Interpretations:The End Of The Tour

From This Might Be A Wiki

This song is about a guy in a museum looking at a painting of two pickup trucks.


>There's a girl with a crown and a scepter >Who's on WLSD

The girl is a newscaster on some television channel: WLSD. The crown is a headset and the scepter is a microphone.

>And she says that the scene isn't what it's been >And she's thinking of going home >That it's old and it's totally over now >And it's old and it's over, it's over now >And it's over, it's over, it's over now

The newscaster is saying that the situation, whatever it may be is wrapping up.

>I can see myself

>At the end of the tour >When the road disappears >If there's any more people around >When the tour runs aground >And if you're still around >Then we'll meet at the end of the tour >The engagements are booked through the end of the world >So we'll meet at the end of the tour

The chorus discusses the singers thoughts of death and meeting somebody in the afterlife.

>Never to part since the day we met >Out on Interstate 91 >I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck >When we kissed at the overpass

A car crash occurred in New England (Interstate 91) in which the singer's car was not damaged, but the others involved with the accident were killed or maimed.

>I was sailing along with the people >Driving themselves to distraction inside me >Then came a knock on the door which was odd >And the picture abruptly changed

The singer was involved with the conversation in the car and then the knock of the two cars hitting brought him back to reality, and the picture changed.

>At the end of the tour >When the road disappears >If there's any more people around >When the tour runs aground >And if you're still around >Then we'll meet at the end of the tour >The engagements are booked through the end of the world >So we'll meet at the end of the tour

Chorus again.

>This was the vehicle these were the people >You opened the door and expelled all the people >This was the vehicle these were the people >You opened the door and expelled all the people >This was the vehicle these were the people >You let them go

Parody of Church/Steeple Rhyme

>At the end of the tour >When the road disappears >If there's any more people around >When the tour runs aground >And if you're still around >Then we'll meet at the end of the tour >The engagements are booked through the end of the world >So we'll meet at the end of the tour >And we're never gonna tour again >No, we're never gonna tour again

Chorus again.


I agree with the person below me. I don't think this song is about any sort of romantic love. Their cars kissed (bumped) on the overpass, and the other person died in a flaming car. I think "Never to part since the day we met" is saying that the experience will never leave his mind. It's there to stay. He can't ever meet the person he collided with since that individual is dead, but he trusts that he will in the afterlife. I actually think that the Church/Steeple line was talking about the fact that the person/people in the other car died. I am also willing to bet a large sum of money that this has nothing to do with the grateful dead. --TrogdorTSL 18:42, 28 June 2008 (UTC)-Tyler Landis


"I've been thinking about it and now I thik that this song is either about the literal, being a carcrash, or the more romantic and in my mind better option is death.

all the lines that point to a car crash have about 1 metaphor in them such as "I was bent metal you were a flaming wreck when we kissed at the overpass." kissed could mean vehicles collinding. But I've always found that to be to literal. So I think it's about death.

The grateful dead theory could make sense but the dead broke up in 95 and john henry came out in 94."-MH


To me, this song is the Giants' homage to the Grateful Dead and their breakup (mainly the effect it had on their fans), around the same time that John Henry was released. Here's a breakdown:

"There's a girl with a crown and a scepter / Who's on WLSD / And she says that the scene isn't what it's been / And she's thinking of going home"

It's a fact that as the Dead continued to tour non-stop, more and more people came to their shows to sell or buy drugs, or just get fcked up as hell. This verse is about a radio DJ who happens to be a Deadhead (W-LSD...coincidence?!), who is announcing that their career is coming to a close, and "the scene isn't what it use to be".

"The engagements are booked through the end of the world"

The reason Jerry died when he did was not only because of his heroin addiction, but because, in order to keep the Grateful Dead "machine" running smoothly was to tour the country non-stop.

The verse about the car wreck and finding one another is a common thing within tight-knit communities such as the deaheads. This line is pretty powerful to me:

"I was sailing along with the people / Driving themselves to distraction..."

