The last time Evan Dando was in Chicago, I had the pleasure of accompanying him to the Q101 studios where he taped a few songs and chatted with the hosts of the alt station's new music show, TBA. An entertaining car ride (to say the least) to Randolph St. followed, where I left Evan standing, guitar in hand, at the back entrance of the makeshift venue. Last night, I didn't get to chat with Evan again, but I did get to see him at the Metro instead of an outdoor street festival where 85% of the people were busy scarfing down brats and chugging beer instead of listening to the former Lemonhead, and that was nice.
The show was sponsored by MGD, and if you didn't know it from the 100,000 posters that have been all over the city for months, you definitely knew it when you walked into the venue. MGD had monstrous banners hanging from either side of the stage, two TVs at stage right and left that played MGD commercials during the breaks, and MGD spotlights projecting their logo on the ceiling. SoÖ uh, I got a beer. Guess which kind?
MGD then had some "rock" dude take the stage before Evan went on to yell at us all in true wasted guy fashion that "MGD rocks." Evan snuck onto the stage behind him carrying an acoustic guitar and a smoking a cig with a big "I can't believe this guy" grin on his face. Thankfully drunk guy got the clue and departed the stage, undoubtedly headed back to the bar for some more MGD - cuz it rocks.
With all the BS out of the way, Evan Dando began his set by himself. He plucked away on his old, sticker-covered guitar like the seasoned veteran that he is. There was no dancing, no cool rock jumps, no wailing guitar solos - just a man playing the songs we all grew up with in their most basic and beautiful form. After a few acoustic Lemonheads tunes, including "Buddy" and "Alison's Starting To Happen," the rest of Dando's band appeared in the blink of an eye. Seriously, I took a sip of my beer and all of sudden the band whole band was perched and ready for action. Evan traded in his acoustic for a red Gibson SG (a-la Robbie Krieger) and ran though all the best tracks from first proper solo album, Baby I'm Bored, beginning with "My Idea." Evan even played "Hard Drive" without looking at a cheat sheet (last time he taped the lyrics to his mic stand). "Shots Is Fired," "All My Life," and "Repeat" were all performed.
Evan didn't talk very much throughout the show. He did send his best wishes to Ben Kweller, who is getting married this weekend, and did give a big "FUCK YOU" to some guy in the crowd. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure he had a good reason. Speaking of Ben Kweller, his bass player lent a helping hand to Dando for the evening. He's not as cute as Juliana Hatfield (who was the bassist in Evan's touring band last time around), but it was a nice surprise. Evan ended the show with "Waking Up" from his new album. There were no encores.
Kudos to MGD from bringing a cool show to the Metro at a VERY affordable price ($6), but next time tone it down just a bit guys. We get it.