Funny thing about concert reviews is that the more positive it is the more likely it will be widely read. Bands and fans tend to pass on links for the good reviews; not so much for the negative ones. That tendency coupled with the amazing lack of interest and passion I witnessed from Evan Dando and The Lemonheads has convinced me that the right approach would be a half-assed review that reflects the band’s effort at Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions in Orlando on Thursday night.
For all intents and purposes, The Lemonheads are Evan Dando plus two revolving players. The other two members of his trio has literally included at least two dozen members over the last twenty years. That’s a lot of turnover. Chuck Treece, a journeyman drummer who has played with some notable acts over the years was on drums. We expected to see Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday) on bass, but he was not in the line-up this night.
The tour is featuring a 20th Anniversary tribute to The Lemonheads’ fantastic breakthrough album It’s a Shame About Ray played through in its entirety. He raced through it in under 30 minutes, spent the entire set staring at the setlist and never acknowledging the small crowd. The only sign of life from Dando was a whimsical smile as he wrapped up “Frank Mills.” He did not play “Mrs. Robinson,” still peeved that most casual fans like the song as much as any of his self-penned hits.
After wrapping up the album set, Dando played a few acoustic songs. I have the set list, but just don’t feel like typing out the songs. The highlight of the show for me? During this acoustic set, I walked over to the bar and tried Abita’s IPA. An excellent, smooth beer with just the right level of bitterness.
Dando’s voice is still unique and poignant, but on this evening his guitar playing was uninspired. He really didn’t look his old beautiful self. I have pictures to prove that, but why spend the effort to upload them? Through the years, I’ve read enough Lemonheads concert reviews to know it’s a crapshoot on what Evan Dando version is going to take the stage. Looks like we got the poor version. Perhaps he was under the weather again?
The other two members of the band returned to the stage to rip through a few more songs, including a few crowd favorites. I’m sure you know the ones…
51 minutes later: Exit Stage Left. The pain for Dando and the fans was thankfully over.
Here a link to the featured album, which despite the lame show remains a 90’s masterpiece. Just don’t listen to Track 13…