Toronto, ON August 13, 1994 review

by Alfred Lam'

To RFN'ers...

Alfred Lam asked me to proofread this article and then post it for him. The only modifications I made were some spelling and grammar corrections to make it easier to read.

I will cross-post to the ecto list and maybe also I'm not an RFN'er yet but I plan to be when I return from vacation in two weeks... see you all then!

A night in Toronto with Milla

Hi to all rfn'ers...Last night Milla played at Lee's Palace in Toronto, and well, to say I had a great time would be a major understatement! Let me recount last night's event for you. Some of it is by notes, but the better part is by memory.

The show was supposed to start at 9:30pm, but I arrived at the venue at 6:00pm and parked my car outside. I walked into the place, there was no sign of Milla, as the headliner (Philosopher Kings) was setting up. I walked outside, and I saw someone who looked like Milla, a thin 90 odd pounds, a little shorter than I was (I'm 5'9 1/2" tall), with her hair tied into a small bun in the back. She was out there with another guy, and I didn't think much of it, although I thought I had seen her before. They had just gotten out of a van, and as I walked around the venue, I got a good look at the van driver. I walked back into the venue and I stood behind the soundboard. The driver of the van appeared again, as it turns out, he was Milla's sound guy, so I guess that must've been Milla! He left the place, and I went outside for a while. By then, it was 6:30pm.

He reappeared at about 6:45pm. At this time, I had walked back into the venue (I walked in and out a few times, and no one stopped me!) The van guy, along with two guys that looked very Eastern- European, were going outside (to their van) to get equipment. By then I already figured that they were Milla's band members. They brought all their stuff in, and start getting ready. At 7;00pm, Philosopher King starts to warm up, and after they did their sound check (about 7:15pm) they walked off. There was still no sign of Milla, and I was getting weary. I stood around, and I was approached by the Philosopher King's manager, who figured out I was a reporter (I had credentials from my University's paper, excalibur) and he asked me to write a story about them, which I said I'll try.

Anyways, back to Milla. At about 7:45pm, a guy talked to the guy at the soundboard, I found out that he was with Milla, and I asked him if I could speak to her. He said he wasn't sure where she was, and he said he'll get back to me. About 15 mins later, the girl I saw earlier walked in. As she picked up a cigarette, she looked up and I got a good look. It was indeed Milla. She was wearing a yellow and back top that ended above the navel, black jeans, black and white Nikes and smoking. She was also wearing a silver cross with a silver chain and she carried a green bag. She sat off to the side of the bar and she was reading. Then the guy who approached me said to talk to her after the show, as she doesn't want to give an interview before the show. I told her I want to just to speak to her, and he mentioned, again after the show.

At about 8:15pm, she walked towards the bar, and on her way back, I stopped her. I introduced myself to her and she said hi. I told her that I was a fan, to which she replied with a sweet smile and a "thanks." I shook her hand and she gave me a firm handshake. She had a very sweet voice and a very sweet smile. I then told her about rfn, and gave her the message package I put together. She said thanks and she said she was going to read it right away. By now, I was totally awe-stricken, I told her I was really glad that she came to Toronto, and I told her how much I loved her. She smiled, and place her hand on my shoulder, saying "thanks". She autograph my CD with: To Alfred, Love, Milla and a happy face. I had a really great conversation with her. She seems really nice and genuine, and she asked me to stay for the sound check. I said I would. She then return to her seat, and started reading the rfn package!!

At 8:30pm, Milla and her band start sound check. She started with 2 lines of "Ruby Lane", and then a new song, followed with "You Did It All Before," then "Alien," starting with the second verse and ended with an "Acoustic mic," which looks something like an old- fashioned mic, and gave an "spacey" feel to "Alien." They finally ended the sound check with a forecoming song which she played with a white acoustic guitar.

After the sound check, I went over to Milla and complimented her, which she returned with a smile and a "thanks." She was then joined by Chris Brenner (who was the guy I had talk with before) and told me that in Michael Pearce's message, the keyboard player and the guy who was standing with Milla was indeed Chris, whom she called "her best friend." She seemed really interested in the rfn and told me that she's trying to get onto the Internet. Imagine, Milla talking directly to us. She also said that she would like to write a message to rfn. She also said that she will get her manager to contact me. I gave both Milla and Chris my personal and my credential cards, and they left for the hotel to get checked in and change before the show.

