Live Review: Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo) – Hopetoun Hotel (12.09.09)

When I heard that Robert Schneider was making his first ever trip down under, I found myself asking… like, Rob “The Hot Chick” Schneider? But on second glance I realised that it was, in fact, the famed lead of one of my favourite bands, Apples in Stereo! This was one rare acoustic performance I knew I couldn’t miss.

Together since 1992, the fact Apples had never toured Australia before was criminal, but as they say – better late than never! And it was a thrill to be able to hear the songs of the band, performed by the lead singer, in a truly intimate setting. He embarked on a wide array of banter, and took requests from the crowd – one of which was my own – the song he performed on The Colbert Report, “Stephen, Stephen”. Pure genius – and I quite honestly couldn’t believe he played it.

The rest of the set encompassed a wide range of well loved tracks, unknown rarities, and the apology from time to time that he couldn’t make some requests happen, as he simply didn’t remember how to play them. And with a 20 year back back catalogue, you can’t really blame him. Tracks included “Strawberryfire”, “The Rainbow”, personal favourite “Glowworm”, a short version of “Shine a Light” (by request), “Ruby” and “Energy”, the recent track which was used in a worldwide Pepsi campaign. Although, as he told the Hopetoun crowd, it was originally a song only intended for his son.

This was a truly special evening – the ability to see a musical icon – one of the co-founders of the Elephant 6 record label, which brought us Neutral Milk Hotel – and of course an incredible musician… well this simply isn’t something that happens too often in this city. And this was a crowd who knew this, enjoying every chord and every word of this rare performance.

He promised to bring the whole band down here as soon as possible, so we’re hoping this eventuates. If this solo performance was anything to go by, a performance by the whole band would be something quite special indeed.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.