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it's evolution, baby!

"Do The Evolution"
Live From 2/21/98


1am, the phone rings: it's our friend Andy, who I'd emailed in a panic earlier in the day when the Catalyst show was confirmed. He lives in NoCal and I told him he HAD to get down there and try to get in. He did. =) He's reading the setlist to me, which he cribbed off the setlist at the soundboard, and one of the songs he mentions is a tune called "Do The Evolution", which was his favorite and says that Eddie was "doing a funny mod dance" to. I write it all up, post it to 5h, and don't think much more about it.

Oakland Coliseum

First night of the four-show gig opening for the Stones. A very nervous PJ give us a set consisting of mostly Greatest Hits, with a few tracks from the forthcoming album; "Given To Fly" is great, "Wish List" is too, but it's "Do The Evolution" that really grabs me; I call the setlist into Jean the minute the band leaves the stage and I catch my breath, and I babble about how DTE is going to be my new favorite PJ song, replacing "Present Tense". Now, you have to understand how fucking much I adore "Present Tense" to understand the full import of that statement; a few months later on, there's no way I can equate the two songs, they are both so incredibly different, but it was the only way I had to communicate in words just how much DTE had blown me away.

My rough notes from the second show, sent in email to jean:

"...and "do the evolution" is really just incredible. it really reminds me of this r.e.m. bside called "burning hell" but it's more focused and a "real" song, whereas the r.e.m. track is a total throwaway. but it's quickly, very quickly, becoming my favorite. it's long but intense, they don't lose focus, it's heavy while still being sharp. wow. i cannot say enough good things about this, and between it and 'brain of jfk' i am really psyched for the album coming out."
All three nights that I saw, "Do The Evolution" was the powerhouse, it was the chance for the guys to let loose and have fun, no matter how nervous they were.

Yield Tuesday

An early-morning meeting means I can't buy the album at midnight the night before; I compensate by running to Tower Records directly the meeting is over and buying BOTH cd and tape so I can have a copy with me at all times. I head back to the office, tape in walkman, stopping for coffee along the way, and frighten passerby as the tape reaches DTE and I completely forget myself and scream aloud.

From the February Song X:

This is the mature successor to "Glorified G" ("I can kill cause in god I trust" vs. "got a gun - fact i got two - that's okay, cuz I love god!"): Ed's talking about the same people, just in a more reasoned, seasoned viewpoint make no mistake, however: he still hates them just as much (Monkeywrench made that point VERY clear, and the vocal delivery here makes his meaning unmistakable). What they did with Ed's vocals was incredibly brave of them to do and unbelievably effective, with echoes of late-era R.E.M (but I swear, if he ever picks up a megaphone on stage I will throw a shoe at him). The effect is completely appropriate and transforms the song from a live tear-up, straight-ahead rock and roll song into an artfully crafted political statement. It's harsh, biting and the vocal effects do nothing but reinforce that.
Eddie says:
"It's not about the way I feel. I'm singing as a guy who's completely drunk with technology and man's control, and excited by it, and just ignorant and drunk."
Maui, Hawaii

Second night of the tour. Last night we'd gotten seven songs from Yield, even though the band were kind of unfocused and maybe a little too loose. Tonight they walk out and throw a stake in the ground by opening with "Do The Evolution": you can't play this song half-heartedly, not that there will ever be such a thing as a bad version of this song, but by its very nature, it demands a certain intensity and focus in the delivery, or there's no point.

And that's what we got, in spades, as the band executed the song with almost military precision; if a song could be a lethal weapon, my weapon of choice would be this version of "Do The Evolution": the guitars razor-sharp, Eddie's vocals controlled and manic at the same time, issuing with the same precision as the guitars and rhythm section; Jeff and Jack holding the fort down because otherwise they'd have launched into orbit. McCready's unexpectedly flailing around the stage like he used to in 1992, Stone's over on his side, leaning back, slicing at the strings like he does when he's playing his best, the crowd unifying the whole experience by screaming "IT'S EVOLUTION, BABY!!!" with nearly as much intensity as Ed's bringing to it....

"Admire me
Admire my home
Admire my son, he's my clone
This land is mine
This land is free
I do what I want, irresponsibly...
It's evolution, baby!"
and it's a wall of fucking guitars....

"I'm a beast
I'm a liar
Here's my church, I sing in the choir..."
[and there's Stone and Jeff, chiming in]

"Admire me
Admire my home
Admire my son
Admire my clothes
Appetite...a nightly feast
Those ig-nor-ant Indians got nothing on me..."
[he is spitting out the words like a machine gun, just nailing the delivery of this song down]

...and we charge into Stone's second solo, the crowd is holding a minor white riot, I'm waiting for us to elevate from the intensity I'm witnessing....

last verse, and if you thought it was intense before, well, find something to grab onto; I know I did!

(Yes, he was singing in capital fucking letters.) All I can think is, oh my god, is he gonna have a VOICE when this song is done? Is there going to be anything left of Eddie, period?

Melbourne Park, Australia
"C'mon and DANCE...."[5h wav file]
      -- Ed, 3/5/98, just before "Do The Evolution"
Like an insane woman, I'm sitting up at 2am, listening to the cybercast of this show. I keep saying I'm just gonna wait until DTE, and when it hits, prefaced by the quote above, I know that my prediction that this will be the song of the tour has absolutely come true.

it's evolution, baby! =)

Copyright © 2004 Five Horizons