6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

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6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

Post  Cokelike on Sun 1 Jul - 6:05

6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

Setlist:

Good Woman - 6:19
American Flag - 7:02
I Dont Blame You - 4:20
Sad, Sad Song - 3:43
Psychic Hearts - 4:51
Maybe Not - 9:54
When I Lay Me Down - 2:23
Why - 3:09
Willie - 5:06
Evolution - 5:16
Empty Shell - 3:43
Islands - 1:34
After It All (false start) - 1:00
After It All - 2:36
Talking - 0:54
Come On In My Kitchen - 1:18
Werewolf - Moonshiner - 3:05
My Daddy Was A Musician - 4:50
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground - 4:02
Pee Argument - Instrumentals - 7:51
Black Sabbath - 3:41
Try Me - These Arms Of Mine - I've Been Loving You Too Long - Fuck The Pain Away Medley - 11:33
Total Time: 1:41:20


This was the 75th performance of the tour. Just 8 days after this concert Chan would play the last date of her "You Are Free" North American/Europe tour. She played about 80 performances in about 4 and a half months. In the 2nd half of the year she would make about 28 additional performances, including an 11 date run in Australia.

This concert was originally recorded onto minidisc and converted to FLAC. I'd like to say Thank You to the person who shared this. As Chan often performs one song going right into the next one, many of the tracks on my copy contained 3 or 4 songs to one track. I have split up the tracks by song in these cases. The times above reflect my re-indexing. The recording is good quality, if alittle bassy. Even so most instruments and vocals come through well and its a decent enough recording. There is some distortion during some of the louder parts and a small amount of hiss, but its not too bad at all.

Good Woman - The recording begins, maybe appropriately enough with Chan quoting Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown", "I'm about to have a nervous breakdown!". She doesnt sing it here, but reviews from other shows mention her at least performing an acapella version of this at some time. She then starts "Good Woman" with the band coming in behind her. Again, violin, guitars, drums. Her bandmates add backing vocals as usual, and they sound really good.

American Flag - This starts with about 2 minutes of chatting with the audience. Some remarks about reverb and not wanting to play "American Flag". But they go ahead and play it. Interestingly, there is no guitar feedback to found in this version. Coleman Lewis seems to quote a guitar riff from the Beatles "Dont Let Me Down" before the "Shoop, Shoop Be-Doop" part.

I Dont Blame You - Again, Chan on guitar for this one. Margaret on keyboard, and back-up vocals from the band. This is a good solid version of the song.

Sad, Sad Song - "Does everyone here forgive me? I sound like shit," Chan says at the beginning. She sounds great in fact and the band turns in another tight version of this M. Ward cover.

Psychic Hearts - This is a Thurston Moore cover which Chan first released on her "Undercover" EP in 1996. I have no other live version of this except for a '96 version. Let me just say her take here is awesome. Definitely a highlight of the concert. Theres a great part where her guitarist hits a bad chord and she works the line "What the fuck?" into her lyrics. This 2 chord song sounds like it comes right out of a '98 concert.

Maybe Not - Before this starts there is about 4 minutes of chatter. Chan makes a comment about Sybil saying, "Tonight is like different emotions. You're seeing one of me." She asks the band want they want to do and turns down a request for "Werewolf". She then moves to piano for this song with Margaret now on bass and vocals. This is a good take on the song.

When I Lay Me Down - At this point the band leaves the stage for the solo part of the concert. I dont know the real name of this unreleased song. This is a great take on it though, probably my favorite version that I have heard.

Why - She goes right into this from the last song. Also unreleased, this is a decent take.

Willie - From the last song goes right into this. A song that would later end up on "The Greatest", this is the earliest version I have heard. There are a number of different verses here and this version is longer than the "The Greatest" take.

Evolution - Right into this from the last song. Like her previous radio session takes on this, she only sings the verse once, but then goes into some really cool chords to end it. It's played and sang very well.

Empty Shell - After a minute or 2 of chatting, she says "This is a song for Dana". Chan is now on guitar. Like "Willie", this is also a very early version of a "The Greatest" track. It's so interesting that Chan has played many of her album tracks years in advance of their release. She plays this well.

Islands - Another "The Greatest" track, this had been in the setlist for awhile. She goes right into this from the last song with a short re-start.

After It All (false start) - She stops this after 2 lines of verse, asking "Is this boring?".

After It All - She re-starts the song after a moment of confusion. This is the 4th song played tonight that would later appear on "The Greatest". Also the earliest version I have heard. Sounds like all the lyrics arent quite there yet.

Talking - Someone calls for "Moonshiner", but Chan does not play it at this moment.

Come On In My Kitchen - Instead Chan plays this. Not a very good version, cut short after a few verses.

Werewolf - Moonshiner - She goes right into this from the last song. This would fall out of the setlist in the next year, save for a version from 2012. Almost unnoticeably, she takes "Werewolf" right into "Moonshiner", mid-song for a few verses.

My Daddy Was A Musician - Without stopping she goes into this unreleased song. The whole "Come On In My Kitchen - Werewolf - Moonshiner - My Daddy Was A Musician" medley is really good and works like only Chan could make it work. This is also a highlight of the concert. This ends the solo portion of the concert.

Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground - The band is now back on stage, with Margaret on violin. At the end the recording fades out.

