FRF '99 White Stage

Wayne's world [1999.8.1 16:13]

"Smile," Chris Collingwood told the audience before he took their picture with a disposable camera. "Now look miserable," and he took another. One of the coolest things about the lead singer of the Fountains of Wayne is that his speaking voice carries the same feeling of dorky wiseassness that his lyrics carry. FOW's pure pop for suburban misfits would seem custom made for melody-loving Japan, and the small but extremely energetic (and mostly female) crowd was very attentive. They knew the words, they danced throughout, and nobody seemed capable of looking miserable.

"Did they have a Lilith Fair here," Collingwood asked, and when the crowd answered negatively, he added, "Then I'm gonna pretend I'm Jewel, like it or not." The band then played "Hat and Feet," one of the more introspective songs in their repertoire. Later, hearing the roar of guitars from the Green Stage, he asked, "Is that Phish?" "No, it's Ash," someone yelled. The concept seemed to strike him as odd, and then he said, "One more quiet song and then we'll be louder than them." They probably weren't, but it's hard to imagine that Ash could be more fun. During the last song of the 50-minute set, the band sampled ZZ Top, the Cars, and Steve Miller, and one point Collingwood started a chant of "Free John Gotti." No one in the audience, of course, knew who John Gotti is, but just because the joke was lost on them it doesn't mean the offhanded sentiment was. "Don't Love Me Tonight," Collingwood sang in one of their most well-received songs, but love was all around. During "Denise," a hard-rocking tune about an out-of-reach older woman, I saw one smiling boy spread suntan lotion on his smiling girlfriend's shoulder as they danced. The look on their faces was inspiring.

1999.8.1 Reported by Phil

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