Setlist: Bob Mould — [Cabaret] Metro Smart Bar, Chicago IL, 03 Sep 1999

Wishing Well
Hoover Dam
Taking Everything
Your Favorite Thing
New #1
Lonely Afternoon
The Last Night
Eternally Fried
High Fidelity
Sunset Safety Glass+
Lost Zoloft+
Semper Fi+*
Surveyors And Cranes+*
First Drag Of The Day*
Moving Trucks*

Too Far Down
Fade To Black

Solo acoustic except (*) solo electric and (+) DAT backing tracks.

Thanks to Mark Weygandt, from whose website (now defunct) this information was retrieved, along with the informal show reviews and comments below, which were originally posted to the Sugar internet mailing list:


From: amc

High Fidelity (!) (a request - then he said he turned it into this 
really depressing song that he'd play later tonight, "it was too good to 
last", "alright i'm going off the map, i haven't even thought about that 
song in a long time")

new songs:
Sunset Safety Glass (Bob goes disco! a hardcore dance tune - maybe the 
LAST direction i'd expect Bob to go in, but surprisingly it works)
Lost Zoloft (? he said it and it sounded like "zoloft" the drug) (this 
one sounds like the band "Electronic" with Johnny Marr-style strummed 
guitar and Electronic/New Orderish keyboards and drum programs, chorus was
something like "no one as beautiful as you would ever look at me")

Semper Fi (another dancey one, but not nearly as hardcore dancey as the 
first 2 new ones; after the song "if you don't like this stuff, skip the 
next record and go buy another copy of 'Workbook'") Surveyors and Cranes 
(more rock, with pre-recorded acoustics, drums and bass)

Fade to Black (?) (the most beautiful song musically he's written IMHO, 
very slow, pretty, stunning acoustic with hushed then loud vox and guitar, 
lyrics are very sad, I think they're almost a lament to a dead lover)

Bob said this was one of the best shows he's played in ages, though he was 
going thru strings on both the 12 and the electric like no tomorrow. Very 
chatty, told us that Monica Lewinsky moved into the same building his gym is 
in. One guy yelled out after the first couple new tunes something like "they 
suck" or something like that, and Bob retorted with a resounding "F-ck you! 
It's where we're going, man!"

He was going to play Brasilia at several points in the set but either got 
sidetracked (i.e. the High Fidelity request took it's initial place) or 
couldn't get the 12 to stay in tune with the capo (hence Too Far Down - 
"something special for you guys"). 

People going to Mill City are in for a treat.


From: triplelindys

I was literally 3 feet from Bob last night...End of stage, monitor, Bob....
Pretty cool!!!

He rocked and he had the setlist in his acoustic case and there were another 
8-9 songs that he was going to play, but he ran out of time thanks to the 
assinine double booking that the Metro does on Friday and Saturday nights...
Celebrated Summer, See a Little Light, Chartered Trips, If I can't change 
your mind, Makes no Sense at all and 2 other ones that I can't remember....

I think he saw he was running out of time, so he literally pulled the last 
song out of a folder in his acoustic case and played it, probably for the first 
time....The new stuff was great and I had the best concert experience I think 
I've ever had...No theatrics or lasers or anything else...Just a man and his 
guitar..(oh, yeah and his MiniDisc player!!)


From: craig64

I just returned home from my Labor Day vacation in Chicago. By far, the highlight 
of the trip was Bob's show Friday night. He sounded better than ever, looked 
great, just a wonderful experience and my first solo Bob show. I don't know if 
he has played like that very often but it was magnificent. 

I was slightly sad, though, that it seemed the tepid response by a few of the 
young 'uns seemed to bum Bob out a bit. I was thinking of Dylan's electric 
debut. At least no one yelled 'Judas'. I did miss the whole Paul Westerberg 
banter as we moved from downstairs to upstairs.

My favorite quote of the night "You can't stand still". Should be a song...