Pee Argument - Instrumentals - We come back to the concert with this bizarre exchange. About 8 minutes of weirdness. Chan seems to be having a conversation with her soundwoman, Dana (I think). It seems she has to pee, but has changed her mind about it. Chan insists that she must go pee. "Go pee, we can handle ourselves", says Chan. Meanwhile Coleman begins playing "I'm So Tired", by the Beatles as background music to this. "Them's fightin' words, go pee Dana", Chan says. "Let's take five minutes, everyone go pee". This goes on for awhile. Restless for a song to start, Chan says "Hit it, hit it!". Coleman plays a few random riffs. A few random instrumentals, apropos of nothing follows. Coleman says, "This is the 2nd to last show of this tour since this tour began on May 14th". I take this to mean the remaining shows were just Chan, solo. "We've been doing this since February, we're tired", Chan says. Meanwhile Chan is still trying to get Dana to pee. Neutral

Black Sabbath - This had been played at other concerts on this tour. It nevertheless comes out of left field here. Chan goes on about who knows what ("I'm prince, I'm prince! I feel vulnerable, I feel very nervous...") until she starts singing. She actually sings some of the beginning of the song before it goes right into...

Try Me - These Arms Of Mine - I've Been Loving You Too Long - Fuck The Pain Away Medley - As has been reported from other reviews, this was one of Chan's standard set closers on this tour. A combination of James Brown and Otis Redding covers. Margaret plays violin on this. Once again, Chan makes use of the similar chord structures of the songs to mix them together, just as she has done for her "Blue Moon - Try A Little Tenderness - All I Have To Do Is Dream" medley. "I've Been Loving You Too Long", in a more faithful form, would go on to be featured in concerts all the way up to 2008 with the Dirty Delta Blues Band. About 2/3rd of the way in Chan starts singing "Fuck The Pain Away", supposedly, inspired by the song by Peaches. If you have ever heard the Peaches song, this sounds nothing like it, which is okay, really. In any case this is another highlight of the concert. I can only imagine what it was like at the show itself to witness all the great moments and weird moments end with this.

-------------------------------------------

Fan Review

As a Cat Power gig virgin, I approach this with mild trepidation. I drag my long-suffering brother along who’s never heard a single Cat Power song, let alone album, and after all the live reports I’ve read, expect a “difficult” few hours and an even more awkward ride home. None of this is helped by the fact that Leicester Phoenix Arts Centre, as its name suggests, looks like the sort of place you’d expect pretentious students in green leotards to reinterpret the Spanish Civil War through the art of dance on wet Saturday afternoons. I decide to wear my best tweed and practise stroking my chin in preparation. Inevitably, I was stupid to worry about this shit. This gig acts as another in a long line of cautions against believing in the words of smelly lazy journalist scum.

Stepping on stage, fags and beers in hand, Chan and her band seem (from what you can actually see of them) at ease. Chan asks if anyone wants strawberries. They do. Backed by some crazy cartoon chase-type music she gleefully runs round theatre handing the strawberries out. It’s a lovely warm and human moment and one of many that makes you feel like you’re watching friends rather than a bunch of detached rock stars. Tonight, it genuinely seems like the band are having fun. Chan even pokes fun at the media perception of her when she declares “I’m having a mental breakdown”. Well, it seems to me like she’s joking anyway. And she tap dances.

Sure, there are moments where Chan stops a song mid-point and starts talking to herself, apologising or asking the audience if she’s boring them. But these are fewer than I’d been led to expect and tonight are conveyed with a charm that’s irresistible. What’s striking is just how haunting and beautiful Chan’s voice is in real life. It sounds great on record, don’t get me wrong, but live, it bowled me over. When she just lets go, as she does on the snippet of Moonshiner that gets aired, it’s a sound to rouse the most cynical old soul. There are some surprises too. After a mid-set no-breaks solo set Chan starts strumming what sounds to be the opening riff to Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground. As the band arrive back on stage and join in, they burst into a version so alive and whole that you almost wish the White Stripes had a violinist. I Don’t Blame You and Maybe Not are among the others that somehow improve on their previous perfection (I’m not too good at remembering set lists).

The onstage banter adds humour and sparkle to the darker moments, such as where Chan orders everyone to “go pee”. In a way it reminds you of the Breeders at their wonderfully shambolic best, but with slightly more manic undertones. You can’t take your eyes off it, but in a good way. As with the Breeders, it makes you resent forgettable rock bands who come on, peddle the same soulless rock aesthetic shit and then fuck off to get their hair restyled or whatever. I’d take Cat Power’s brand of madly beautiful imperfection any day.

“Don’t you just feel happy to be alive?” asks Chan after a couple of songs. I do now. I really do. What more can you ask for?


Last edited by Cokelike on Thu 19 Jul - 1:10; edited 5 times in total

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Re: 6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

Post  Nicolaoua on Sun 1 Jul - 9:08


I probably don't say enough how impressive is your work in this section!

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Re: 6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

Post  Cokelike on Sun 1 Jul - 9:21

Nicolaoua wrote:
I probably don't say enough how impressive is your work in this section!


Why, thank you, Nico! More to come. Very Happy

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Re: 6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

Post  Sab on Sun 1 Jul - 9:22

Nicolaoua wrote:
I probably don't say enough how impressive is your work in this section!

I second that! thumbs up

Already told you, Cokelike but a big thank you! It's amazing! cheers

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Re: 6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

Post  Cokelike on Mon 4 Apr - 16:52


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Re: 6/19/03 - Leicester, England, The Phoenix Arts Center

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