US alt-rockers The Lemonheads made their first return to Adelaide in quite some time, well for me it has been quite a long time since the first time I saw them play a festival at Flinders University with Regurgitator back in the nineties when they were the bees knees. They are one of those acts you just have to see with albums such as It’s A Shame About Ray, Come On Feel The Lemonheads and Car Button Cloth being a soundtrack to growing up in the nineties.
The main stay of The Lemonheads has always been Evan Dando with the band rarely having a stable line up and nowadays mostly just touring members. There were plenty of cool t-shirts worn by fans collected back in the day, that albeit a little worn and tattered they wore it like a badge of honour that they were proud to see their band play in Adelaide at The Gov.
For me it was an interesting show for many reasons. It was great to hear all The Lemonheads classics but the show did take a different turn with Dando choosing to go well deep in to the back catalogue, so far so I don’t know if everyone knew the majority of songs he was playing, I know I didn’t! Also, the biggest frustration during the show was the fact that one song would literally roll straight in to the next not really giving the crowd the opportunity to show their appreciation because the next one had commenced. Yep, it’s all about the music but it would have been good to hear more from Dando besides the obligatory thank you. Having said that though the show was solid and there is no doubt that fans would have heard most of the songs they would have wanted to hear.
It all started with Down About It followed by the Smudge cover Tenderfoot. There were some great tunes early with The Great Big No, My Drug Buddy and It’s A Shame About Ray. The Gram Parsons cover I Just Can’t Take It Anymore was a real treat. Right after Mexico that’s where things were stripped right back delving in to Hard Drive, another Smudge cover The Outdoor Type and a Victoria Williams cover Frying Pan. Not saying this was a bad thing by any stretch but it was about now where he had really lost him. His vocals sounded great, played great but just ventured in to unfamiliar territory for me.
Once he ventured back to what I would consider staples for The Lemonheads such as Confetti, The Turnpike Down, Hannah & Gabi and Big Gay Heart things started to pick up. The set finished on If I Could Talk I’d Tell You and it was no that there was a sense of anticipation that they might play Mrs Robinson. The show needed it, the fans wanted to hear it but from all reports pre-tour the band don’t really play that one any more. Returning for an encore of Being Around that was it. Dando slipped out the back straight after for a smoke and later hanging out with fans reflecting on the night no doubt.
Live Review by Rob Lyon