From: "shawn fitzgibbon" firstname.lastname@example.org
From: jen email@example.com
Elliott's set was excellent, with the exception of some annoying techinical difficulites, and a Catpower moment ("I can't hear the vocals at all up here..."). I understand that it must be frustrating to try to play when the monitors are crappy, but doesn't he know by now that every time he opens his mouth, nothing but the sweetest melodies are uttered? Nonetheless, the band rocked, and the acoustic encore was lovely. Could have been longer, of course-- that's the first time in recent memory that I've been out of a venue before 11:30, even after hanging around post-encore.
From: VITE Philippe firstname.lastname@example.org
I saw Elliott in an acoustic solo at La Boule Noire, Paris a few weeks ago, with Christophe and a few friends. Christophe and I are really huge fans, and we use to try to play his songs one after one (we both play guitar and sing). I can tell you we were really excited !!!! It was a small concert room (less than 200 people), and we were really close to him.
Most people were big fans and asked for old songs (i heard some one ask for "painclothes man "). Others didn't understand why someone aked for "some song", which i found pretty funny.
I had the feeling that people were "snobs" as we say in french, in the way that they tried to ask the most unknown song, (so as to be the biggest fan and say to Elliott, you see ? I want this mysterious song everybody but I probably forgot).
I had also the feeling, that Elliott didn't to people who yelled at him. I remember every body crying, and a very clam voice asked for "Angeles". And i saw him put his capo on the 7# fret and started it... It happened several time during the show that he did the song asked by the most little voice...
As far as I am concerned, I wanted Clementine, 'cause it's one of my favourites, and nobody else asked for it, and above all, i thought there was very little chance Elliott did on his own, 'cause it doesn't seem to be used. I cried it in a weird and stupid voice (CLEMENTIIIIINE) in a moment nobody else was crying. And just after me Christophe cried in a VERY weird and VERY stupid voice '' CLEMENTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE'".
And it made Elliott laugh, and then everybody.
Wow ! we had made Elliott laugh.
The end of the story is : he didn't made Clementine.
From: "Jonathan Dumais" email@example.com
From: "[jk] beautiful.loser" firstname.lastname@example.org
From: stephen shutt email@example.com
I really hated the venue. The Roxy is an abandoned movie palace all tarted up into a big rawk hall--I guess maybe they were aiming for a sort of Fillmore East look? Anyhow the place is run by these thuggish looking guys who seem to have escaped from Martin Scorcese's latest mobster flick. The sound system was really crummy--I think having Aaron there was just more than the sound board guys could handle. Every song seemed to turn into sonic sludge. I thought it was just me, until Elliott stopped the show because he couldn't hear himself sing.
I guess I shouldn't complain too much, since one of the staff members let me take a poster, which I carefully rolled up, and now graces my bedroom wall. I have the Figure 8 poster looking across at the XO poster. It's very philosophical--in 1998 under this dull red light for the XO publicity session he looks tired & unhappy, and in 2000 for Figure 8 he looks blissful and content. (No, I don't think it's just the mushrooms that made the difference.)
Incidentally, they have a deal where if you buy a copy of the Figure 8 CD they throw in a copy of the Son of Sam video for free. I played the video when I got home, and the sound was a bit wobbly on it, but the visuals were great and it's a nice thing to have, though I had taped the video on MTV.
The opening band, Whiskey Biscuit, SO does not belong opening for Elliott. I don't listen to much pop music but even to me it sounded as if every song was ripping off a different band. This one song they do, "Space Girls," sounds like early Rock Lobster era B-52s covered by a neighborhood garage band that would turn up playing in the pool hall down the street for free. I really hope that they got this gig because they're friends with Elliott, not because Dreamworks is somehow trying to promote this band. Listening to them 2 nights in a row got me thinking of who I'd like to hear opening for Elliott. I'll spare you all my reflections though. I really give credit to those who got there early and staked out the spots front and center stage because they had to suffer through Whiskey Biscuit without any recourse for escape. Sheesh.