From: chired

What a fantastic show - I was leaning on the right side of the stage. It's too 
bad Bob can't get a decent backup in Chicago - at least someone that shows some 
excitement or passion in their music - like Bob obviously does. It was a real 
pleasure to see him solo - my first Bob Mould show was last year's Last Dog and 
Pony show, although I've been a fan since Sugar. Can't wait until he comes around 


From: Travis Vande Berg

This was *hands down* the best I have ever heard Bob sound vocally. His voice 
was really strong, and he knew it and used it, much to my delight. He mentioned 
that he had "finally" started taking care of himself and had stopped smoking and 
started working out and looked as slim and generally healthy as I've seen him.

Highlights of the show:

1. "New #1" - I just love the "tension->release" thing (ie. "MAYBE I CAN'T TRUST 
MYSELF -> I know that I can trust in you")that goes on at the end of this, and 
it was excellent last night, moving from near-screaming to near whispering.

2. "Lonely Afternoon" - I love this song. I love the guitar in this song. I 
have heard it at almost every show I have seen and will never tire of it. I 
would seriously pay $18 to hear him play just this.

2. The return of "High Fidelity" - on request from the crowd, no less. He 
said something about being unsure about how to play it and was a little hesitant 
on the first few lines, but he got it down quickly, and it was a great version. 
Maybe the folks at Mill City will get this treat as well.

3. The new stuff - I always love to hear Bob's new songs being worked out on 
the road. More on this below... (Warning - LONG)

4. "The Last Call" (?) - Mark's link titled this as "Fade to Black," I think, 
but it might be - and I rather like :) - "The Last Call" which is part of the 
chilling final line of the song. This song is *amazing*! Very personal, 
reflective, and emotional and very much seems to be about the death of a loved 
one. I could really see this song becoming one of "those songs" like "Poison 
Years" and "The Slim."

About the new stuff... I am really not going to comment much on the acoustic 
stuff as I thought that the background DAT/minidisc was too loud in the mix, 
and I really had to struggle to hear Bob's acoustic guitar and make out any of 
the words. What I will say is that it is different. Lots of very heavy, loud 
"dance club drums" and layers upon layers of synthesizers and such. In the 
words of the man himself, "As you can tell, I haven't been playing a lot of 
guitar this year."

The background stuff for the electric new songs seemed more rocking and driving 
than the acoustic. It was closer to a "full band" sound than the "dance club 
sound" of the acoustic. And believe it or not, I got some serious Husker Du 
guitar vibes from both songs but especially from "Surveyors and Cranes." I would 
say more Husker Du than LDAPS band or Sugar but with lots of synthesizer layering. 
Vague enough for you all? Seriously, it's tough stuff to describe. It must be 

That said, I think that a lot of people are not going to like it, and Bob 
awknowledged this with a sort of "fuck you... don't buy the next album... you're 
out of touch..." sentiment. Something to consider, however, is that the last 
few years or so have very obviously been a turning point in Bob's life both 
musically and personally. He released the Bob-only "Bob Mould" and announced 
that he would not tour for it. Then, after the Pete Townshend shows, he toured. 
He toured with Andrew Duplantus for a while and then continued without him citing 
something to the extent that, while it was a good experience, it was both too 
little and too much of a band for him. He released "LDAPS" (an album which 
includes "Megamanic" which Bob claims actually saved the recording of the album) 
and did the last full-band electric tour - in many ways, parting ways with and 
separating himself from the sound of his youth. Mid-way through that tour, the 
second guitarist left/was asked to leave (on still uncertain terms) leaving behind 
a power-trio in the HD/Sugar fasion. Somewhere in this chronology, Bob moved from 
Austin to New York, quit smoking, and started working out. Now, he's back on tour 
with a bunch of new electronica-influenced songs, and he (as he told us last night) 
is spending his off nights in Chicago going clubbing.

