In a nutshell, this is one of the finest live performances I ever failed to attend. Although I had the good sense to attend Juliana's next Toronto show in 1998 (also at Lee's Palace), I found out about this show many months after the fact, by virtue of a belated broadcast on CBC radio 2.
Step back in time a few years, say around twelve. Juliana Hatfield was still licking her wounds after being jilted by Atlantic Records, or more specifically the jilting of her likely never to be released God's Foot album. While according to her recent autobiography, When I Grow Up, the split from "the suits" was actually to her fancy, the retention of the rights to said album was another story. God's Foot, the intended follow-up to her 1995 Only Everything LP, achieved something of a mythic status for awhile, and ultimately, die-hard fans got to hear it with the advent of Napster and such. For this late '97 tour, Juliana was instead campaigning for a new ep on Bar None Records, Please Do Not Disturb, as well a forthcoming 1998 release, Bed. Strangely enough only two cuts from Disturb made it into this set (only one appears here, which I'll explain in a moment).
After Only Everything's lackluster sales, some industry types (namely at Atlantic) were declaring her career dead. Perhaps Juliana's creative zenith had crested in the mid-90s - on record anyway, but this stunning Tuesday November 18th, 1997 performance makes a strikingly compelling case otherwise. I can't put my finger on what it is about this show that does it for me. Certainly her sincerity and gut-wrenching delivery. Without a doubt the track selection, and for that matter perfect sequencing - but there's that certain something that wafted it's way out of her microphone and monitors that evening that I can't convey in words. The set draws heavily from her two Atlantic albums, the aforementioned Only Everything and the Gold-selling Become What You Are, but incidentally two great God's Foot selections, "Fade Away," and "What Have I Done to You," made their way onto the list as well. The crowd is also treated to the rare "Waves," a chestnut from her Blake Babies days ("Take Your Head Off My Shoulders"), and closing things out, a Descendants cover ("Hope")!
There are a couple versions of this show floating around - one the CBC FM broadcast, and secondly, an audience tape of the complete show, featuring an extra couple tracks (including a cover of X's "The Unheard Music"). The latter wouldn't have done this upload justice given it's far inferior audio quality and prolonged song intermissions. Enjoy (or not).
01. I Got No Idols
03. Fade Away
04. Dying Proof
05. Fleur De Lys
07. What Have I Done to You
08. My Sister
09. My Darling
10. For the Birds
11. Live on Tomorrow
13. Dumb Fun
14. Spin the Bottle
15. Take Your Head Off My Shoulder
16. Trying Not To Think About It