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photos by maybe margaux, possibly saturnine
CHRIS BOLGER (bass, vox)
LEE MILLER (drums, perc)
FRANK BALESTERI (vox, tapes, flute, perc)
"You're probably wondering why a balding middle-aged former art rocker is out here on the stage at Irving Plaza tonight. It's because it's my great pleasure to not only announce the upcoming act, but also to tell you that I will be touring with him in the near future, and we will be doing an album together with Julio Iglesias. And now perhaps I would like to do something that you've all wanted to see Phil Collins do. So before I tell you that you're about ready to listen to R. Stevie Moore, the greatest sound to ever hit these limey shores of yours, I am going to shoot myself in the head! (gunclick, gunclick...)"
AMG REVIEW: R. Stevie Moore is both so prolific and so eclectic that it's not difficult for him to devote full albums or live sets to a style of music that's of only occasional interest to him. This explains Irving Plaza NYC (Live 1985); this gig, recorded May 11, 1985, was an opening slot for the New York art-punk group Blurt. Although Moore's a facile pure pop songwriter, he's always harbored a more experimental streak, and in front of a receptive audience, he and his band (bassist Chris Bolger, drummer Lee Miller and tape manipulator/second vocalist Frank Balesteri) forgo the pop songs almost entirely. (Even the two familiar tunes, "I Wish I Could Sing" and "Apropos Joe," are reworked to fit in with the evening's prevailing musical ethos, and the set closer is a hyperspeed version of "Chantilly Lace" that rushes past in an under-60-second hardcore blur.) Instead, the quartet play for a full 40 minutes, shifting from one song to another fluidly in the manner of classic Mothers of Invention, with most of the songs being lengthy improvisations on some basic frameworks that the band used a lot around this time, including the psychedelic, guitar-heavy "Kaleidoscopics" and the funky, bass-driven "Eating Paper, Drinking Ink." The band, who had been playing together off and on for some time by this point, are intuitive enough to shape these extended improvs into something more than formless jams, but as entertaining as this sort of thing is to some, Irving Plaza NYC (Live 1985) isn't for those R. Stevie Moore fans only interested in his sharp, catchy pop songs.
–Stewart Mason, All Music Guide
Also available on CDR $12