Houston, TX December 15, 1994 reviewby Collier Hyams
Hi folkses! I just arose from a 5 hour mid-day nap. That 11 hour drive and a great Milla show took a great toll!
Currently, I am of the mind to write several small chapters on the show review, instead of one big long thingy... I don't write as pretty as Jon, yah see. I think I'll approach the whole thing in an abstract/artsy fashion that will easily confirm to my thought patterns. Hope all can comprehend!
Well, I met her twice... first just after the show, and then on her bus and boy was it herbal in there! But, I was a man, and took it all in...(?) Let me tell yah, High Times depiction was absolutely correct! and fun, too!
Guess what, she's a blond now... one of those shaved back of the neck-w-a-short-bob styles.
I'm still realing from the events, I'll give more excitingly groovy details in chapter 2. Thanks for the spending money guys! Just kidding! I bought some 8 or so shirts for people. As a matter of fact, the shirt folks waited for me after the show to buy so I didn't have to tote 'em around! Milla got a big kick out of this.. or at least a chuckle! Becky, Chris, Johan (sp) all think internet (thing) is "so cool"... Milla said that she is going to get a laptop. And do what with it you ask? Hey, she be da man!
till next chapter, collier firstname.lastname@example.org
pps. raka, how bout dat juicy info, huh. I will mail the shirts soon. Generally all shirts were 20 clams (and no whites to be found) shipping I'll check on tomorrow!
Chapter 2 has come a bit sooner than expected... I have a few moments at work, yah see! Carlos, sorry you missed out! I don't think I have anymore shirts, as a matter of fact I don't think I bought one for myself... ( I forgot?) The Milla show was at "Deep Ellum Live" in Dallas near the arts district. Shirts offered were both black. One design was the album cover the other was taken from her standing portrait from the album (in purple).
About the package I gave her... Standard oversize "manilla" envelope addressed - just in case I couldn't see her. Inside: close to 30 pages of printed pages including the letters from Jon and Mark and others; a cover letter on groovy recycled stock in which I went through the usual points - greetings, best wishes, internet, internet, internet, if you need help with internet please call any of us, more internet...; an organic t-shirt from my collection entitled "Mother Earth: Only We Hold The Key" (I make organic shirts and inks by the way) natural color with seaweed blue green and a bronze-ish color.; and a copy of my cd "wonder where you are" (international dub corps). I made sure to make the point that these were gift offerings, ala birthday and x-mas and not some attempt at making a connection!
Well, on to the events....
I talked to "Toad's..." guitar tech before the show. I asked where Becky was and he suggested that I go back outside where I'd been waiting in the cold and drizzles for an hour and a half waiting on will-call. Can we all shout "WE HATE TICKETMASTER!!!" (does anyone know if Pearl Jam did anygood with their suit biz?)
Becky and her family were eating at a pasta shop about a block away. I take it that her family is from Dallas or nearby. I saw them but gave them space. I met Becky's older sister and later we made a train through what would normally be the mosh-pit. I drug her and my girlfriend Nikole through the middle of it (Fun!!!) Becky was great! She must be the ultimate version of a manager! Polite, helpful, assertive and almost unstressed! She said "well this is a hell of night so it will be tight" turns out there were several record company persons bitching about security and other things and she had several interviews to do. She had me wait by the dressing room door until she called me (there were no dressing rooms, she used the bus).. The Toad show was very strong, of course... Milla was a bit brighter for me. I got to see most of the 2nd show. Becky would poke her head back in and say "I promise I haven't forgotten about you!". I watched her struggle with 2 or more styrofoam ice chests of beer and other beverages throughout the night ( yes, I did want to help out!)
Shortly after the show I briefly met Milla with Becky there and then Chris the keyboard/mandolin player. He hurriedly shouted something about "are you the internet guy? we really need to talk to you, make sure you hang around!"
I met several of the other members also, this will be next chapter! YEY which rhymes wid HEY which doesn't usual grow in MAY (shoot me! I'm still de-lear-e-ous-so!
Welcome to chapter 3!
And our first topic of conversation is Milla's hair... ... and to those people who were in shock, let me tell you, so was I!
#1 I was deathly afraid that she was going to be much taller than me. Why? probably some kind of complex, or sumthin'. #2 I really wanted to see all the naturalness of our fair lady. So, when someone came out and made way to centerstage I expected it to be an announcer - no announcer!
