Robyn Live shows , thoughts on Video clips and Stage banter.

Matthew Knights bleated to us Fegmaniax earlier on this year...

My favourite Robyn tape is a mystery tape and this post is by way of asking if any fegs could identify it. It's of a late 70's Soft Boys show,somewhere in (Old) England. It was given to me many years ago by a (high) school friend named Andy Godleman who - together with UK FM DJ John Peel -got me into the SB's. The set starts with 'Give it to the Soft Boys' and ends with 'That's when the heartaches begin' (BTW is this an Elvis cover?).During the gig Robyn introduces FOD with these words:

"I don't know if any of you have ever lain around long enough to be discovered four days after you've just died in your own flat; or if any of you have ever dropped a pot of ink right over your face, watched it drip down and leave clean creases 'cos you're so furrowed up; or if any of you have never spoken to anyone for 25 years but if you have this one's for you. It's the face of death." 

Subject: Re: Portland show

Date: Sun, 8 Jun 97

From: Tom Clark


On 6/7/97 6:29 PM, Debora muttered:


>Robyn's set list:

>Chinese Bones

>(He picked up the harmonica - "It's always good to play the harmonica in

>Portland. In Colorado you need oxygen tanks - They should have a

>warning for musicians over 40 to play only one note at a time. This is

>a song with a beard, the last one had a perm.")


Geez! Still bitching about Boulder!


>("This is a song I never normally play, but I think someone from here

>requested it")

>So You Think You're in Love


Ha! During the SF show, when he came back on stage for the encore, 

amongst the shouts came one from the balcony. A woman yelled "So You 

Think You're In Love, Robyn!". To which he replied "You said you were 

going to request that in Portland!"



>("This is an old Reagan era song - when Reagan was our president")

>The President (when he sang "I reach for my shotgun", he added "just

>like Kurt...")




>Queen of Eyes (now, I wasn't around at the start of this thread, but all

>I can say is he distinctly said "Bucky".)


Blasphemer! OK, I know there are only a few more gigs left, but someone 

must confront him on this. He's stated in the past that the lyric is 

"Mucky", so why change it? I think he's purposely toying with us.


-tc "keeping the ship afloat with seven-day work weeks"

From: Sydney

Date: Sun, 8 Jun 1997

Subject: Re: SF setlist


Russ Reynolds Recently Revealed:


<< A song request from Sydney (the listmember, not

the city) sparked one of the funnier comments of the evening from Robyn. 

I'll let her tell the story... >>


At the previous night's show in Sacramento, Robyn looked down at the set

list, then over to Tim and asked over and over again, "AB or EJ? AB or EJ?"

Robyn said he'd resorted to "using these silly codes for songs". When Tim

simply shrugged, Robyn said "AB then." and launched into Acid Bird. I was

mildly disappointed when he did *not* play Elizabeth Jade, and hoped to hear

it at the SF show.


The next night, the crowd was pretty rambunctious at one point, shouting out

their requests. Now it's not like me to *shout* out requests...honest; I

generally consider it rude, but hey, it felt right and I was *right* in front

of the stage. :) "EJ!" I shouted, and everyone looked at me like I was

growing horns. Robyn took it and ran... It went something like this...


"EJ? <smile> Oh, San Francisco will never hear the likes of I'll

*never* again play EJ! Go back to where you're from and pen some more

ditties! I *ESCHEW* EJ!!"


Of course this went on much longer and was *very* funny. But this is simply

all my pea brain (with help, at that!) could muster.


As one Bay Feg suggested, his omission of Elizabeth Jade could simply have

been something personal against me (thanks, Russ! :P), or San Francisco. If

the former, I'm sure he was just ticked at me for lying to him the night

before about being a Hedblade, and he made all of us pay for it. The NERVE!

He should have simply asked me to leave the Hall, played EJ, and invited me

back in. ;)



Mike Runion

Subject: A Robyn Christmas Message


Someone asked if Robyn's ever done a Christmas song or talked about Christmas. I found this one...


"I think with Christmas coming up, you have to think about your own personal safety more, and think like "Should I go gliding?" Because particularly you get strong winds and cross currents and if you're gliding down any big downtown metropolitan areas of any major American city, you're in danger of being caught in a sudden gust and smashing through one of those steel and glass edifices that pepper your terrain. 