Elliott and his guys came out so quietly, at first nobody even realized who they were. Elliott wore a knit cap and the Limousine t shirt. I noticed Sam had had a haircut since the Conan appearance (I loved his mad scientist look on that show). Aaron was wearing a cap that matched Elliott's but he took it off after the first song. Scott just kept smiling and drumming. I call him the drum bodhisattva because he always seems so peaceful and calm, even when pounding away. I really, really like this line-up ... a lot. I already got excited when I heard them play together on the SxSW recording, even though others felt they were pretty rough that night, and after playing together for several weeks and tightening up the loose ends I think they're really fab. Elliott finally has at his command the means to produce his more current lush, complex compositions for our listening pleasure in a concert setting. His own pleasure in the music making of the band was very clear--lots of little smiles and nods throughout the evening.
I got a little distracted watching Sam's expressions as he sang harmony & backup on "Son of Sam." With the final "Sam" he sort of crossed his eyes and grimaced in a sort of self-mocking way. It was so cute. I think Sam's a babe. But you really don't need to hear that, do you?
Hearing "Everything means nothing to me" live was magical. This is one of my favorite new songs of Elliott's. It's just so mystical and dreamy. Elliott and Sam traded off the phrases of the chorus and they both deserve top marks--beautiful singing from both.
Junk Bond Trader was another high point. Really tight playing, and the boys made this great rocker SWING. Excellent!
LA was another hot number. Having heard Elliott do it acoustic in Feb., I'm very struck by what a different song this is with and without the band. The guitar parts in particular are very different for the 2 versions. I hope he will do a studio recording of the acoustic version some day--the differences are more substantial than between the acoustic and electric versions of Son of Sam.
I think "In the Lost & Found" is the one where Aaron played with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He looked very Left Bank, like an extra in a cafe scene in an old Cocteau film. Elliott and Aaron were really in sync throughout this show. A funny thing about this song is that during the piano solo, in both Boston and Providence, Elliott would stoop down and take a swig out of his beer bottle. In Prov. I found myself wondering whether he was double checking the lyrics while he was down there!
On the subway ride downtown I was reading an interview in which he discussed "Amity" and how the words "good to go" mean "ready to leave this world" (as in suicide) and I found myself practically in tears as he and the band bounced through this song. It's interesting how different the song sounds now, though, from when he recorded it on XO. There seems to be less rage & more serenity. Either that or all that nicotine was REALLY starting to get to me.
"Pretty (Ugly Before)" is without a doubt one of his greatest songs EVER. Again Elliott has touched emotions that I never expected to hear resonate in a pop ballad. Amazing. How does he do it? I'm trying not to think that it will probably be 2 years before I hear the studio version of this song ... if I ever do ...
Cupid's Trick was a surprise to me, though I had noticed it in the setlists. Like Amity this is a song he can now perform in a version that reflects the studio conceptualization, with a few subtle little twists and enhancements. Great! I loved Scott's drumming on this one.
After Cupid's trick he was going to play Independence Day, but the special guitar he wanted to use on that number was all screwed up, so he announced that they were just going to play "the new song" and then Color Bars. "The new song" turned out to be "I live in a cage" which is one of Elliott's "speedy" numbers, like Living Will. It flew by very quickly. I caught lyrics that referred to "Talk of the Town."
"Can't Make a Sound" was very impressive and anthem-like. I was surprised to see one of the roadies playing an extra drum during the climax of the song. The extra pair of hands gave the song a really huge punch.
From a vast tumult into silence ... I definitely agree with those who said that the acoustic solo encore songs were the highlight of the show. Elliott's singing was jaw-droppingly gorgeous--darkly modulated with little dancing grace notes and caprice-like variations in phrasing. This was definitely one of the most exquisite renditions of 13 I have ever heard from him. All 3 of the songs were ones I think of as having Boston associations. He did "13" at the very first show I saw, at Cambridge's Middle East, and Alex Chilton himself was in the audience on that occasion. Between the Bars was of course an important part of Good Will Hunting, which was filmed here. And, "Taking the Easy Way Out" which was his closing number was what he opened with at the 3.29.99 show in the Roxy. Perhaps he didn't mean it that way, but I saw these 3 songs as Elliott's very own little valentine to all his Boston fans.
I'll write up the Providence concert (which I give A+++ and was one of the most memorable nights of my life) tomorrow.