It seems to me that this transitional period is similar in many ways to the period 
leading up to the recording of "Workbook" (which he referenced several times last 
night in various ways). The difference being that with "Workbook," Bob was trying 
to seperate himself from Husker Du-Bob, and this time around, it seems as if he 
may be trying to seperate himself from "Workbook"-Bob. Chances are this 
transitional period, while being good for him both personally and musically, is 
going to be hard on some of the fans who may feel that Bob is abandoning "his 
sound," or, worse yet, selling out to a new musical trend. I would argue, however, 
that this sound is not *his* sound anymore (at least now), but *our* sound - the 
sound *we think* he should have. I think that we should just go with the flow here 
in terms of Bob's new musical direction and see what comes out of it in the end. I, 
personally, am very excited about this period and can't wait to hear what it has 
to offer. I may not like it all as much as other stuff that he has done, but I 
have to respect it and him for doing it. I think that the next album is going to 
be the next "Workbook" in that I think it will take Bob to his next level in the 
same way.

Well, that's my $.02. I am very interested to hear what others (both those who 
have heard the new stuff as well as those who have only read about them) have to 
say about this issue.


From: Chadd L. Kline 99 

        The Chicago show was quite exciting.  I'm "somewhat" proud to state that 
I was the one who requested "High Fidelity".  The truth of the matter was that it
wasn't a request, I just simply yelled out a genuine query of "Whatever happed
to High Fidelity?".  I asked this b/c it was one of my favorites from the tour
before LDAPS and I always wondered if he was just going to throw the song away. 
I too found myself singing that song in the days after I first heard it.  I was
absolutely blown away by the fact that he decided to play it.  However, I state
I was only "somewhat" proud to ask about it b/c after he stated that he wasn't
going to play Brasilla ("That was on the map and we just went right by it" or
words to that effect), a few fans who heard me yell out my question looked liked
they wanted to pummel me!  :-)  (By the way, for those of you at the show- what
was the song that he stated he had changed "High Fidelity" into?  To my ears, it
sounded like the last song of the night, but I could verily easily be mistaken).
        The grandstanding sound of that story can be disregarded.  :-)  I really 
wanted to chime in on the direction Bob seems to be moving toward (if in fact he 
isn't already there).  I can forsee a HUGE debate on this list in the months/years 
to come over Bob's new sound.  Already there were people yelling out "Bullshit" at
the concert and as Travis said, Bob was very forthright in his responses to
those calls.  One of the easiest ways to sum up my own personal opinion of the
direction of the new stuff (and I believe the following commentary parallels
what Travis was saying, though please correct me if I'm wrong) is a quote from
Bob during the concert:  "... if you don't like it [re:  the new songs/sound] go
out and buy another copy of 'Workbook' ".
        As Bob mentioned during the concert, it's time for him to change b/c he's 
been doing this for a full two decades.  It seemed that for those who criticized
Bob's last two albums, a common opinion was that "Bob Mould" & LDAPS just simply
weren't as good as his earlier works.  While this may be viable commentary, it's
also a bit short-sighted. With all due respect to Bob's bandmates over the
years, I'd like to point out that Bob has already put out a "Zen Arcade", a
"Warehouse", a "Workbook", a "Copper Blue", etc.  Anytime I crave the urge to
listen to such inspired music from Bob, I put those albums on and realize how
amazing they truly are, time and time again.
        Bob doesn't NEED to put out albums of that sound and that quality again 
because they already exist.  Would I enjoy it if he somewhere along the line put 
out another album that sounded like (and had the quality of) any of those previous
albums?  Of course I would, but the fact of the matter is that Bob seems to not
want to travel in those directions again.  I can't honestly say whether I enjoy
Bob's new songs as of yet (the DAT was VERY overpowering and it was hard to get
a "full" sense of the songs), but I am very happy that Bob has a desire to try
something different.  If I don't like the next album (or any of the albums from
here on out for that matter), I won't buy it, simple as that.  I will still
consider him one of the greatest artists I've ever heard based on what I already
        I hope that this list will debate Bob's new music on the music's own merits 
and not endless comparisons of Bob's "glory days".  I certainly think such
criticisms deserve to be spoken, but that's not really at the heart of the
matter.  Bob seems to be figuring out what he wants to do and that's fully his
right.  We may like it or we may not, but any new sounds he puts out in no way
tarnishes his legacy and why we enjoyed his music in the first place.
        Sorry if this message was a little too "preachy", but compared to other 
lists, I've always found the Sugar list to be one of the best places to state honest
opinions (even if, at times, those opinions are VERY hotly contested) and I
wanted to offer forth my own.