Well, Milla's about the height of my girlfriend Nikole. (BtW: a perfect height) Maybe, the fact that she modeled pointed toward assumptions and stereotypes. And, #2.... She pulled off that sexy blond wig to reveal even sexier natural hair! Yey! Yey! Yey! (Nikole later said she was wise to this all along) Along with her wig (which only lasted a short time), she wore a clingy black long dress and some groovy high heeled almost granny shoes.
The announcer was, of course, the angel herself initiating an understated entrance. From then on out it was a powerful performance. Here pitch nary wavered. Her voice was strong, evocative and emotional. She was playful toward the audience - with the occasional stinging comments - implying lack of response etc.
Let me tell you! the crowd was in awe! possibly to dumbfounded to relay any! Obviously, this was a "toad...." crowd. Most had never heard of our esteemed, and nearby folk asked many questions (I filled 'em w/ info!)
The only semi-negative comment I heard in the overpacked venue was whilst I pushed a path through the inoperative mosh pit with Becky's (road manager) sis. A couple of fraternity looking fella's were bewildered just after her set.... they said "was she stoned or just stupid?" Don't know why, but from my position (stage right, five feet from the keyboardist and 15-17 from Milla) I did notice Chris (keys) flipping someone off occasional and shouting lovely phrases. It could be related... I do think that she was probing hard for interaction. she got it in the end --- lots of clapping and cheers!!!
Since I am a musician I'd like to talk about the line-up and technicals! six players - and from audience left to right they are:
- chris - primarily piano on a Korg (?) TS-12, harmonium, mandolin, background vocals (very spare)
- bjorn (spelling unknown, possibly Bjorg also)-fretless basses! man this guy is a muthafuka (learned this endearing term playing jazz at a black college!) he played a 6 string fretless electric bass guitar, and a 5 string creature with a traditional upright style neck. It had an upright style bridge and most likely a transducer bridge pickup. Both instruments sounded incredible! And he had this really interesting alternating foot technique for keeping time ( dancin'?!)
- "______" - drummer. The drummer was also a great addt'n to the group. Johanne (sp) the nykle harpist said he really liked this guy's work (sorry, can't remember his name) he finished that thought by saying he hoped that Mr. Drummer stayed with the group. He used a modified trap set-up with a bass drum, hi hat, cymbals, bongos where a hi tom would be, two or so additional toms to his right, and guess what! a djembe where a snare drum would normally reside! He also so incorparated a standard snare at times. Overall, a very full sounding percussion section! and just one guy! Throughout the programme, he would alternate with open hand and special drum sticks and several variations.
- "_____" - classical styled guitarist. He mostly sat in one position occasionally bobbing to and fro. I am under the impression that he was serving as a foundation. He used very proper technique for the most part. Very clean player!
- johanne - (I talked to him the most) nykle harp/keyed violin, an instrument that looked and sounded like an oversized mandolin... could be a Swedish folk instrument? Does anyone know? He may have also played other similar instruments. I vaguely remember a mic in front of him. Sensative player...
- Milla! - she whipped out a white acoustic single cutaway on one tune. Incredible voice... even better than on CD... very strong..
One thing I'd like to mention is that there wasn't a hint of sequencing and I didn't miss it in the least. If anything, the music was much more alive and powerful than on record! (for those who don't know: sequencing is nothing more than a means of recording digital data into a computer of some sort. This data triggers drum sounds or keyboard sounds or whatever, upon playback) I was amazed at the bassist's recreation of the staccato "beating oscilator" part at the beginning of "the alien song". (beating osc. is a term used to describe the sound and functions of early synthesizers - usually followed by the phrase "that warm analogue sound".
Does anyone know the origin of her tour band? From what I gather, they didn't play on the album. Johanne told me "Ve are zthree Svede's in za band. Only za tall wans."
Ok, Ok, Ok!! sorry, put your own Swedish accent on and try it. Basically, he told me that the tall guys (and they were tall and thin-thin-thin!) were Swedes. They were the bassist, guitarist, and ethnocentric folk dude, Johanne. Unknown origins 4 the percussionist. Chris, the key fellow, is american. I wonder if anyone knows if he is the Chris Brenner in the thank you of the cd? I asked about rumours of someone with a pc on the bus, no such luck. Must be just a rumour. Milla said that the record co. and management had net access of some faction or another.
Another note: Image for the second shirt design closely resembles that on page 3 of the cd booklet. A standing portrait of Milla between the lyrics of "It's Your Life" and "Reaching From Nowhere" photographed by Mario Testino.
I'm sleepy.... see yah later...