As you'll be more than familiar with all of those, I won't attempt to describe the music—live they were faithful to their album versions, and I think I have the set list in the correct order (thanks to two other Semisonic fans who were also at that gig) so you get the aural picture.
I have to say that it's been a long time since I was really, really surprised by anything or anyone but Dan Wilson achieved that on 9th June! As I said, I was anticipating a rather introverted evening—those beautiful slow, meaningful songs couldn't fail to create a few tears in me, at least—but I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, the songs were the same, and I got the same feelings but the whole atmosphere was so up that even I didn't have to worry about the eyeliner which I'd applied so automatically back home!
Those who've never seen Semisonic live are unlikely to be prepared for Dan's energy, enthusiasm and sense of humour, which are qualities obviously shared by Jake and John. Dan is an entertainment in himself! I think the first inkling I got of this was when he introduced "Get a Grip" by telling us that he'd read a review of it over here, and he gave us the impression that he was somewhat offended to find that the reviewer had completely misconstrued the whole meaning of the song in thinking that it was about a certain activity beginning with w and ending ing. He accused us British of not understanding anything, and just about the whole audience collapsed in laughter when he revealed what it was really about. The reviewer had been right all along, and Dan had been leading us to believe he didn't understand the English slang! If I weren't so inhibited I'd have yelled out "I'll tell your Mom"—and would probably have got an amusing reply from him.
For those of you with a sartorial interest, Dan was wearing a suit—matching light blue denim jacket and jeans with a rip across the left knee (as a long-time Neil Young fan I highly approved!) and a red T-shirt, plus the shoes he was wearing on the ACC back cover photo. Soon after he arrived on stage, he looked hot and progressively so as the minutes wore on. Therefore, by the end of the fourth song I was not surprised to find him taking his jacket off. He handed this to one of the roadies, well, laid it across his arm, while looking out at the audience with a grin on his face. He got a round of applause for it! Being only a few feet from Dan, I had the advantage of seeing his every move and am only sorry that my view of both John and Jake wasn't the best. John was wearing a black jacket and non-matching jeans and Jake's clothes were lighter in colour (I'm open to correction on this).
Not long into their set, Dan tried to persuade everyone to sit down - they'd got us all on our feet with "Never You Mind"—but throughout the evening it was continual standing up and sitting down, often at Dan's request, though he did say we could sit down whenever we liked! He introduced most songs by telling us what they were about—and I'll confine my "transcription" to the songs which may not be explained on the Semisonic website.
I'm really surprised DND has proved to be such a mystery to many fans. I thought if the abbreviation was unknown, the song explained it all. It's the sign motel guests can hang on their doors requesting staff "Do Not Disturb". Dan said they'd received a lot of e-mails asking the meaning of those 3 letters.
"All Worked Out" is a great song and Dan preluded by saying that when you go out with a girl you want sex with her, but usually she says "no—now wait" so you wait and eventually you do have sex and then she says "let's get married," then it's the guy saying "no—now wait!" As Dan played his guitars, I couldn't help noticing his wedding ring - and he's feeling strangely fine; that's easy to tell, and probably not so strangely.
"Act Naturally" is a request to the one he (or the song's first person character) makes to the one he loves to hide the fact that things between them aren't going too well. As Dan said, it's something we all do when asked how we are. We reply "Fine," no matter what's going on in our lives, out of sight of the world.
[Continued on Page Three.]
This review Copyright © 2002, Lauretta Hobson. All rights
reserved. Reproduced with permission.
The right of Lauretta Hobson to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
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