1. This will sound blasphemous, but Uncle Bob was not in the greatest form last night. An hour into the concert, Pollard was already slurring his speech, staggering around on stage (and later, would forget the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Now” at the encore) — a result, perhaps, of the many Bud Lights and swigs of tequila (and a puff on a joint from an audience member). This didn’t keep him from the flying kicks though.
2. Though the band certainly was in fantastic form: tighter, louder, more aggressive — and as Pollard himself kept repeating throughout, “more professional.” (After all, Tommy Keene was playing lead guitar and keyboards, and Jon Wurster from Superchunk was behind the drums.)
3. I was also, unbelievably, falling asleep! (This may be a combination of 5 hours’ sleep plus various other things I won’t name.) This was in contrast, I think, to the 1-2-3 punch of Guided By Voices concerts of old, where the hits kept on coming; the set (which was over 2 hours) more or less meandered through From a Compound Eye. (The album itself is worth checking out, but the sheer quantity of songs has made it difficult to remember most of them; the excellent live versions of the 5-minute epic “Conqueror of the Moon” and “U.S. Mustard Company” made me want to listen to the originals again.)
4. The High Strung was excellent: melodic power-pop nuggets in longer twisty musical suite wrappers. (Sorry, I can’t think of another way to say it.) Plus a hilarious story about Arby’s-related diarrhea.
5. “We’re not playing ‘Echos Myron.’ No ‘Echos Myron.’ Fuck ‘Echos Myron’ fans. That’s right, boo me.”
6. “Did I say Liz Phair was an attractive woman?”
7. After long solos on (I think) “The Kingdom Within:” “That was our ‘jam.’ We did it because we’re in San Francisco.”
8. And so we finally got to the encore (“This is the GBV set,” Pollard said) which comprised, in no order: “Sad If I Lost It,” “Girls of Wild Strawberries,” “Get Under It” (I think), “Game of Pricks,” “My Kind of Soldier,” “The Brides Have Hit Glass” (a surprise), “Choking Tara,” “Little Lines,” “My Valuable Hunting Knife” and (best of all) “Gold Star for Robot Boy.”
9. The funniest part was one of the new T-shirts on sale, with a really cool Terry Gilliam-style image on the front. And on the back: “Gang of Four – $45 / The Pixies – $60 / Robert Pollard – priceless.”