Okay, I know I've been a bit of a slacker about this, but I don't always have the time to comb the web, guys :(
First up, the lovely Andrew Frisicano of Brooklyn Vegan, about Jonathan's Valentine's Day extravaganza:
Overall, the set was similar to (if looser than) his summer 2009 shows at Bowery Ballroom (one difference being the somber absence of Vic Chesnutt, who was never mentioned but his presence was felt in the tour's unfilled opening spot). The Valentine's Day touch did make it special for the crowd (like some go to church to get refreshed, others go to see Jonathan Richman). He talked freely in and out of his songs about his own romance and its lows and highs. One Juliet in the house even brought up a bouquet of flowers, which sent him beaming. He closed out the night with "Le Printemps Des Amoreux Est Venue," and, politely asking permission to play just two more, added "Mr. Sorrow" and the perfect "Not So Much to be Loved as to Love."
You can read all of it, along with excellent pictures and video, here.
Next up! Kenneth Partridge of Spinner gives us a review that both has some delightful turns of phrase and also answers the question "Is Jonathan totally anti-psychiatric?"
Such is the nature of Richman's worldview, a sort of optimistic realism best exemplified on 'When We Refuse to Suffer,' which came later in the show. In that song, the former Modern Lovers frontman rejects air conditioning, anti-depressants and other quick fixes, insisting, "If we think we can cheat sorrow -- well, we can't."
It's not that he's a Tom Cruise-style anti-pill crusader -- in fact, in a playful aside, Richman said psychiatric drugs are fine for those who genuinely need them. He simply believes in taking the good with the bad and finding the beauty in each.
And the rest of that is here.
And then! Someone actually did email me a review, thanks be to your individual higher power, somewhere. This is from Andy Peters, who went and saw Jojo in Athens, and it makes me a little sad for Jonathan:
review of Jonathan Richman show, Athens, Ga., Feb. 6, 2010
after the second song, he spoke about how difficult it was to come to Athens because of memories of Vic Chesnutt, who died in December. Vic was supposed to have opened the Athens show for Jonathan.
“I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar”
“No One Was Like Vermeer”
Some song with the words “stultify” and “formaldehyde”
He took requests and played “Since She Started to Ride”
The second-to-last song was an extended version of a song about embracing pain and embracing the weeds and trash around a dirty pond and rejecting air-conditioned, no-feeling places.
Then he talked again about Vic Chesnutt, saying that they wouldn’t be able to attend a memorial for Vic in Athens in a couple of weeks, because they would be touring, but they would be there in spirit.
He closed with a song about watching his mother dying in a nursing home.
There was a long call for an encore, but Jonathan didn’t come back out.
Jonathan and Tommy ate breakfast the next morning at The Grit in Athens
Alot of reviews I've read about the tour have talked about the strange sort of emptiness left by Vic's abscence, and that just makes me sad for everyone involved on every level.
Photos are by the very talented Gongfujazz, who I recommend you go check out.