When we interviewed Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett (aka E) last week, he said he was having the most fun he's ever had on tour and that it might surprise people how much fun the shows are. Sure enough. Last night's show at the Ogden Theatre was a surprise, especially to those who came expecting something like the Eels last show at the Fox Theatre, which featured Everett and his guitar player, the Chet, telling stories about the songs. The Ogden show was indeed just as Everett said it would be: One big, fat celebration.
But Everett eased into things first. After the Disney classic "When You Wish Upon A Star" played on the system while the house lights were down, Everett came on for a bouncy solo take of "Grace Kelly Blues," the opening cut of his 2000 album Daisies of the Galaxy. He then yelled for the Chet, who came out to join him on "3 Speed" and "End Times."
The party officially started when the other three guys in the band, including Colorado's own Kool G Murder (whose family was in the audience), took the stage and ripped into the boisterous "Prizefighter." The energy surged into "She Said Yeah," the Sonny Bono tune that appeared on the Rolling Stones December's Children (And Everybody's), and "Gone Man," which somehow sounded kind of like Everett fronting the Allman Brothers.
Everett then asked, "Everybody having a good summer?" A few moments later, he says, "The Chet has just informed me that summer is over a week or two ago. It sure feels like summer around here. Fuck it, why don't we just extend summer?" The guys then launched into a gritty take on the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" and then into chugging rocker "Tremendous Dynamite."
Afterward, Everett and company pulled back a bit and took a breather on some gorgeous versions of "In My Dreams" and "In My Younger Days," during which Everett's voice strained just a bit as he sang the line "I don't need any more misery to teach me what I should be" near the end of the song.
The guys dialed it back up for a few with "Paradise Blues," "Jungle Telegraphy" and "My Beloved Monster" before slowing things back down on "Spectacular Girl." The tranquil transition was short lived, though, as the band went right back into the rock with strobe lights flashing and Everett howling on "Fresh Blood."
As the outfit started in on "That Look You Give That Guy," a few roadies changed out the monitors in front of Everett, who then joked, "I blew that shit out." While it was a pretty damn endearing tune and all, it also kind served as the lube for bombastic thrusting of "Souljacker Part 1," which might have been the most vigorous tune of the night.
After letting Knuckles the drummer get his ya-ya's out, the guys started into a tune that sounded like a Beatle-esque take on "Twist and Shout," but it was actually "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" doused with Beatle-like "Twist and Shout" back-up harmonies. The group then rode out the set with "I Like Birds," which rocked hard as hell, followed by George Gershwin's "Summertime," and closed out with the revival feel of "Looking Up," from Eels' latest effort, Tomorrow Morning.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: While Everett has written some remarkably touching songs about death and loss over the last fifteen years, it's great to see the guy just rock out and have fun. Random Detail: Everett gave out Otter Pops during "Summertime" By the Way: Jesca Hoop delivered a charming yet too short opening set.
EELS 10.05.10 | Ogden Theatre Denver, CO
01. Grace Kelly Blues 02. 3 Speed 03. End Times 04. Prizefighter 05. She Said Yeah 06. Gone Man 07. Summer in the City 08. Tremendous Dynamite 09. In My Dreams 10. In My Younger Days 11. Paradise Blues 12. Jungle Telegraph 13. My Beloved Monster 14. Spectacular Girl 15. Fresh Blood 16. Dog Faced Boy 17. That Look You Give That Guy 18. Souljacker Part 1 19. Talkin' 'bout Knuckles 20. Mr. E's Beautiful Blues 21. I Like Birds 22. Summertime 23. Looking Up
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