Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fillmore Eye

I caught Nick Lowe and Robyn Hitchcock last night at the Fillmore. I thought it had been a while since I saw a concert at the Fillmore, but according to the archives, I saw Big Star there last October. There are a lot of things I like about the Fillmore (good acoustics and sight lines, shows that start on time, free apples and concert posters) and only a couple of things I don't like about (it's hard to get to and their strongarm security doesn't allow cameras or recording devices). I would have loved to record the show, but I was risking life and limb just taking that low-res cell phone picture up there.

I was wondering what the Lowe/Hitchcock double bill would entail. From Paula's review of their NYC show a few nights earlier, I knew that they were both playing solo/acoustic. It's unfortunate that Robyn's Venus 3 are busy with their other band, because some of them (okay, one of them) moonlight in The Lowe Beats, and I think a Robyn/Venus3 + Nick/Lowe Beats double bill would be very cool.

Anyway, they both played solo/acoustic, and were not joined by Elvis Costello on the encore like they were in NYC, but it was a fabulous show nonetheless. Robyn played his self-described "San Francisco set" which included eight songs from Eye (written and recorded in SF) plus "One Long Pair Of Eyes" and "A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs!". I was glad that he played "Clean Steve", since it mentions both my name and the headliner's name. He also played "Cynthia Mask", "Raining Twilight Coast", "Beautiful Girl", "Aquarium", "Queen Elvis", all great songs from the under-appreciated Eye (recently reissued by Yep Roc).

Yep Roc also reissued Nick Lowe's Jesus Of Cool earlier this year, so I was hoping he'd pull out some of those songs for his set. He did play one of them ("Heart Of The City") for the second encore, but his set was mostly culled from his recent albums and one brand new song ("I Read A Lot"), before ending with his crowd-pleasing triptych of "Cruel To Be Kind", "I Knew The Bride", and "Peace, Love, and Understanding". Robyn Hitchcock joined Nick for the encore of Johnny Kidd's "Hungry For Love", the Beatles "If I Fell", and one more song, then he was called back for the grand finale of "Heart Of The City".

Strangely enough, even though the place was mostly full, I didn't notice any friends or even nodding acquaintances in the crowd. The main reason I don't go out more is that almost everyone I know hates live music, so I usually end up going to concert alone and leaving alone and not talking to anyone while I'm there. This isn't much fun, except for great shows like this one, where the thrill of the experience makes up for not knowing anyone there.


lovechild said...

Thank you for this detailed and well written review of the show. Now I am really bummed that I missed it. "Eye" being my favourite album of his.
I previewed the show here:
Only up for the weekend.
ok, I'm feeling lame now, but when I talked to Robyn he said he may come back in the Fall and do "I Often Dream of Trains" in NY and LA, and maybe he would do "Eye" in SF! which was one of the reasons I decided to just continue with my oysters and champagne, past showtime! boo.
Thanks again, good stuff!

PCarino said...

OK, maybe you didn't get an Elvis surprise, but I am so jealous that you got a live EYE spectacular! Like the commenter above, EYE is also my favorite RH album overall, and the one that has the most sentimental meaning for me. It was also pivotal in my going from merely liking his music to becoming utterly enchanted.