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Re: (TV) Now, I can die happy (Chicago review)
Great review. Makes me real sorry to have missed it.
Hopefully there will be more shows!
> From: "Philip P. Obbard" <email@example.com>
> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 09:29:34 -0700 (PDT)
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> Subject: (TV) Now, I can die happy (Chicago review)
> It was transcendent. It was stunning. I am in awe 12 hours later. Moreover, I
> still cannot believe I finally saw Television perform live, and that when I
> did, they were so damn good.
> I met Maurice, Rick, Leo, Scott, and Heath before the show to get dinner. As
> always, it's fun meeting "internet friends" in real life, and I'm sure they
> got a good impression of me, the dorky guy with the Television t-shirt and the
> umbrella (in my defense, it WAS raining).
> At about 6:30, we made our way to the Metro. It's a small, fire-trap venue
> feels like someone turned their attic into a concert venue but forgot to tell
> the fire marshal. The opening act was competent but enjoyable. At the end of
> it, Leo, Scott, and I pushed our way up front (3rd row of people from the
> stage, directly in front of the center microphone) and found ourselves in a
> circle of fellow Television fanatics - e.g., a fellow New Yorker about my age,
> a female former New Yorker, a bit younger than I, who said she would "go
> anywhere" to hear Television play, and a guy who had seen the MC5 play in
> heyday and was carrying a duffel bag containing roughly 20 Television concert
> tapes in it!
> At around 8:20, Television emerged, and began tuning their guitars. By now,
> venue was packed - balcony and lower floor - and the audience was already
> shouting and hollering everytime Verlaine looked up. The setlist:
> 1880 or so
> This Tune
> Beauty Trip
> Little Johnny Jewel
> See No Evil
> Call Mr. Lee
> Prove It
> Marquee Moon
> -- Encore --
> Don't Need Your Lovin' Anymore / Psychotic Reaction
> "1880 or so" was a bit stiff, with Richard's frenetic soloing almost sounding
> as if it belonged in another concert, but after a grinding, hard "This Tune",
> the rest of the band began to hit their stride. Fred was solid and serious,
> Lloyd played liked a man possessed, Ficca was - as always - the band's secret
> weapon, able to single-handled create and suppress a sheer tornado of sound,
> and Verlaine looked pleased, smiling at little mistakes, joking with the
> audience ("We all bought new clothes for this show" - obviously a lie - and
> laughing when someone yelled "Nice pants!" to him). "Call Mr. Lee" was a
> powerhouse, with Richard playing up a storm; "Prove It" got the entire
> singing to the chorus. The band was really at full power on "Rocket", seguing
> into "Rhyme" for one of the highlights of the night - the two weakest songs on
> the 1992 LP transformed into a tour de force of playing.
> As an aside, we made some of the same observations those of you in the UK had
> the audience did not react nearly as wildly to Lloyd's playing as they did to
> Verlaine's - seemingly unfair, but I'm sure Verlaine's front-man status helps.
> Richard, actually, didn't look nearly as absorbed in his performance as he
> when I have seen him solo; standing at a distance from the rest of the band,
> seemed a bit listless and detached (although his playing was not!) in
> On the other hand, after the first few numbers, Verlaine was commanding,
> energetically soloing, pumping his leg throughout the show as if it were
> driving the band during his rhythm parts, and altogether being far more
> than previous reviews of their post-1978 shows had made me think he would be.
> Finally, "Marquee Moon". As Rick said, we got and unexpected bonus when
> suddenly broke a string and had to switch guitars during the crescendo. At
> first, Tom and Billy did a serious of rapid-fire "question and answer" moves,
> with Tom's screeching guitar bits being matched by Billy's drumming; then, Tom
> screeched through the crescendo by himself with Billy and Fred racing behind
> him. Checking on Richard's progress and smiling, Tom resumed soloing with
> Billy, only this time faster, harder, and more possessed; between he and Ficca
> there was not a moment of hesitation or silence. Finally, Lloyd re-armed, they
> ran through the crescendo a final (third) time, ending the song in a huge rave
> up. It was an unexpected surprise - I felt like we should have paid extra to
> see it. Richard seemed a bit peeved at having been out of action for so long,
> but Tom and Billy were definitely enjoying themselves (Fred's a bit harder to
> The band left the stage and the place went wild; for a small venue, it was
> easily the most enthusiastic encore-pounding I have heard in a long time. The
> band re-emerged and broke into "Glory" to cheers. After four minutes or so,
> exchanged glances with the band and they segued into "Don't Need Your Lovin'
> Anymore", but after only a minute of this, Tom signaled to Billy, and they
> switched to "Psychotic Reaction". (Was it just me, or did Richard looked
> surprised about this?) Nonetheless, the guitars locked for this one as they
> through two verses and corresponding rave-ups before bringing the show to a
> It was, all things considered - my plane fare, the ticket, the cabs, etc. -
> worth every penny, and the best birthday present I've ever given myself. I was
> concerned I would be underwhelmed at finally seeing Television, but I found
> them engaging, energetic, and surprisingly tight and fluid for a band that has
> barely played together in 8 years. I won't jinx this great night by hoping
> get to see them again, sometime, somewhere (maybe next time, they won't be
> promoting an album that's been out of print in the US for years). In the
> meantime, a big "great show!" goes to Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Verlaine, Mr. Ficca, and
> Mr. Smith.
> (Was anyone in the audience who also saw the UK shows, for comparison?)
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