The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando takes us on a strange journey

Dando played a few acoustic numbers by himself before the rest of the band joined him.
Jason Harris

It’s late in The Lemonheads’ set. I couldn’t give you an exact time, because that would be utilizing the philosophy that time is linear, which has been thrown out the window for the night, as one of college rock’s great ’90s bands kicks off a U.S. mini-tour.

Consider this: Instead of walking onto the stage from wherever qualifies as backstage at the Sayers Club, lead singer Evan Dando walks in through the main doors wielding an acoustic guitar and comes through the crowd. He plays a few acoustic numbers by himself, before the rest of the band joins him.

Surely Dando, who looks strikingly similar to Anton Chigurh, the villain in No Country for Old Men, would perform his biggest hits, right? “It’s a Shame About Ray” is setlisted but not played. “Into Your Arms” is nowhere to be heard. Of “Mrs. Robinson,” we could only ask, “Where have you gone?” From the super-familiar, only “My Drug Buddy” makes it to the show.

We’re now back at the end of the main set, I guess. No longer are all four members of the band onstage, because that would be predictable. It’s only Dando on acoustic and an electric guitarist beside him. A few slower songs are played. And then, abruptly, Dando walks offstage … through the crowd to the back of the room. He lays some money onto the bar and orders a drink. Seconds later, he turns around and looks shocked that the crowd’s still in place. He tells them, from the back of the room, that he’ll play some more songs after he smokes a cigarette. Then he lights up and slowly makes his way back through the crowd, stopping for conversations along the way.

An encore is played. We only know it’s over when the lights come up and house music comes on. This also might be news to Evan Dando.

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