From: Bill Barry

Made it the show with about 20 minutes to spare... Sorry could not get to meet
any of the chicago area time;
It was one of the better bob shows i have seen, up there with Paradise show i
caught few years back... But could not really make out lyrics for the
'mobyesque' stuff...was too close to LOUD annoying talkers at the back bar...


From: Bartholomew Cubbins

Well, being a Chicago person, I'll offer forth an opinion about the
new material.  I stood next to a couple of idiots who kept calling for
him to play "The Slim," and then started in on this Mould-McEnroe
thing.  And one of the dudes had this huge head, really of
encephalitic proportions, so I had so many reasons for him to be very
far away from me.  I assume that no one from this list can claim the
identity of one of these fools.  I arrived late and didn't get a
chance to meet any of you, so I don't know if Finbar resurfaced or
what.  Anyway, I'm mentioning all this about the encephalitic heckler
because this new music was the perfect reply to his request.  You want
"The Slim" over and over, agony and all?  Fuck you, here's something
completely different.  So here we are with Disco Bob, and it's thick
and lush and very different.  Yes, the mix was heavy, but it wasn't so
disruptive as to not enjoy what he was doing.  The was not a series of
Megamanic-esque material, whatever anyone might think of that song.
This was move like Bob Mould and Curve or something.  And still,
beneath all of it, there was still the Bob intensity, just manifest in
a different way.  And that's what drew me, and probably most people
around here to him in the first place.  The intensity.  I don't think
that High Fidelity became that last song.  Different chord structure,
and he probably would have just skipped High Fidelity and played the
other one instead.  It was certainly a dark one, though, and was
presented to us almost as a gift for our patience while he changed his
defective guitar strings.  I think they were D'Addarios.  Not many
strings could stand up to way he beats on that 12-string.  So I was
very skeptical going into this, having heard about the DAT and
thinking okay, we're back to the mechanical aspects of Hubcap that I
still have a hard time accepting.  Bob said that he hasn't been in
this position, without a contract or a record company or anything, in
ten years.  That was when he totally changed his sound and probably pi
ssed off a lot of people.  His actual response of "fuck you" was
perfect, and I'm thinking this stuff is going to be the end of Bob's
forced approach to writing that's been looming over his more recent
pieces of work.  This isn't Husker Du, Sugar, or "Bob Mould."  This is
something new.  Basically, I'm excited.  I'm ready.


From: Dave Richeson

I had a great time in Chicago this weekend.  I thought the show was
fantastic.  The setlist was a little surprising - no Celebrated, IICCYM,
Brasilia, Poison Yrs, only one HD song, etc.  But Bob sounded great and the
show was very well paced.  In fact, one of my friends who was familiar with
his more well known songs but who had never seen him live thought the show
was great.  She said that after the first several songs she thought that
things were sounding a little same-y, but then he played some mellow songs,
then the new ones, then electric songs.  Nice pacing indeed.

I'm beginning to think New #1 (live especially) is one of Bob's best songs

You know, I kind of hope Bob goes all-out on the next album and makes it
completely different.  I hope he doesn't try to make concessions to the old
fans and put some HD/Sugar guitar rockers on.  You know?  If it is a flop,
so be it, but I would love to hear 50 minutes of fresh new sounds.

People have mentioned his remarks to the heckler in the audience.  One
comment that hasn't been mentioned is "you can't stand still forever."
Talking to Bob later that seemed to sum up his feelings.  He seems to be in
a really good place right now.  I've never seen him happier or healthier.
He seems to be in no hurry, he doesn't seem to be in doubt about his future
at all.  He's simply waiting for the next phase of his career to make itself
known to him.  We talked a little about the state of the internet and music.
It sounds like he plans to sell his next record from the website.

