There was a sort of resignation written all over Evan Dando’s face when he ambled through Vancouver at the Biltmore Cabaret. Etched under the forehead and under the greasy hair was giant SIGH that’s pretty much always been there. It was the same face that I saw backstage at the height of Lemonheadmania at the Spectrum in Toronto in November, 1992. The same face I saw in November 2011 at the same venue in Vancouver. The same face in May 2014.
Perhaps it was because the crowd was thin: hadn’t been much promotion for this lonely solo tour, and he was slotted into one of of those early, pre-dance club, curfewed shows. Perhaps he was just tired. Perhaps he was lonely. He certainly looked it as he quietly zipped up his guitar backstage and tried to avoid all conversation. Perhaps it was because he knew, with some sort of rock and roll prescience, that 11 days later that ol’ trusted, taped Gibson guitar would be stolen from his van. In Winnipeg of all places.
Whatever the reason for Dando’s shrug of a set, he sounded LOVELY. He smiled, briefly, fleetingly between a song or two when he was forced to acknowledge our existence. But we loved when he smiled. It makes all the difference, you know. He asked if anyone had a capo, and then walked off stage to get one – though in a great act of lo-fi-ness, a fan offered a beer bottle to use instead. He shuffled through pages of songs, and chose a bunch. Two of them were Smudge covers – “Tenderfoot” and “Divan”. Others (“My Drug Buddy”, “The Great Big No”) caused the bros in the front rows to hug, and hoist drinks in honour. Because it didn’t matter what might have been going through Dando’s head, he sounded really quite perfect. Memories flooded past, and most of us there, at one point looked at someone next to us and smiled and nodded. And when, without fanfare, he launched into a mellower version of It’s a Shame About Ray’s “Confetti”? Well, we kinda, shoulda, sorta, woulda loved him if we coulda. But the story’s getting closer to the end.
I mean, he kinda shoulda sorta woulda loved us back if he coulda, but maybe Evan Dando would rather be alone than pretend. \m/
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