We don't have that problem so much in Europe, we don't have so many high buildings, but we've got very deep gulches instead. A lot of people get swallowed up in gulches at Christmas and they're kept down there for any number of years. They might pop out three years later. And your sense of time is different when you're in a ravine. You don't realize you've been away and you come back to Betty and Pop and all the folks and you've got these gifts and you say "Here they are" and you've got a long white beard and hollow sunken eyes and you say "Hey Junior, here's your tricycle". And Junior's know...kinda got barbed wire around his wrists and everything like that and his head on backwards and he lazers(?) you in the eye saying "F**k off, Ancient One". And you don't realize you feel you've been dissed but it's cause you've been in the ravine outside of time. And I feel this problem only happens when we're gonna glide around Christmas. I mean, it'd be great to just glide through Christmas. Another bad thing about Christmas is you have to relate to your family. If you're from a typical white disfunctional family, the last thing you want to do is relate so you have to watch television instead. That's like sorta developing a smack habit to get away from alcohol."

- Robyn introducing 1974 at The Met Cafe, Providence, RI 12/5/96 

Some RH quotes from the new MUSICIAN magazine article (Sept 1998):

"Doing videos is not a stimulating experience unless they've built some incredible tableau for you to cavort around in. All you're doing is repeating fragments of a song and miming to it. I guess if you're really high on yourself, you can rave around and holler and look good. But significantly, the last time I did a video, the only thing the director kept in the final cut was all the outtakes; he didn't use any of the parts we were miming."

"Ten years ago, if you got signed to a record label, you had to make a video no matter what, but the stakes are upped a bit now. They don't want to put the money into a video these days unless they feel you're going to have a hit. Try and maintain as much control over these things as you can. Once they get out of your hands, people will start coming up to you and saying, 'Oh, I'm your biggest fan, I love what you do...Now why don't you stand over there with a bucket on your head?' You need to have some say in the direction of your visual presentation. Mind you, your ideas might be terrible; it might be better if a director strong-arms you into something. But you should at least be given the chance to voice your own ideas. Of course, if you're working with someone you know you can trust, it's much better to defer to them."

"What's most important to remember is that musicians aren't actors, and you shouldn't feel pressured to become one. There are people whom the video genre suits, like Michael Stipe, but videos involve miming, which you don't do in real life. Live performance is what music is really about, not acting. Even in front of the cameras, you've got to be you."

"What was really nice about _Storefront_ was that we got the best of both worlds. Capturing a live performance does away with the sterility of video, but doing it in something other than a standard live situation, so you don't have the usual sweaty discomforts of a club gig, was brilliant. I'd recommend that approach to everyone."

"...I don't mind being filmed. I'd rather face four movie cameras than one 35mm Nikon anytime, because the movie cameras will catch you in motion and you don't have to worry so much about how well your face composes in a single shot."

<I've come to the conclusion that I seriously need to expand

my RH tape collection>


be careful, dave. that's a pretty slippery slope. no matter how unremarkable any robyn show might be, there are always at least one or two moments where you just say, "" for example, the other night i was listening to a show from february of last year. basically a pretty good show, although of quite poor sound quality. two things stuck out, though. one was that he told a long story about god and the devil. no biggie, right? although it was a very funny story. but he told the story over the course of several songs. he'd just stop the story, play another song, then start it up again. don't think i've ever heard him do that before.then, after the last song (Heliotrope), he did a little reading -- he was closing his shows with readings at that point. but as soon as he was done reading, without even pausing or giving the audience time to clap --or even realize that the reading was finished, i guess-- he told a very personal story about his initial exposure to pornography, saying that he was basically just a "wanker, a voyeur," and that the first song on the first soft boys record started out, "feel like making love to a photograph." [actually the second line, of course.] he then lambasted the "do me do me" culture created/fed by pornography, and finished saying, "i don't know who's to blame, or if it's even worth blaming anybody. but it'd be nice if it ended. and that's that. thank you for coming, good night."although he's often made comments critical of western culture, it is probably the most heartfelt thing i've ever heard him say. mostly, i suppose, because he wasn't trying to be funny or audacious or whatever. he was just kind of telling it as he perceived it.


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