I Often Dream Of Trains: Robyn Hitchcock Concert – 11.08.14

Posted: November 9, 2014 in Concerts

Robyn Hitchcock Concert – Ram’s Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD – 11.08.14

Just returned from the Robyn Hitchcock concert. Yes, it’s 7:05 PM and I’m home from the concert.  It was a 12:30 PM matinee at Ram’s Head On Stage in Annapolis, MD.  Other than festivals, I think this was the first time I’ve seen a concert that early.

In keeping with the sound and spirit of his latest album, “The Man Upstairs”, the show was very much stripped down.  It was just Robyn, his 6 string acoustic guitar and occasional harmonica. And I got to tell you, it truly worked. You got to really focus on the lyrics because his voice is still crystal clear and there weren’t many other instruments competing for the sonic space.



The show started strong with the very weird, “Don’t Talk To Me About Gene Hackman”

I’ll have a warm bath
I’ll have a bottle of wine
I’ll put myself to bed
And I’ll feel just fine
But don’t talk to me about Gene Hackman

He’s got an evil grin
He’s got curly hair
And every time he smiles
It means trouble somewhere
So don’t talk to me about Gene Hackman

He’s in every film
Sometimes wearing a towel
And if it isn’t him
You get Andie MacDowell
So don’t talk to me about Gene Hackman

Don’t talk to me at all
Don’t say hello
You could be Gene himself for all I know

In Unforgiven
He was totally mean
But when he got his
I really felt for Gene
But don’t talk to me about Gene Hackman

I’ll have a cold shower
I’ll have a bottle of pop
I’ll get a dog named Laszlo
From a Laszlo shop
But don’t talk to me about
Gee ee en ee aitch ay see kay em ay en
Gene Hackman
I’ll have a cold shower
I’ll have a bottle of juice
And when I’ll go outside
I’ll have a good excuse

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The venue really played well with this performance since everything was reserved seating with tables and chairs, where food and beverages could be purchased throughout the performance. Patrons were urged beforehand to respect the performance and refrain from talking during the show and for the most part they did; except for some of the little kids at the show (I don’t mind parents sharing great music with their children but please teach them manners before bringing them). Our seats were pretty good, about 20 feet from him to the left of the stage.


Per usual, spoken word interludes between songs featured his trippy, surreal and comical observations about things as varied as Johnny Marr, Magnum Force (the Clint Eastwood 2nd Dirty Harry film), how tuning the high strings sounds like sea lions, etc. I can’t even remember them all now.

The Magnum Force reference was not by chance, however. On “The Man Upstairs” and performed today is a song called “San Francisco Patrol”.  From Yep Roc Records, earlier this year:

Penned in its namesake city, “San Francisco Patrol” marks the third released installment of Hitchcock’s projected Magnum Force suite, a long-in-the-works eight-song cycle based on the 1973 Clint Eastwood classic, but really “about me.”

The approximately hour and a half show was very well paced and built somewhat in intensity as he added slide guitar and harmonica to later songs. He returned for a 3 song encore of covers and then wished us well and left.


We went to look for merchandise at the venue entrance but alas, he wasn’t selling anything at this show.  We returned to our table and I spotted him on the other side of the room, talking to people.  We went over to meet him and had him sign one of the bills/menus from the show that were laid at each table. We wanted to get a picture of him but he really didn’t go for that at all.  He doesn’t mind no-flash photography during the performance but does not do after show photos. One idiot flashed a pic during the show and he immediately called them out and told them not to do that. Some fans are total idiots. Ellen asked me how long I’ve been into his music and I said all the way back to The Soft Boys. He said “you don’t look old enough for that” (though I’m only 9 years younger than him). After he got done with signing the bill, I remember him saying goodbye and “take care of yourselves and take care of each other”.



This was the third time I’ve seen him; the first two times as Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians in the mid to late 80’s. Those shows were great too as I remember but this one had an old comrade kind of feel to it. I guess that’s since we’re both much older now and many of the songs go way back with us. The early shows were about the spirit of the moment while this one was like a more quiet reflection of who we were, what we became, and where we still might go. Any time a show makes me think like that hours after the event, I know I witnessed something important.  Important to me at any rate. Then again, I too, often dream of trains.



Set List:

1. Don’t Talk To Me About Gene Hackman
2. Nietzsche’s Way
3. The Cheese Alarm
4. Sally Was A Legend
5. You And Oblivion

6. Solpadeine
7. Trouble In Your Blood

8. San Francisco Patrol
9. Only The Stones Remain (The Soft Boys song)
10. Serpent At The Gates of Wisdom
11. I Got The Hots (The Soft Boys song)
12. Madonna Of The Wasps (Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians Song)
13. I’m Falling (Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 Song)
14. Alright, Yeah

15. Andmoreagain (Love Cover)
16. Pledging My Time (Bob Dylan Cover)
17. Visions of Johanna (Bob Dylan Cover)


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