Live at Philly’s The Foundry venue, the erstwhile Lemonheads mainman celebrated his back catalog, and in remarkably low-key fashion.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Evan Dando, taking the stage for an intimate show of about 150 in Philadelphia, looked road worn. Having been on a tour across Europe, Asia and Australia for most of the spring, the Philly stop was his second to last on the U.S. leg of the tour, coinciding with the re-release of his solo effort, Baby I’m Bored. And the travel seemed to be taking its toll.
With little fanfare, wearing faded black jeans and a ¾ sleeve T, he stepped onto the small stage to expectant applause and quickly launched into the endearingly goofy, but still great “Being Around,” off 1993’s Come On Feel the Lemonheads. Regardless of how he looked (weary) and despite little interaction with the audience, Dando’s voice was as perfect as it had been on the band’s Magnus Opus, It’s a Shame About Ray, 25 years ago. For the next hour and 15 minutes – he ended the show precisely at 11 pm – he riffed through a stellar mix of songs from the two most popular Lemonheads’ albums and a healthy selection from Baby I’m Bored, all the while seemingly oblivious to the crowd in front of him.
There were no song introductions, barely any between-song banter, aside from some instructions to the sound guy, and oddly not even an acknowledgement when Marciana Jones, his bandmate in the side project The Sandwich Police, took the stage next to him halfway into the set to play electric guitar and provide backing vocals. (Based on unhappy critic and fan comments on Jones’ stage interactions with Dando in Australia recently, there may be a reason for this. – Blurt Research Dept.) Despite this bizarre obliviousness to the people he was playing to, the crowd was treated to a near-perfect set of Dando’s still impressive catalogue of music. For a little over an hour, Generation X’s favorite fuzz-pop troubadour pulled out just about everyone’s favorites. You could hear the crowd singing louder than Dando on songs like “Big Gay Heart” and their cover from the musical Hair, “Frank Mills.”
Dando played a one-and-a-half song encore, that started with a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” before it was abruptly aborted and he moved on to another song. Finished, he uttered a quick “thank you” and left the stage for the second and final time. He may not have been up for interacting with the crowd that came out to see him that night, but it’s hard to deny that he played the songs that people wanted to hear and in a voice that is still as commanding in 2017 as it was nearly three decades before.
Deets on all things Dando, including tour dates, at the Lemonheads Facebook page.