I know a place that's safe and warm: Lemonheads @ the Bluebird Theatre
Somehow in my 12+ years of fandom, I'd never made it to see Evan Dando and Co. in concert before Saturday night's show with "The Lemonheads" at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver. There was a deep sense of goodness & nostalgia permeating the show, which I was more excited about than any show I've seen recently.
The warm and golden voice of Evan Dando soundtracks many many good memories for me, and I've loved him from his early days of alternative poster-boyhood (with the flowing long hair), through his Oasis/party hearty/crack cocaine days (though I was with you on that 'what're you doin' man?' train of thought), the solo albums, on up to this year with the fantastic new Lemonheads album.
(yes, that photo's upside down)
On a freeeezing Saturday night, the venue was intimate, the setlist fabulously varied, and Dando was still rocking the stoner-sailor look with a striped long-sleeved shirt, although a bit older (aren't we all?). The crowd was a mix of reminiscing fans in their 30s-40s and beyond, some barely 21-plus who probably were playing kickball on the blacktop when It's A Shame About Ray came out, and the same enthusiastic Japanese girl from the Ben Kweller show a few months ago who brought presents for the performers and pom poms for cheering.
Check out some video: the stage was quite dark so photos didn't turn out too hot.
GREAT BIG NO (loooooove the way this video turned out once the song starts - gorgeous lighting, sounds fantastic)
THE OUTDOOR TYPE (a divergence from the setlist, a happy surprise)
INTO YOUR ARMS (also a bonus, a lovely little acoustic version, just a minute and a half of sweet goodness)
MORE VIDEOS: It's About Time (audio is pretty out-of-control fuzzy loud, sorry), Become The Enemy (love this from the new album, again watch the fuzz-audio), and a snippet of My Drug Buddy (which I think I may have been, uh, singing backup to as I filmed). Also very good were the renditions of Ride With Me and Rudderless, but I didn't get video. And he did Being Around, which you either love or hate, eh?
The impending concert date inspired me to go into the basement and open my box of high school ephemera in search of a little tongue-in-cheek zine I ordered back in the day called "Die Evan Dando, Die." At least I hope it's a joke.
I think the author of this photocopied, hand-addressed bit of '90s lore was just jealous of Evan's sunny good looks, and annoyed with his sensitive-strummer persona.
If I had gotten to talk with Evan (I didn't), I was considering asking him to sign it, but also a little worried that he'd think it was a bit scary (and me as well, by extension). So I think that maybe it worked out for the best for everyone involved that's he's a bit reclusive nowadays after shows.
Here is a helpful guide from the zine, which I hope you can read because it's awesome:
LISTEN: Lemonheads on NPR last month