Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock with Tim Keegan, Scott McCaughney, Peter Buck and YFF
Concert appearance: Fri., 13 June 1997

Crocodile Café
Seattle, Washington US
"Viva Sea-Tac II" (YFF = Young Fresh Fellows)

Set list:

Gene Hackman
I'm Only You
Clean Steve
Madonna of the Wasps enter Tim
Superkeen (Tim Keegan) Robyn on harp
Queen Elvis
Boeing Spacearium (Minus 5) enter Scott
Jewels for Sophia
Chinese Bones
Beautiful Queen
Tell Me Mama (Bob Dylan)
Queen of Eyes
Elizabeth Jade
Ring Them Bones
Viva Sea-Tac
Birdshead encore
Give it to the Soft Boys
What Goes On (Velvet Underground)

Reply-To: Capuchin

(I wrote this throughout the day at work and just noticed how rambling and
long it is. If it's awful, don't read it. I'm just bored.)

OK, kids.
I think two and a half weeks is enough time to let the dust settle from
the show and get out my two cents. You've asked, and now you're getting.

We all know the show was amazing. And yeah, I'd have to say it's the best
show I've attended ever (That's saying alot, and that's where I'm

A little talk about the Crocodile Cafe before the show...

I had no idea how shows were treated at the Croc so I wanted to get there
plenty early and make sure I got in comfortably and early. For those of
you that don't know, the Crocodile Cafe is a regular cafe day and evening
that is shut down and becomes a 21+ bar and music club after around 9pm.
I think I actually walked in around seven. I took a cab over to the cafe
and the driver didn't have any change at all (golly, I love Seattle) so I
had to run in and get some. The driver was waiting so I was in a hurry
and a typical Jeme-style headless panic.

I ran in and asked the fellow at the counter for change... he said try the
bar. I ran back to the bar... got change, and nearly sprinted out the
front door to give my money to the driver. On my way through the door, I
jumped to a halt about a quarter of an inch from a big yellow shirt filled
with rows of oversized crayons. Yeah, I almost smacked Robyn to the
ground. (Granted I only come up to the man's chest, but I had significant
momentum and he was just strolling along.) I looked up and said "Oh...
hi." Robyn blinked. I ran around him and paid the cabbie.

I went back up to the counter and sat by our own Karen (of the twin fegs
of Portland, OR). I made the ridiculous mistake of confusing Karen with
Carole (it won't happen again... it was a silly mistake). And I witnessed
Karen's loss of apetite as she watched Robyn unpack T-shirts. He had
three undecorated cones in his hand as he walked back into the bar.

I talked for a bit with Karen (probably needlessly pestering). I
considered going up and asking Robyn for a T-shirt design for the list. I
was torn between my desire for a cool, original design and my respect for
our tall, musical friend's privacy. Karen and I decided to let him be.

After I bit I wandered over to the door, hanging out and waiting for the
cafe to close so they'd start selling admission. I had a word with some
of Robyn's entourage (who was the red haired guy again? And the what's
the name of the fellow with the "Your favorite band sucks." T-shirt?).
While standing by the door, an odd thing happened. Folks started showing
my their ID upon entering. After two or three of this (and constant
urging by the red-haired fellow), I began carefully inspecting the
identification and even requesting it from those that didn't offer it upon
entrance. And while others were suggesting I take seven bucks from as
many as would give it, I decided that was a bad idea. Robyn fans in a
frenzy may be like gently swaying plants, but there are still plants I'd
rather not have swaying across my path. Contrary to anything asserted by
Al Capone, Jr., there is no larceny in me.

I have no idea where the DOB is kept on a Washington State Driver's
License and I inspected no less than three different varieties of said
identification that night at the Croc. I would just look at it closely,
flip it over and check that there was printing on the reverse side, and
hand it back. It was silly. I'm curious to see if I checked any of your
cards. Did I?

While checking ID, I met several other fegs from around the area and from
far off lands. Some folks seemed to remember me from San Francisco last
November when I asked everyone present, individiually, if they knew where
I could stay the night cheaply. All in all, it was a pleasant social

Well, after a while a fellow came up and took my money and checked my ID
and stamped my hand and we all moved over to the Planned Parenthood booth.
Free condoms and stuff. It was a sponsorship deal. Always be kind to
your sponsors.

And eventually they openned up the T-shirt/cone concession. The Viva
Sea-Tac II shirts were interesting and one fellow said there was more
demand for them than the show itself. Three cones were eventually brought
forward. A woman near me bought one. I bought the other two. I caught
hell for that. I just might be the greedy bastard Karen claims I am.

My cones are cool. One cone is El Proximo Ultimo Cone. The other is "The
Twilight of the Cones". Are these the last two cones? Can anyone attest
to more cones being brought forward after the original three? I'm tempted
to assume, by the name and nature of these two, that they are the final
cones. And yeah, Mr. Runion-to-stand-still, I'll eventually get you some
pictures. Right now, though, I'm really tempted to make nifty Quicktime
VR movies out of them so you can rotate the cones on your own. We'll see
what happens.

