Evan Dando live at Village Underground, NYC- 2nd September 2001
Review by Chris Larry
Next up was sad sack Evan Dando. The drug/sickness rumors have swirled around this guy since he failed to cash in on his good looks and indie rocks brief post Nirvana feeding frenzy and tonight did nothing to discount them. He currently is without a label living in New York, a dangerous place for people with drug problems. Four shots where laid on the stage by a waitress five minutes before he went on and that was the first sign of danger.
Dando wandered onstage looking like a mess with his features appearing bloated and his eyelids acting like they had anvils attached to them. He might not have opened his eyes five times the entire show and when he did they looked like swimming pools. He immediately rushed through a lame version of his near hit and title track to the 1992 Lemonheads release “It’s a Shame About Ray” and proceed to play many songs from that and its follow up flop Come On Feel The Lemonheads. Where the originals versions of “Being Around”, “Into Your Arms”, and “Hospital” were bright well crafted pop songs that varied in tempo and rhythm, this night they were dragged through a junked out haze that made them sound like one long boring song.
He was obviously cranky or just to out of it to care because he never smiled and mumbled between songs. He claimed to have just woken up and complained about the lights until finally they were basically shut off. The cheese ball sound/light guy got offended at Dando’s comments he pumped in the fog machine for the last half hour of the set. Dando perked up at the smoke, egging the dude on for more until the audience felt like we were getting hit with mustard gas.
He also personally went to a talkative table and asked for them to shut up, prompting one heckler to bust out with “Oh Rock Star needs quiet!” which got a pretty good laugh from the crowd. His guitar playing started out horrendous, missed chords and other various skronks were regular and he just sounded lazy. Again newcomer Kweller helped inject some life joining Dando on a song where he basically sang lead and carried it on his back. It was rewarded with undoubtedly the biggest ovation of the night. Dando even smiled once.
After that Lee joined in, and the
three did a spirited song that might have been the only new Evan Dando song
of the night. Other better moments were the appropriate “Drug Buddy”
which was the only song that survived its remaking as a slow dirge, his version
of Victoria Williams’ Frying Pan from the Sweet Relief benefit and set
closer and the self fulfilling prophecy “Rudderless” where the
refrain of “like ship without a rudder” provided some catharsis
to a somewhat disturbing show. His half hearted and painful feedback squall
ended the set and he left the stage not to return. It was hard not think he
had done just the minimum to collect a nights pay.