He seems to be enjoying the club scene lately.  We in academics would call
that - research.


From: Scot Richardson

I have to agree... this really was one of the best sounding shows that I've
ever seen Bob play.  The Metro really is a great room.  The voice was spot
on.  The old tunes were great... and after letting the new ones sink in... I
thought they were great as well.  I really have a tough time listening to
Bob's new stuff in that kind of setting and making any kind of quality
judgements.  I did, however think that after the first new song with the DAT
that Gloria Gaynor (SP?) was going to walk out on stage.  The DAT
accompaniment was definitely dance-ish, but I think, when mixed
appropriately may sound hot.  And Bob was right on with the comments, "If
you don't like it, go out and buy another copy of Workbook."  No pain, no
gain... in my opinion.

On the crowd:  Typical, I guess.  Although I'm really not a fan of Diane I,
I do appreciate her work.  There were a couple guys to our left who were
real ass holes to her.  Sad.

Ok, so now to the funny story:  Travis and I met up at the Gingerman as
posted, we had a couple of beers and then went over to stand in line.  So,
we're standing there waiting to get in when my wife and a friend of mine
from undergrad shows up (insert small world story that my wife ends up
working with someone who I knew in college).  Well, this is the friend that
I was posting about on Friday who didn't get a ticket...  Anyhow... he's
walking the line trying to scalp a ticket and all of a sudden, Bob, from out
of nowhere, walks right down Clark St... past the entire line of people
(carrying a Ryko bag).  My wife spots him and tries to get my friend, Matt's
attention, to point out that Bob is right in front of him.  Well, seeing as
how Matt has tickets on his mind, when my wife yells, "Matt... Matt!!!" and
finally gets his attention, Matt was thinking that she found someone who had
a ticket for him.  Matt then proceeds to yell to Bob (who is like 10 feet
away from him) "Hey, got any extra tickets?"  Then, as Bob turns around Matt
realizes just what he had done... and Matt proceeds with, "Hey, you're Bob
Mould!"  Sadly, this is one of those "had to be there" kind of stories, but
for any of you who witnessed it... it was truly comical.


From: Jeff Runnels

It all started out well and fine.  Bob's voice sounded great.  The live
version of "Wishing Well" brought the familiar goose bumps.  "Hoover
Damn", "Taking Everything", "Your Favorite..." moving along swimmingly.
I think it was around that time that Bob started breaking strings.  If I
remember right, he broke a string or two on the twelver and another two
on the electric in the course of the evening. I think he even made a
comment at some point about changing strings next time. I'm not at all
sure he was joking.

Between the string fiasco, the ensuing perpetual out-of-tune state
(Moving Trucks was so far out of tune that I couldn't believe he kept
playing!) and the horribly mixed DAT stuff,  I, and the female Bob fan
who was with me, thought the momentum was irretrievably destroyed. We
left sadly disappointed.

Now I've been a Bob fan through thick and thin for a good 15 years and I
pride myself on being able to recognize and enjoy new and evolving music
in a variety of genres, but Bob's DAT accompanied stuff was just not
happening (and I've heard the stuff twice now). The woman I was with
just looked at me with a doleful look and said "This is just not right"
when the first blast of techno erupted from the PA.   I really really
hate to say this but it seems as though Bob is making an attempt to
write something that sells. After the Austin show I posted Bob's remarks
about his fan base not growing, having no label to distribute his stuff,
and having a family to support.  It seems, with this new direction,  he
may be doing what he believes he has to do to make a living as opposed
to writing and recording the stuff that spills from his guts as he has
in the past. Expanding a bit on his comments, I almost get the feeling
he's actually shooting for the, God forbid, dance floor.

When Bob puts out a new album I'll be first in line to buy it. But,
frankly, I'm worried.

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