Before she left, she told me that there was a guy there who hitch- hiked for 3 hours to watched her show. I then introduced myself to him and we started talking. He introduced himself as Steve Ito, and he is also an Tori and Sarah McLachlan fan, and we hung out together through the show. Although he is not currently an rfn'er he will become one as soon as it becomes available in a digest version.

The show itself...Milla's set started at 10:30pm, and Chris introduced the band with an folk instrumental. Milla then appeared, while the instrument lead directly from the instrumental to "Ruby Lanes."

She was wearing a short purple shirt, a long black skirt with flowers, pine (green) Converse All Stars low cuts, the same silver cross I saw her in earlier, she was some make-up, blue eyeliner, had some lip pencil on her lips, and her face was slightly powered (as I found out later...I will explain why.) Her hair was parted down the middle and held with pins on top, and hang down the side.

She was very emotional when she was singing, basically acting out her lyrics, with some sort of a sorrow on her face. Milla kinda freaked out when everyone started cheering after she finishing singing but before the music ended. She wanted us to let the song finish before people started cheering. The audience were very cooperative after this.

Her next song was "Charlie." It was like the album version, again acting out her lyrics with emotion and sorrow.

"It's Your Life" carried a faster tempo, more upbeat. Milla smiled briefly in the first verse, then the emotion and sorrow-face took over.

She then introduced a new song called "Strange Behaviour." It was written by Chris Brenner, and it was about Milla herself. This was the first song they did during the sound check, and it carried a stronger bass sound than her usual songs, although the folk side of her music was still present. It was most evident in the bridge of the song, which was very soft.

She then lead straight into "Gentlemen Who Fell" with no intro. Milla sang this much slower than the album version with a much fuller acoustic sound, and used echo. She used a sweeter, higher voice in the chorus, and used the same slow tempo. With the second verse the music got a bit louder and sped up during the bridge, but slowed down just as quickly.

Milla then tied her hair into a bun, and told the audience to "rock out" with "Bang Your Head." She smiled a lot while she sang this song. She seemed to be having a lot of fun with this song.

Milla then introduced another new song called "Precious Time." She was dancing around (like a ballerina) at the beginning of the song. It was a very slow song with a very soft voice. As the tempo went up, Milla voice went slightly lower.

Before the next song, Milla introduced her band members. Chris Brenner, in return, introduced "Milla Jovovich, Lead Vocal" with a smile.

"Clock" had a quicker, and a deeper "bass" feel than the album version, and a lot louder. It was lighter at the end, and Chris joined in as back-up vocal, singing "Oh yea, yea, yea, yea..." Milla ended the song with "I'm locked in a box."

Milla then introduced "For Those who Listen." it was very much like the album version until she changed over to the acoustic mic. This then gave an echo, far away feel, with the music becoming predominant over Milla's voice. Milla, at the end of the song, had sat down on the floor and crowded into a fetal position.

Another new tune called "Falling," which was her second unidentified sound check song. Milla grabbed the white guitar and sat down on a bar stool to play and sing this song. It had a very folky feel with a very quick tempo and a light voice in the beginning, and went on to a more bass feel about halfway trough.

Milla ended the night with "Did It All Before." Chris was again on backup. Milla introduced the song by saying to the crowd "Wanna Party?" and gave the song a more rock feel and danced around. She had a soft voice, and was enjoying singing.

The concert ended at 11:30pm with Milla and the band leaving the stage. Steve and I were both slightly disappointed that Milla did not sing "In a Glade." We both thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and Steve had to leave to catch the bus. I said goodbye to him and made my way to the dressing room.

As I was making my way to the dressing room, The Philosopher King's manager told me not to go into the dressing room until the PK went on. Chris Brenner was at the door, and he told me the same thing. After the PK went on, I was the first one in the dressing room, and gave Milla a hug. I told her she was great and she thanked me. I wanted to mention to her that she can send me messages to the rfn through me, as I have a fax machine at home. I stepped aside before I got a chance to say this, because other fans had made their way in, and they wanted autographs. There was this guy, with a shirt that Milla was very impressed with. It had the Divine Comedy cover on the front, Milla picture (on the back cover of the booklet) on the Back with the name Milla on top on it. He told Milla he had it custom made, and she autographed it. When she was signing autograph, a guy from EMI (her record company) tried to escort me out. I told him I just had a few words to say to Milla. After she finished signing, the record company had reserved seats at a restaurant across the street from Lee's Palace, called J J Mugs, and Milla told me to talk to her on the way over.

