Review of The Lemonheads live at Reading Festival, 23rd August 1997
High time for a man who really don't give a f___. High time for Evan Dando. "Some people call me stupid," he announces, pretty early in and patently out-of-it. "But that's the sun up there. I know it is..." From here on in, The Lemonheads are what we need. "I'm just an idot with attitude," he confesses, before a shakily handsome version of 'It's A Shame About Ray', which he also informs us, for no apparent reason, was written "in 1923".
Dando, of course, understands Reading. Or rather, he doesn't. He's been here before, hair tied in pigtails, hairy legs protruding from a floral dress, in the year that he and Courtney and the bloke everyone's already forgotten from Sebadoh made the festival their very own soap opera. Dando grasps the sense of occasion. It's a festival. F___ it. "So where the f___ is Richey, you guys?" he asks, as if it's a question any more. "Happy birthday, everybody whose birthday is tomorrow." He then informs us, in between songs, in no particular order and for no particular reason, that he wants to massage our grandmothers and that he's desperate for a shag. Silly stoner stuff but it acts as theatre, it's real and it's now. 'Into Your Arms' is as gorgeous as ever, 'Alison's Starting To Happen' is happy chaos, 'Outdoor Type' is hilariously appropriate and, at the end, when he cartwheels and somersaults and sits there and gives us the Devil fingers and then knocks over the speark stacks like some dork, he's done it. We are his and he didn't even have to try.
Later he is spotted backstage, covered head to foot in straw. Why? Because others perform and Dando, uh, no big deal, just does it. At some point he announces, again as if it's no big deal, that this may be the last Lemonheads gig ever. Then again, he does dedicate a song to Swervedriver. A man not to be trusted. Bless him.