Date: Saturday, January 27th 2001
Place: Borderline, London, UK
Audio/Video: YES | NO
Photo Albums: No
- Been Insane
- Going Inside
- Jugband Blues (Pink Floyd)
- The First Season
- So Would've I
- With No One
- Neighborhood Threat (Iggy Pop)
- Well, I've Been
- New Dawn Fades (Joy Division)
- Modern Love (David Bowie)
- Ten to Butter Blood Voodoo
- My Smile is a Rifle
- All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (Bahaus)
- Life's a Bath
- Beat Down
Review from Kerrang! (February 10th 2001)
John Frusciante: introspective guitar strumming from the revitalised Chili Pepper
When pictures of Red Hot Chili Peppers' once fresh-faced and sinewy guitarist John Frusciante appeared after he'd left the band, quit playing guitar and reached the very bottom of heroin addiction, those who saw them were shocked. Back in the band and better than ever, he's here tonight playing his own acoustic songs that were mostly written in those wilderness years that saw him close to being another young rock casuality.
He certainly cuts an interesting figure in the jammed Borderline as he fidgets nervously and swigs from a variety of bottles, one of which could well be cough medicine. He apologises for being strung out, before reaching for his bottle again.
None of which really matters, because the performance is excellent, although so low-key and informal even being there almost feels an invasion. He stops, he starts, he snaps strings and wanders offstage to change guitars and struggles with the horrendous reverb every time he starts to chat. But when he hits a peak, as he does on a Syd Barrett cover version (played "because he only made two records, but I survived to make three") or a bleak, boomy take on Iggy Pop's 'Neighbourhood Threat', the whole room listens. Indeed, when people start singing every word of early Frusciante solo songs, the atmosphere soon turns to one of triumph.
With plenty of bizarre, downbeat chords last heard with folk legend Nick Drake and a voice which switches from Jeff Buckley-ish falsetto to brooding Leonard Cohen, Frusciante loosens up. Having a less-than-flaweless voice that falters and cracks helps distinguish him from the many bedsit heroes he so obvious loves and when he begins playing off-cuts from a further two albums, 'Smile From The Streets You Hold' and 'Niandra LaDes and Usually Just A T-Shirt', which were each only ever released to five of his friends, the crowd starts yelling an impressive catalogue of requests.
Freed of the nonsensical babblings that made many of the Chili Peppers videos so entertaining - that's drugs for you, kids - the older, wiser John Frusciante is clearly glad to be alive, as he acknowledges before his final two songs, 'My Smile Is A Rifle' and 'Resolution'.
Despite the indulgence of it all there's still plenty of uplifiting moments tonight, as one of rock's heroes returns clutching some postcards from the edge. It's a good thing for us that he's lived to tell the tale.
- Ben Myers
Review by Daniel
The Borderline in London is a great little venue. As you go in you see a gallery of photos of big bands playing there like Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine. It is very small though, there couldn't have been more than 300 people.
John came on in jeans and a t-shirt and with three different plastic bottles, two full of water and one was some weird brown stuff. This was Johns first English solo gig ever and the first of his tour to promote his new record. Everyone was really excited. His first song was Been Insane from his first record, a lot of people knew the words and sang along. It sounded great! After the song he screwed up his face and then admitted he didn't have a setlist and was thinking about what to play next. He played a variety of old and new songs as well as covers of songs by Joy Division, Bauhaus, Iggy Pop and Syd Barrett. He also played a few songs from a record he said he recorded but only gave to five friends. He says he plans to release it over the internet soon. Some people shouted for him to play Your Pussy's but he said it wouldn't sound right.
Near the end of the gig someone yelled for My Smile Is A Rifle. He shook his head but everyone started yelling "Please, John!" and he played it after saying he hadn't played it in four years. It sounded brilliant though. He spoke quite a lot between songs and made jokes, the gig felt very intimate. He spoke about River Phoenix and played the song from his second record which River speaks on, Well, I've Been. Apparently River really loved that song, and it was gonna be on John's first record. But River died, and so he didn't put it on. He also said he originally planned to release Niandra Lades And Usually Just A T-shirt as two separate records but when he learned he could fit them both on one he decided to do that because he thought he was gonna die soon. That was sad...
He finished with one of the songs off the unreleased record he mentioned before.
- Daniel Munro Walker (originally submitted to frusciante.de, a now-defunct fan site)