From: email@example.com Subject: seattle show report
i have returned from tonight's show at the Showbox. I really liked Alaska, Elliott came out and sang nice back up vocals for one of their songs.
After a lengthy wait, a large man came out with two acoustic guitars and set up the mic. Five minutes later Elliott comes on stage and opens with "Let's get lost" which he couldn't finish. For the first of many times he stared at his lap and pounds the guitar lightly with closed fists.
He played "Don't Go Now" and then looked down and couldn't find his setlist, someone called out Christian Brothers and he says "OK" and plays it with a few bad notes but overall the highlight of the show.
Elliott's girlfriend brings out the setlist(s), two pages full of names I couldn't see cos I'm blind even with my glasses. He played A Passing Feeling and couldn't finish it. Afterwards my memory is a bit foggy as to exact order, but he played:
Shooting Star Between the Bars (after the person who called it out said he wanted it for his girlfriend) Little One Waltz 2 (XO) Pretty Ugly Before Fond Farewell (unfinished) Speed Trials (aborted after less than 10 secs) Independence Day (unfinished, audience participation) Division Day (unfinished) Somebody's Baby (with Russ from Alaska, unfinished)
Friends (with both members of Alaska, very shaky and unfinished) Angeles (someone kept screaming it out, and another fan yelled back "He's not a jukebox, fucker!" and Elliott said "No need to be like that, no one should swear, except for me" ... I can't remember if he finished it, but he needed major audience participation) Say Yes (audience participation)
then Alaska came out and the one who isn't Russ (didn't catch his name) played guitar while Elliott sang a song I didn't recognize, a cover that someone else will probably know)
Doin Ok Pretty Good Needle in the Hay (unfinished) Give Me Love (with Alaska, unfinished but he got most of the way through)
so anyways, he seemed to be really frustrated all night towards the end of the set his girlfriend was asking him to come off stage and he said "I won't until I can finish one song"
looking forward to seeing other's thoughts and better recollections
From: Peter Boss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Christopher that is the scariest review of a show I've read. Rae"
Well, Rae, you might not want to read any more....
Elliott was a bit out of it for Portland's show on Thursday, but Seattle's show was something else completely. It was far and away the worst I've ever seen any performer do ever, but it was also the funnest show I've ever been to. I'm sure many of you have heard the Jan 4, 1998 show in Cambridge, MA (for those of you who don't know, Elliott gets into a rut of screwing up), and about halfway through the show I started making mental comparisons. The show last night was much much worse than anything else I've heard. Looking back over Christopher's remembered setlist it looks better than I thought he did. I thought he screwed up every single song, but maybe he got through Ugly Before okay. (He played his first two songs all the way through, too, but he screwed up the endings and cut them short.) The audience carried him through on Angeles (no, I don't think he finished it) & Say Yes, which he did finish.
I don't know what the cover was, either, but I liked it. I thought it was very nice of Mr. Skinny Alaska to play guitar for Elliott. He did very well.
The most amazing part of the show for me was that Elliott just kept going and going. He was obviously having a horrible time (he almost smashed his guitar after a string broke (the same string as in Portland) while tuning way up for Friends, which he also screwed up), but he stayed with it. Yes, I know he didn't really have much of a choice, but I still admired that he just stuck it out. After a while the show started working against him cos a small mistake in one song would seem worse after making others. I think he created some of the situation last night himself because he would stop a song in frustration after a mistake that I don't think anyone else even noticed. Then again, I don't know what standards he holds himself to. I didn't feel like standing for hours & hours, so I only made it to the middle of the floor, and I didn't hear his girlfriend telling him to just quit, as Christopher says. I really liked that he was going to try to finish one song, though, just cos he wasn't giving up. It was funny when he said "Sorry George" after messing up & quitting Give Me Love. I don't think George minded given the circumstances.
One of the perks of Elliott in screwup mode is that he talked a LOT. My favorite part of the show was when he talked about an out-of-body experience that he had last week. He talked about his house full of instruments, and how he's "all Hey Jude'd out" after covering it. I don't even remember most of what he said, but it was fun to hear him.
Okay, so I know I've been way negative in this post, but honestly it was really really really really fun. I have no idea why he had such a shitty show, and I refuse to speculate because I don't like those discussions of how messed up he might be and how worried everyone is for him. It was a horrible show, but it was just a show. In fact, the horribleness of it was what was so appealing to me. I've seen him have trouble before with lyrics and chords and instruments, but never all at one show. He seemed to get pretty down on himself, and no one wants to see that, but it was really more of a slippery slope than anything else. The problems probably started after some problems in Portland, and just got worse. But really, there could be a million little things, so who the hell knows what happened? As several people yelled out, we do still love him, even though he did badly.
This seems to have degenerated into rambling now, but I hope I've contributed something to the general feeling about the show. I was standing next to some guys who'd never seen Elliott before, and they were asking what the hell was going on. I told them they were really really lucky to be able to see him do so badly, and I really meant it. Even though it was in a bad way, I feel so lucky that I got to be at such a unique show. More than anything, it was just plain fun.
I get the digest, so I hope I'm not late with my comments, and that people don't freak out about them overnight, cos it doesn't deserve that at all. It was just a bad show, and I really don't want to see this list freak out now like it has in the past. I guess I won't know until tomorrow.
Summary: the show was as awful as you can imagine (maybe even worse), but it was a unique experience, and it was amazingly fun.
From: "sara evans" <email@example.com>
Well I just got back from the 8 hour bus ride and ferry ride that it took me to get to Seattle from Canada to see Elliott. What a great trip. I thought the show was great, but nothing could have made it bad for me. I felt bad for Elliott though. He only finished about 3 songs without making a mistake and swearing. AT one point he got up from his chair and almost smashed his guitar (no joke) Every song had the word "FUCK" in it because he was getting so frustrated. He said he was not leaving until he finished one song without messing it up. The more he tried not to make mistakes the more he did and the more he'd swear. THen what really bothered me was when he was talking to the crowd and said something to the effect that he had had a dissociate episode. He went on to say that it had nothing to do with "crack" or any other drugs so don't worry. But it didn't sound like he was joking, so I don't know how to take it. Plus at the time I didn't know what the word meant until I looked it up in the dictionary that's when it scared me. I hope he will be all right if it's true and if he was just joking then I need to learn how to read people better. Just thought I'd let you guys know how it went and share my worries with you. love sara