Home Entertainment Robyn Hitchcock’s St. Louis Show Swirled with Stories and Song

Robyn Hitchcock’s St. Louis Show Swirled with Stories and Song

by Carrie Zukoski

The rainy day, filled with ominous threats of hail and tornadoes that never appeared, calmed down just in time to travel to Off Broadway in south St. Louis for a glorious night of Robyn Hitchcock nearly two years to the day of his COVID-canceled concert in 2020. 

Prior to the show, Hitchcock tweeted a bit with Black Francis and promised there would be stories. And, to the delight of everyone in attendance, mixed in between the songs were glorious stories about cats and anchovies and potatoes and villains and how tuning a guitar is sexy. But also endearing stories about aging and past friends, with a special dedication of two songs, “I’m Falling” and the more upbeat “Underground Sun” to Julia Darling who passed exactly 17 years before on this April 13. 

To be mere inches away from such a lyrical treasure as Hitchcock and watch him perform two solo sets, for a total of nearly two-hours is, in itself, rather mind boggling. It’s also quite nifty. To write a review? A bit overwhelming because these words will never be sufficient to capture just how special the night was. 

Hitchcock strode onto the almost bare stage just after 8 p.m. and simply said “This one’s dedicated to Steve,” and began the night playing “Raymond Chandler Evening” on his acoustic guitar. “Balloon Man” and “My Wife and My Dead Wife,” came next with Hitchcock stating “most of these were requests which is why they sound like this.”

He then began talking about the subtle changes during one’s lifetime. He said the “biggest difference between now and 40 years ago is I like cats now. That has nothing to do with this next song.” He also went into great detail about the current type of guitar pick he now uses versus the kinds he used to, and drolly insisted that we’d all hear the difference as he launched into The Egyptians hit, “So You Think You’re in Love.” (If you’re reading this and don’t know much about Hitchcock some of the bands he’s had include The Soft Boys and The Egyptians. He’s also been performing since the early ‘70s so his playbook is vast.)


Robyn Hitchcock

Setting up “Sinister but She Was Happy,” Hitchcock reminisced about growing up watching villains on TV and how they seemed happy about taking over the world because they used to chuckle. “Putin doesn’t look happy. Neither did Trump,” he said. 

Part of Hitchcock’s appeal is his relatability (and why isn’t relatableness a word — it fits better). He not only learned the sound person’s name — which now all in attendance know — Justin, who he took time to converse with him on more than one occasion. Which, makes sense as when performing a solo, acoustic show, the sound person is your only support. And he made it entertaining for all, “hey Justin remember in sound check when I said I might want a David Bowie pretending to be John Lennon pretending to be David Bowie? The time is now,” as he began “Adventure Rocket Ship.” “Now, make me sound like George Harrison doing this one,” on “Be Still,” and “The real champion of the night has been Justin and his short ping is the winner. Let’s have that for the last two songs.” 

Robyn Hitchcock

The crowd, mostly all seated, must have been one of the most polite and quietest fan-bases at a “rock” concert ever. Nary a sound during each and every song save for claps and cheers at the end with “The Lizard” during his second set eliciting the biggest response of the night save for the finale which brought everyone to their feet for a standing ovation as Hitchcock took a deep bow.  

Hitchcock made the most of the two sets regaling fans with classics and newer material, mentions of his book, Somewhere Apart and what’s inside, and yes, bountiful stories in true Hitchcock dry wryness. He also marked the differences in sets with a shirt change — from blue polk-a-dot to a lovely lighter blue shimmer with a roses and bird pattern. 

It was an honor to have Hitchcock in St. Louis, the second night of his spring 15-city U.S. tour.


Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock

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