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Evan Dando live at Bash On Ash, Tempe AZ - 27th September 2003

By Christine Fuoco from Live Daily

Former Lemonheads lead singer Evan Dando (music) is one of those artists whose work is timeless. The rollicking "My Drug Buddy" and the willowy "Into Your Arms" are just as valid now as they were when he released the songs in the early 1990s.

So it's unfortunate that Dando's 90-minute show at Bash on Ash in Tempe, AZ, was plagued on Saturday (9/27) by muddy sound and a smallish crowd (100-plus). The shaggy-haired singer should have been able to delight fans with the effervescent pop tunes that made him a media and music darling. However, his vocals were nearly inaudible, save for an acoustic set near the end of the show, during which he sounded perfect.
Dando, a notorious--and unapologetic--former drug addict who reportedly is now clean, opened the show with a sprightly verse from the traditional "Home on the Range" and segued into "It Looks Like You," from his latest album "Baby I'm Bored." He closed his eyes during an acoustic rendition of the new song "Why Do You Do This To Yourself?," a self-explanatory story of self-abuse, and offered a lesson in speed metal by dropping down some serious guitar licks at the end of "Stop My Head."

He seemed happier than the Dando of the '90s, revealing a few smiles when the minimal yet hardcore crowd knew lyrics to songs from "Baby I'm Bored." At one point, he told jokes between songs. "How do you know if a duck has soul?" he asked the crowd. "You put him in the microwave and see if his bill withers." During his acoustic set, he played a few verses of a song before laughingly admitting, "That's all I know of that song."

Dando, wearing jeans and a yellow T-shirt, was perfectly at home on stage. During the new song "Hard Drive," he cocked his head and stared at the ceiling, his hair covering his eyes.

His guitar was seemingly his haven, and he often looked as if he was daydreaming during guitar solos. However, when he didn't have his band around him, Dando seemed awkward on stage, asking for the lights to stay dim and the monitor to be turned down. It was almost as if he used his acoustic set as a sound check, a bit too late.

The audience was fervent. Many in the crowd shook their "things" when he sang the line "If I were a dance floor/would you shake your thing?" from The Lemonheads (music)' "Being Around."

His set included most of "Baby I'm Bored" and a few hits; "Mrs. Robinson," "Into Your Arms" and "It's a Shame About Ray" were left out. He teased the audience with a few riffs from "Confetti." "I'm sorry, we're not playing that one tonight," he said with a laugh before forging into it full force. "Favorite T," "Outdoor Type" and "My Drug Buddy" were on the docket, too.

His closing was just as modest as his set. "See y'all later. I hope you had a good time. Have us back some time," he said with a smile.

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