On the street, Milla ran into someone and started talking to them. She then ran into 2 guys who wanted their "Dazed & Confused book signed." I went into the restaurant with the crowd that was with Milla, which included Chris, and another few members of the record company. As they got into their reserved area, A guy from the record company asked another member of the crowd who I was, and I told him I just wanted to say a few words to Milla. As I got to Milla, she asked me to stay and have a drink. I was, like, WOW!!

I sat beside Milla, with a couple of other guys at the table. She introduced me to the people as the "Internet guy" (not the first time I was introduced as an Internet guy.) Anyways, she told them about rfn and actually a guy from EMI asked me about ways to set up an ftp site to post information.

Milla, knowing that I was unfamiliar with the people, tried to keep me in the conversation. Both she and Chris were really nice to me. Milla was unbelievably down to earth. She was so sweet. I apologized for being such awe-stricken. I told her that it's not everyday I get to hang out with my favourite recording artist, and she said "you're such a sweetie" :)

I managed to have really normal conversation with Milla and the guys there. Again I was awe-stricken, and Milla was so down to earth and sweet, she made me really comfortable. During conversation, I found out that EMI are being sued over Milla's Divine Comedy album cover. As it turns out, some woman in the states said that the nude, blonded hair white was an exploration of blond and she wanted it change to a black hair white woman?! [I'm not sure what Alfred meant by this. I think maybe it was supposed to be "...blonde-haired white woman was an (exploitation???) of blondes and she wanted it changed to a black-haired white woman" -- Steve]. I also found out that Milla was working on a new album, as the Divine Comedy was over 2 1/2 years old. And for the record, I asked her her height, and she told me it's 5'8". Also, she was born in Kiev. She didn't feel that a bar was the type of venue she likes to play in, and she had "In A Glade" for encore, as it is a song more geared toward the real Milla music fans (which some the fans in this venue were not.)

I did manage to talk to her about the Internet thing, and she said she would write messages and fax them over. I also asked Chris to fax anything that was interesting about Milla to me (he was the one who had the article on the lawsuit), and he said he would.

Finally, at about 1:15am, Milla and Chris decided to leave, as they had to catch an early flight to New York the next day. Milla and I gave each other 2 hugs, and she took a cheek to cheek picture with her (with my camera, and this was when I found out she was wearing powder on her face.) I walked out with Milla, Chris, two other guys with the record company, and we all walked out to our respective vehicles.

The two guys were taking Milla and Chris back to their hotel, and as we walked up to my car, Milla gave me another hug, and I kissed her on the cheek, and she kissed me back on my cheek!! You can imagine how I felt there and then! I told her to give me a call next time she's in town, and she said she would. I also said bye and take care to Chris, and thanked them both for a wonderful time.

Overall, I really enjoyed the night. Milla was very nice and very sweet. I would recommend anyone who gets a chance to talk to her, to speak with her. She is not the type to turn her fans away, she's really down to earth. She has given me something that I will never forget, the memories of the night. I'm really glad I got a chance to talk to Milla. I hope that she gets on Internet so we can talk to her on a regular basis.

Finally, and perhaps the best part (I decided to save the best for last) A personal message from Milla: "I really think what you guys are doing (on the internet and the rfn) is wonderful, and thank you. Thanks to Michael Curry for setting this up."

Always, Alfred'94

PS. Sorry for making this so long. But anything shorter just [I don't know what happened to the last couple of lines, it just cuts off here -- Steve]

Well, as you've probably guessed by now, I'm the poor sap who missed out on the evening's festivities following the show. I can now honestly say I despise public transportation. If only I had a car...

To add to my disappointment, I thought that I had taped both the sound check and the show. Can you imagine? I would also have had Milla talking to me ON TAPE. Unfortunately, my walkman chose that very inconvenient time to conk out. Oh woe is me! However, I *did* manage to get Milla and Johann (key fiddle) to sign my CD booklet. (Somehow, that seems like small consolation after Alfred's account of the post-concert fun I missed...)

Just a couple of notes to add to Alfred's story: although no one stopped us, it was clear that we were *not* supposed to be in there. After the sound check, I went outside to go to the washroom, and there was a HUGE line-up, and they hadn't started to let them in yet... Of course, I just slipped back in as if I belonged and the bouncer didn't give me any hassles at all... :-).

Also, did anyone notice those sneakers peeking out from under that nice black "cascade of flowers" dress of hers on Conan O'Brien last night? She wore those in Toronto, too. Well, we can't expect anything less from our Milla, can we?

Steve (not on rfn, yet!)