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Robyn Hitchcock
April 23, 2002
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA


Main Set:



From Eclipse

i was really taken with the show (though i can't say i really cared for Mike Viola's set - it was ok, but didn't really capture me) - i wish it had been longer, i wish there had been a second encore, and i wish he'd really played Devil's Radio as he seemed to introduce before playing Listening to the Higsons.

for those of you following along elsewhere, i can't remember the setlist in its entirety, but i can give you what i do recall (in no particular order):

Insect Mother
I Got The Hots
This Could Be The Day
Raymond Chandler Evening
Victorian Squid
Mind Is Connected
A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs
Not Dark Yet
She Doesn't Exist
Arms of Love
Dark Princess
Linctus House
The Last Thing To Die IsYour Feelings
Listening To The Higsons
..... urrrgh .. this is all i can recall.

but lots of beautiful commentary, a great bit about Bush, using the plastic crab Jeme so stratigically placed on the mic stand before the encore, and a towel (representing Gore); a thoughtful summary of the Dirty Harry movie that is the origin of "...Briggs" and lots of other clever chat. blinking was minimal, as far as i could tell from where i sat, and attire was bold yet stylish in jeans and a bright blue and red hyacinth-print shirt. :)

i saw a few cones after they'd been bought, i never saw how many were actually for sale. did a feg get one? RH and Viola cd's available for $20 each. that's all i saw.

i wish i hope somebody taped this show...

From Mr. Feg

Mike Viola:
I have to say, he was MUCH better in Seattle - partly because he had lots more Robyn-esque banter between the songs than in SF, and partly because he won the audience over with the way he handled the string breakage in the first song. The sound was better at the Croc, too. All in all, it was enough to help you forgive the occasional banal lyric (which I didn't pay much attention to anyway). I found his stuff quite pop-y and disposable, but his voice and delivery were pleasant in a squeeze kind of way. His American Tune cover was uncannily dead-on.

After the flood of cones in Seattle, I was disappointed to see only a couple at the GAMH, which Robyn brought out personally a few minutes after we got there. Immediately there was a rush for the merch table and they were gone in a blink.

The Seattle cones were unsegmented, by the way, which allowed larger single images than the cones of earlier tours. Robyn also named the cones himself (mine is the "God Cone").

The Set:
As you may have noticed, there were quite a few differences in the sets in Seattle and SF - I was delighted to hear The President in Seattle and thrilled to hear Insect Mother in SF (one song I've never heard him do live before).

"You've got to know your limitations, Briggs" is a great song trapped inside a novelty wrapper. I wish he hadn't used the movie character names. I think it devalues what is potentially a very moving song.

I agree with whoever said the instrumental was disposable. Robyn is an amazing songwriter and a great performer, but "virtuoso guitarist" is not on the resume. Perhaps he just needs to rest his voice sometimes...

You can also count me among the Dark Princess fans... and I was delighted to hear Higsons rather than Devils Radio.

Yes, "tonight's crab" aka "squeaky" made an SF appearance. He was the twin brother of the Seattle crab which Robyn made such a deal over. Thanks to Jeme for having more guts than the rest of us and putting it up on stage for the encore. At first I was sure he was just going to ignore it, but after about a few songs he decided to acknowledge it with some shtick about George Bush. This one sported some black sharpie decorations, but I didn't get to see the final result before it made it's stage debut.

woj <woj@fegmania.org>