Album: Storefront Hitchcock
. . .
At some point in the mid-1990s, the great filmmaker Jonathan Demme approached Robyn Hitchcock after a show and offered to direct a video for him. That video became a whole concert performance, and Storefront Hitchcock was born.
Demme — who had some experience in directing concert films — conceived the performance as Robyn playing his songs acoustically in an abandoned storefront, thus Storefront Hitchcock.
The concert was filmed in December of 1996 — December being the peak month for acoustic Robyn Hitchcock — and it featured a cross-section of Robyn’s songs over his career, to me the highlight was the rendering of “Glass Hotel,” a deep cut from 1990’s Eye, where it shimmered just over the horizon, like the sun setting over the ocean.
Seems like you were in a glass hotel
Seems like, seems like
Seems like there was someone else as well
Seems like, it seeeeeeeeeeeeeememmss
Seems like everything was going well
Seems like, seems like
You were up in your glass hotel
It seems like a dreeeeeeeeeeam
One of the things I haven’t really mentioned in all of these posts is what a tremendous guitar player Robyn Hitchcock truly is, because he doesn’t really take a lot of flashy solos, and nearly all of what he does is in service of the song.
But on “Glass Hotel,” you can absolutely hear all of the various pinwheels and curlicues that he’s picking on the verses, and the more strummy things he was playing on the chorus, which instantly drops back into the dreamy picking.
Well the radio was playing
In the darkness of the hall
There was someone standing with you
Who just wasn’t there at all
And you were laughing
Like a lot of the songs on Eye, “Glass Hotel” seems like a break up song, in this case maybe about a discovery of infidelity from a partner who had been accusing him of the same. But, of course, I could be wrong. Near the end, he skips away from the picking and starts playing single notes around the song, and it is alternatively lovely and kinda devastating, too.
“Glass Hotel (NYC, 1996)”
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