Hrrm... eventually, the show began.

Tim and Scott and the drummer fellow did Ted, Woody & Junior, as you all
know. It was really good. Scott made fun of Tim's banana. They had fun.
Until that point, I wasn't sure what to expect. Usually when rock greats
get together outside their usual groupings, you get lots of covers due to
the lack of rehearsal time most covers require. I half expected a night
of Dylan, Hendrix and Beatles tunes. But as was said before, that opening
piece set the tone: Viva SeaTac is a thing of Robyn Hitchcock. I was

I've never been a big fan of Young Fresh Fellows. Never bought an album.
Saw them live a few times several years ago (including opening for They
Might Be Giants in Portland in maybe 1992 which seemed more because of the
line in Twistin' than anything else). Their set was ok and kind of
interesting. The guitarist fellow was kind of annoying (Not Scott and
not the bass player man). I hate to say it, but I was pleased when it

Robyn played. It was bordering mystical. I'm not a religious man, nor
even a spiritual one. I was... elevated. Several solo tunes that just
made me glad I wasn't anywhere else.

Tim came up and played Madonna of the Wasps and Superkeen with Robyn.
They had fun and MOTW made me just a touch floaty.

Robyn played some more solo things. Beautiful Queen and Chinese Bones
made me very happy. Eventually someone else came out and helped. Then
another player, then another. And while the sign on the counter at the
entrance to the venue stated it would be Young Fresh Fellows, Robyn
Hitchcock and then Popsycle Shoppe Incident, there was only a clear line
between YFF and Robyn. The rest was a slow blur.

Let's just say that the whole affair made me remember that guitar rock
really CAN BE a legitimate form of expression. (ooh, I'm going to get
killed for that one) There were covers I didn't recognize and thankfully
few of them.

There were too many cameras! As I am led to understand, Robyn asked
several people to take photos from the audience. I'm an accomodating man.
I gladly let people pass through in the crowd. Pausing for a moment to
take a few pictures is ok. I'm not against such things on principle. I
just hate flashes. Flash photography is annoying and, in my opinion,
disruptive and rude. I told someone that and they got very upset with me.
She said "Robyn TOLD ME to take these pictures!" And I said "That's fine
and good, it's still annoying." It was loud, there was miscommunication.
If that was someone reading this, understand my viewpoint and that it was
not a personal attack nor was it an effort to control your behavior. Does
a flash photo bother anyone else as much as it does me?

A bald fellow that happened to be a very poor (or at least inexperienced)
photographer kept trying to nudge his way into our little circle of
acquaintances. After some time, he took Karen's spot. I felt personally

I hate misquotes. So if someone can correct me from a verifiable source
(i.e. recording), please do. But I believe "Give It To The Soft Boys" was
introduced with "This one goes out to Andy, Morris and Kimberly" (in that
order) in a fairly sincere voice. Robyn took a step back about to play,
then paused, half-smiled and stepped back to the mic to add "let's hope it
never reaches them". The song was amazing. It was the only time Peter
Buck smiled that I noticed. Were there new/different verses? I don't
know every variation of most Soft Boys material and am really only
familiar with their four or so bigtime commercial releases, so please fill
me in if you can. It seemed there were some significantly different
lyrics in places. It also seemed like the annoying guitar fellow from
young Fresh Fellows (the man so excited about the 40 strings used to
produce Queen of Eyes) was just plain screaming during the nifty howl
thing. That man bothered me.

But as was said, the set list wasn't significantly different from the rest
of the tour. The band fleshed out some things and just made it a richer

Robyn did act differently than when he's alone. He was happier in
demeanor. He didn't play so many of the down songs. He also didn't talk
so much, which disappointed me in particular.

I had a DAT machine in my hotel room after taping some meetings at
Microsoft (yeah, I played off the week in Seattle as a business trip. It
was grand) and didn't even THINK to bring it to the show. Same goes for
the Tuesday night show at the nameless little bar. I'm still kicking
myself. Next time, next time. In the mean time, who was it that's making
all those copies? Can I be queued in?

After the show, we hung out for ages waiting for the red-haired
Robynfriend to get someone a T-shirt. However, he became much more
interested in a young, scantily clad fangirl and paid us not the attention
he promised. The woman taking flash photos that seemed so disturbed by my
comments did take my name and addressed and said she'd send me copies of
the photos. That was kind, but I'm not holding my breath. Eventually, we

The two fellows with whom I ended up spending most of my time had families
or some such obligation and left. By then most had disappeared into the
night. Seattle has the odd property of closing down completely at 2am. I
just went back to my hotel, lay down in bed, and listened to the ringing
in my ears.


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