Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock's ROCK ARMADA
Concert appearance: Fri., 29 Oct. 1999

The Upstage
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US

Set list:

Mexican God
The Devil's Radio
My Wife and My Dead Wife
Alright, Yeah -enter Tim
I Feel Beautiful -enter Kimberley
Viva! Sea-Tac -enter Jake
Sinister But She Was Happy -enter Lindsay
Jewels for Sophia
The Cheese Alarm
Madonna of the Wasps
Queen of Eyes
Sally Was a Legend
Antwoman (w. Chris on oboe)
Sleeping with Your Devil Mask
The Speed of Things solo encore
You and Oblivion -enter Kimberley
Kingdom of Love
Birds in Perspex -full band
Beautiful Queen

Length: 92

Good show. Don't have a setlist, though I watched Eddie write
it down. I was boppin', and Robyn stood for the whole show (so his back's
better?) and did weird hand dances that were like Phishhead puppet shows. Fun.

So, here's my complaint: I love Robyn, have seen him for years, and the
brand new excitement for me on this tour is Kimberley Rew. And I see why, he
may be absurd but he's concurrently way cool. When he and Robyn got in sync
on QoE, or rocked out on the Perspex Island material, it's viscerally
exciting (to use a critspeak word: now it's all yours, Eb), but there's way
too little of him. He's reverby decoration. I want more. I talked to both him
and Robyn after the show-KR seemed amenable to more solos etc (I was yelling
out "Muriel's Hoof" during the show, which shows what a dreamer I am), but
Robyn said MH would require way too much practice, and he "wasn't in that
space anymore". So I followed up by asking for IWDY, and was told he'd
outgrown that. So I challenged him to put Kimberley to better use, and he
said they were still working songsout, and would have a coupla new (i.e.,
according to my understanding, not new, but undone on this tour) songs ready
by Chicago. YAY!

Questions: why did KR never tour with the Egyptians, which would've been a de
facto SB reunion? It seemed fair to assume an RH/KR split, but maybe it was
him mad at Andy or Morris instead? Or, if it was with Robyn, it's better and
we have something to look forward to? I only ask cause tonight's show was
great, and I look forward to the Chill show, but I wanna see KR do more. I
want Return of the Sacred Crab, or Smoothie, or etc. He adds great stuff to
Sally (I asked Robyn about that tonight while the club Upstage was playing
DitD, and he said they were only rhythmically similar, not melodically.
Someone more melodic than me will have to refute that^) and they did
Antwoman, with a distorted oboe (? clarinet, someone said? looked like
adouble reed) as GLB, but I want SBoys tunes, and Kimberley seems ready to
give them. We'll see.

And KR had a great shirt on, an Escher-esque meta-paisley, and a Robin
Williams' Mork rainbow strap as a guitar strap, and I want to see more of
him. And Robyn was in good voice, and the half of the departure Lounge set I
caught was good (I bought their single), and I danced a lot and drank beer
(in the old Revival space, for those who knew Philly ten years ago, when I
used to cover shows there for B-side magazine) OK, goodnight, more tomorrow.

Robyn hand a ring on the third finger--of his right hand. I only bring this
up because we were hearing about his marriage and all. So when I noticed it,
it seemed odd.

Tim's wardrobe: no Knievelwear, but a fluorescent green shirt with big collar
(very 70s) for the Armada show. looked lower key (and sitting down) during
the DL segment of the evening...

who also met Jon Fetter, but didn't write his name last night because I
wanted to dis him in some spectacularly subtle way....

Tim Keegan and his band, Departure Lounge, opened for Robyn and played
an excellent set that lasted 45 minutes. Robyn hit the stage at 11:30
and played for 90 minutes. I haven't heard that much energy in his
music (and of course it helped to have a full band behind him) for many
years, probably since 5/92 when he played the Keswick Theater in
Glenside, PA in his last appearance with the Egyptians.

Last night was fantastic! Couple of Soft Boys tunes and smattering of
tunes from many different releases except unfortunately, nothing from
his first two solo releases. Next time. And was that Kimberly Rew
playing with Robyn or just some other Kimberly? I am honestly not sure,
however, by the way this Kimberly played guitar and seemed especially
pleased during the two Soft Boys songs, I was guessing that it was K.
Rew. And many people were just watching Kimberly play - very cool.
BTW, the two songs were Kingdom of Love and Queen of Eyes.

Fucking Kimberly Rew. *Fucking* Kimberly Rew. Kimberly fuckin' REW!!!!!

Of course, actually meeting Eddie for the first time has in no way
effected my syntax.

Um . . . can I stick to nine words? Maybe.

Nah, fuckit. How then can I tell tales of Kimberly, how this . . .
this living *muppet* attacked his instrument with an amazing
precision, pulling out sounds and effects and ornamentations at the
most delightful places and in the most tasteful way; how he could
make his guitar ring like a bell, cycle weirdly like a sick calliope,
or tear into the body of a solo like a mad sharkbot? Sometime even he
looked surprised at what he was doing; at time he even shot Robyn a
cheerfully mischievous look, as if Robyn would suddenly stop the show
and order Kimberly to drive a stake through the heart of his
possessed Gibson. Yes, I would have loved to see him really cut loose
and kill every living thing in a three mile radius with a neverending
solo; but then again part of the Wonder that was Rew was that he had
his guitar under control at all times, as if Adrian Belew had sent
his ax to Guitar Obedience School.

Oh, and the work between Robyn and Kimberly . . . What joy, to hear
Robyn's spidery, psychedelic sojourns underpinned by and interlocked
with Rew's intense rhythms. As several Fegs have said, I could only
rue the fact I have never seen the Soft Boys. In fact, after the show
I walked up to Kimberly just to thank the man for playing guitar like
that. It was truly an unabashed and totally open fanboy Gush.

I was not a big fan of Departure Lounge's music, but they were pretty
effective as a back-up band. The Drummer -- Linsay? -- was good. The
bassist, too, was good, but he was no Andy Metcalfe, and my ears
longed to hear him again, all tight and bubbly.

My dream Robyn Armada? Robyn, Tim, Deni, Andy, Rew, and Morris. That
would be a show. . . . sigh.

Great, great show -- and lucky me, I get to see it again at the
Bowery Ballroom tonight! See some of you there. . . .

Breaking Fegs out of Asylums since 1996,

--The "I wish I was a pretty girl" Quail

PS: Yes, I was aware of the pun in Paragraph Six. Thank you.

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