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Evan Dando live at Glasgow University Union - 7th May 2003

Preview from The Sunday Times

If there has ever been a man who will look back with a wistful sigh and say "I could have had it all", it's Evan Dando .

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, a guitar in his hands and a glaikit look in his eyes, Evan was blessed with a talent for jangly pop tunes with a touching lyrical honesty, but cursed with an inability to deal with the fame his doey eyed good looks brought. Just another might've been, it seemed, as he tumbled towards a drug-hazed oblivion - turning up on the wrong stage at festivals and unable to communicate during interviews.

He became renowned for just "hanging around" - known just because he was always there in the background.

As frontman of the Lemonheads (a band that was otherwise a constantly changing group of musicians) his biggest chart success remains a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson - a song originally recorded as a joke. Dando himself recently commented on his success: "I wanted to f*** it up as much as possible."

Mission accomplished there then.

But, five years out of the public eye (and the Met Bar) and everything has changed - he got married, kicked the drugs and formed some new musical partnerships. He also witnessed both the planes crashing into the twin towers from the roof of his apartment two blocks away, something that finally made him feel lucky and seems to have reinvigorated his will to live.

A sense of frustration that his talent, years of drug abuse and all that time hanging out have somehow amounted to nought comes across on his new album, with lyrics such as "Whatever part of you that's been calling the shots is fired" (from Why Do you Do This to Yourself?).

There's a feeling throughout the album that it's up to him to grab his chance by the throat this time - the demons have already been grabbed by the throat and banished, and suddenly, following Kurt Cobain down self-destruction alley is not the only way for his talent to be recognised.

It's hard not to want to give him a second chance. Certainly Dando's friends still believe - there's a host of guest contributors on the new material including the actress Liv Tyler, whom Dando roped in to help on Shots is Fired, the B-side of the first single from the new album. It's yet to be confirmed whether she will be helping out at the Glasgow gig, but there's always the chance she'll be "hanging around".


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