a
Church! As Robyn said: "This is really weird playing in a church;
it's like being in a church."
Everyone sat in pews with their plastic containers of beer from
the impromptu bar next door. They had all the heaters on, but it was
still a bit nippy in there. The stage was set up around the pulpit
and behind, you could see a balcony, and a large rose stained glass
window. The first band were two guitarists called Denzil - the
quality of songwriting was first class, even if the playing wasn't
virtuoso. I think I'll buy their record 'Pub'. "I don't know why we
chose that title - we must have thought it up in a pub." You might
like them too - my favourite line was "I thought you were Sid James,
but you were Jimmy Tarbuck" (on rising, angry chords!)
Next up were Edzio (sp?) who were a Mike McShane like-a-look and
this long haired guy who sung like a cross between early Billy Joel
and Springsteen. I'd prefer to see these guys live rather than buy
their record (Black Boots on Latin Feet, if you're interested. They
were pretty virtuoso on two guitars, and the big guy really punished
his, string bending until I thought there was a string missing.

Then Robyn: wearing one of his lizard shirts, he seemed as
relaxed as he ever gets on stage. Some usual banter - "They're like
polystrene, only they eat you." Two things stood out for me; he
introduced 'I'm Only You' with: "If you miss somebody enough, you
become them." and the Yip Song: "This is about one old veteran who
never saw VE Day".

Set List

Wide Open Star
Balloon Man (Yay! Boo!)
Shuffling over the Flagstones (*very* like Chinese Water Python)
DiChirico Street
Madonna of the Wasps
The Devil's Coachman
Glass Hotel (greeted with much excitement)
I'm Only You
I Something You
The Yip Song

Electric Encore 1
I Am Not Me
IODOT (Hurrah!)
Listening to the Higsons
52 Stations
Only the Stones Remain

Electric Encore 2
Queen of Eyes (which I mistook by the first chords for So You
Think You're In Love!)
Insect Mother
Zipper in Your Spine

I didn't realise that Robyn still had the green &
black diamond shirt he wore on GTLTHO.

My mate Andy had never seen Robyn before. He annoyed me all the
way home by going Woah-oh-woah at random intervals, but at least it
got into his brain...

Very good gig. Just as well, seeing as it took me forever to find
out where they were selling the tickets originally. I'm going to see
Al Stewart there on 24th June...

What a religious experience (the church notwithstanding).

First things first: Mr Hitchcock emerged wearing a shirt simply
covered in pink and yellow salamanders, neatly tucked into black jeans,
for the acoustic set. Then after a short break he re-emerged in black
and kelly green checkerboard print shirt, untucked but with cuffs
buttoned. And for the encore he sported his old favorite, that sort of
yellowy and bluey one with things on it that might be planets out of
"Le Petit Prince," but then again might not, untucked and with cuffs
unbuttoned. Is this progressive deshabille simply due to lack of time,
or is it a statement?

No way could I give you a set list (and apols in advance, I'm shit with
titles), but particular beauties included a new instrumental track
(acoustic) that appeared almost impossibly difficult to play, yet he
did . . . "Glass Hotel" made you want to cry, that one about the devil
in the nude made you crack up, his between-song patter about coping
with inanimate but tangible objects, like cupboard doors, and the
obscenely grinning horse who waits behind the half-open door which had
served its purpose simply by grinning obscenely and need not actually
emerge, or (before "I'm Only You") about how when you miss someone, you
become them . . . nothing to rival his remark about Captain Beefheart
at Dingwalls, mind, but if only I could be disturbed like Robyn! "I
Often Dream of Trains" was mindbogglingly beautiful. He even played
some Soft Boys stuff, "The Queen of Eyes" and "Zipper in My Spine."

And lotsa Felleaux Feg-x there from UK and US; lemons were carried but
in the end not needed (maybe next time red ribbons in our hair? white
carnations on our lapels?): Jonathan and his brother, Julian, Eden &
Ian. Anyone else?

And they had lotsa neat stuff to buy, including some live tapes I'd
never ever seen before, and a UK address for Mrs Wafflehead, which if
anyone doesn't have, I'd happily send 'em.

Yes, I am gushing. I want to marry him, if only so I can browse
through his shirt collection . . . .

And last but not least, I am finally the exceedingly proud owner of one
copy of the Infamous Issue Eighteen of *Ptolemaic Terrascope*, thanks
to superhuman efforts by Minus Zero record store and *PT*'s editor,

Okay, 'nuff said.


Just a few extra words about the Union Chapel gig, besides it being one
of the best gigs I've attended and yes "Glass Hotel" did moisten my eyes
somewhat. Heavenly - not that it sounded like "Heaven" which would have
fitted the venue.

At times I could've sworn that I heard Robyn harmonising with his vocals
- I remember this from the very beginning ("Surgery") but also a few
other times. Maybe they had a gospel choir behind the font. Probably
just me I expect.

"Shuffling over the Flagstones" was the incidental music for Robyn's
reading of the "Prince of Cones" on Mark Radcliffe's show, Feb.'94 (I
think that's the date). I love these instrumentals - in the same vein
as the Beefhearty "Heartful of Leaves" (Not on Fegmania! as claimed by
the "Robyn Hitchcock" sampler CD including "Statue with a Walkman", but
instead on "I Often Dream of Trains" called "Heart Full of Leaves".
Where's my anorak?), "College of Ice" and "Chinese Water Python".

I don't like to talk about Robyn the Man BUT I was surprised how he came
across on stage - he certainly wasn't the person I expected. From his
cheery songs he sounds very confident and out-going, and he sounds
downright cocky with the Soft Boys - but he seemed extremely nervous and
uncomfortable at Union Chapel. Was this a bad day or is this typical?
Maybe it's a stage act? I also expected him to be an obviously fun
person - of course his music is great fun but his delivery is very dry.
Dead-pan comedians can often pull things off that wouldn't work for
clowns. I think it was "Only The Stones Remain" when he repeatedly
flicked back his hair on a certain guitar "lick" - and his serious
expression made it all the more funnier. Have I missed discussion about
Robyn's stage presence or was I the only one who expected him to be

Anyway, I walked back beaming with a headful of colliding RH songs.
This could've been the night I've been waiting for all my life, without
even a malignant chord.


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