Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock's ROCK ARMADA
Concert appearance: Sat., 23 Oct. 1999

Cactus Café
Austin, Texas US
Set 1

Set list:

Birds In Perspex [soundcheck]
Queen Of Eyes
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask
Madonna Of The Wasps [end soundcheck]
Mexican God solo, acoustic
The Ghost Ship
You've Got A Sweet Mouth On You Baby [add Tim Keegan]
Queen Elvis
I Saw Nick Drake [add Jake Kyle]
Jewels for Sophia +Kimberley Rew, Lindsay Jamieson
The Cheese Alarm
Queen of Eyes [Robyn switches to electric]
Birds in Perspex
Sleeping with Your Devil Mask
Madonna of the Wasps
Beautiful Queen
Airscape [Encore, solo, electric]
Kingdom of Love add Kimberly Rew
Sally Was a Legend add Tim, Jake, Lindsay

Robyn seemed in really fine form. He was relaxed, seemed to
really be enjoying himself with the band, and the vibe was great. And
the Departure Lounge were wonderful, too. I wished I could have
stayed for the second set, but at $16 per head, I would have ended up
spending $64 for my wife and me, which I wasn't in the mood to do.
But he played "The Ghost Ship" which made it all worthwhile.

Robyn played sitting down, saying he has hurt his back recently. He
played the Fylde (sp?) acoustic and the blue and white Telecaster.
The Cactus Club is a small, cozy place, and the back of the stage is
draped in red velvet, which added nicely to the ambience. It was a
thoroughly entertaining, yet intimate show.

Playing with the ever-so-laid back Departure Lounge as his backup,
Robyn's songs seemed to breath more. For a while there, the band was
actually *grooving* -- their rendition of "Sleeping With Your Devil
Mask" was top-notch. I've never been too keen on that song, but
hearing it played that way floored me. Every other old song they
played sounded just as good -- it was like running into an old friend
you haven't seen in a long time, but he had finally grown up, got a
good haircut, and learned how to dress, and relaxed quite a bit.

I don't think I've ever enjoyed seeing Robyn play as much as I did at
that gig. It felt like a Whole New Robyn. I almost blew off that
show ("Ah, I just saw him a month ago...") but am very glad I didn't.
I'm still surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Oh, and Kimberly Rew is hilarious -- I can't put into words how goofy
he is on stage. But he's a heckuva guitarist. He played his guitar
(a white Gibson ES-335, I think) like he was trying to wring every
note out of it.

Outfit: black longsleeved linen shirt with banded collar; blue pegged
trousers with large green flowers all over them -- looked like
somebody must have shot a couch and skinned it just for Robyn; and
those curious black boots -- no laces or zipper, but comfy looking

Merchandise: purple, and green-and-violet Jewels For Sophia t-shirts
($15), Tomato Pens ($5), cute little buttons ($1), JfS CDs ($15), and
some merch for Departure Lounge. They also had a sign-up sheet for
mailing list, which I've never seen before.

ObTidbit: Somebody (Eddie, I think) asked (Robyn?) when the outtake
CD would be out: January 1, 2000 was the answer, I think.

Kimberley was fantastic. Some of his facial expressions seemed to imply
that he was being electrocuted by his guitar, but he is a truly amazing
musician. Seeing (and hearing) he and Robyn do that spiraling,
back-and-forth lead guitar thing was hypnotic. I will always be grateful
for being able to see that, but it makes me sad to think that that is
likely to be the closest thing to a Soft Boys reunion that I'll ever
see. Damn the fact that I was a toddler back in the late '70s.

Tim Keegan's band is really good -- I hope they have a future. My friend
Brent *loved* Departure Lounge. He ended up buying every TK&DL CD they
were selling at the merchandise stand, and got one autographed by all the
band members. Both Tim and Lindsay stopped at our table and chatted for
awhile, and they're really down-to-earth, easy to approach guys. Brent's
been scouring the web this week, looking for other Tim Keegan CD's to
buy. I thought that they were really, really good live, but I'm not crazy
about the production on the full-length CD they were selling at the
concert. Everything seems sort of muffled. "Save Me From Happiness" was
my favorite from their live sets, but I can't bear to listen to the whole
track on the album. Another good live song, "Everything We Need," is
reduced to cacophonous electric guitar and screaming on the CD.

I hope Robyn continues to tour with a band. This was the first time I'd
seen him with one, and I think this particular group really gels together well.

It was great to meet some other Texas Fegs, but I wish we'd had more time
to hang out and mingle. Maybe we'll all be able to come up with an excuse
to get together again before terribly long.

Hats off to Eddie and his dedication. When I first met him on Saturday,
he'd been driving non-stop since Thursday (with only 4-5 hours of
sleep). He left immediately from Sunday night's show to commence a 19-hour
drive to Atlanta! Wow.

Robyn was particularly verbose (and enchantingly so) last weekend. There
are several of the between-songs extemporaneous "stories" that he told that
really stand out in my mind.


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