Taking psychedelics, driving themselves to distraction, not having jobs, living in a fantasy world that would soon come to an end...perfect was to sum up the "scene" with those 2 lines.

"And we're never going to tour again"

Funny, because the Dead (they dropped "Grateful" from their name....hmmmm...) are touring once again, with Mr. Warren "I can't be in too many bands, now can I" Haynes and Jimmy Herring filling in Jerry's position.

Anyway, that's all I have to say. If anybody else agrees with me, please post away.

______________________________________________________________________________


I've always thought this song was a car crash told from the point of view of the car. I'll expand on this more, but I think that if you listen to it while reading the lyrics with this theme in mind, you'll see it.

I'll give my impression of the song in light of one that I heard somewhere else. The first verse is about the fading of a fad, and the song is sung from the perspective of an artist (a band member or singer) who is slowly realising that his popularity is dying out. He's seeing himself at the end of the tour. The chorus is yelling out to the girl in verse two (I'll explain this, don't be confused just yet). The second verse is where the two interps diverve. The one I heard elsewhere was that there was a horrible car crash. The guy was distracted (the "people") and hit the girl's car. He and his car weren't hurt too badly (on the surface) but she was killed, and her car totalled (bent metal, flaming wreck). They "met" on the overpass, where the accident occured. The knock on the door is 1) the guy immediately snapping out of it (and "expelling the people") and 2) someone telling the girl's family that she's been killed. Either way the picture changes to something horrible. My interp is that the guy killed himself as he can't take the fact that he killed someone. The knock on the door could be the bullet hitting bone before he dies. Then the picture abruptly changes. He's dead. Nothing distracts him from being dead. And they've met at the end of the tour, figuratively speaking. Not too pleasant, but extremely moving (to tears, most likely), and then again sometimes the most horrible things in life matter the most. *Also noteworthy, I've heard of people that think that TMBG's popularity peaked with Flood, faded with Apollo 18, and their fad had basically died by John Henry. I don't know if that has anything to do with anything, but I thought it quite strange and in a weird way fitting. Aurora Hawthorne


Hey - long time listener, first time caller.

I always saw this song as a metaphor for the end of high school. Perhaps that's because John Henry came out when I was a senior in high school. I know it's a stretch, but bear with me here:

First verse: "the scene isn't what it's been...that its old and its totally over now..." When I was a senior in high school I thought "well this was fun and all but it's been long enough and now it's all over." PreChorus: "at the end of the tour, when the road disappears...if you're still around, then we'll meet at the end of the tour." Saying goodbye to high school mates was like this. We weren't mature enough or thoughtful enough to really understand how to say proper goodbyes; I think I had a more laissez-faire attitude, like Lloyd Dobler: "see you around, maybe." Second verse: "Never apart since the day we met...I was bent metal you were a flaming wreck when we kissed at the overpass." This pretty much describes all of my high school relationships. I was an immature nutso (bent metal), my girlfriends were the same (flaming wreck), and although we hung out all the time about the only thing we ever really did was make out. Second verse: "I was sailing along with the people driving themselves to distraction inside me then came a knock on the door which was odd and the picture abruptly changed." Again, in high school we are all busy finding ourselves (the people driving themselves to distraction inside me), and time whizzes by us as we do it (sailing along). Then, suddenly, we are called away to four years of college, and, ultimately, the real world (the odd knock and the abrupt change). Bridge: "This was the vehicle these were the people you opened the door and expelled all the people...you let them go." The vehicle was your school; the people were your classmates and friends; the door opening is (a) literally, the door to your school opening on the last day and everyone pouring out and leaving forever; and (b) the end of high school coming and (most of) the people leaving your life. Ending: "And we're never gonna tour again." You only get to do it once. It's all over once it's over.

AgentRocket (agentrocket@hotmail.com)



Linnell introduced this song at the July 4, 2004 concert in Chicago by saying "This song is not about anything. This song is based on a lie." (Or something along those lines; will edit after listening again.)

Reference: the lyrics...

This was the vehicle these were the people

You opened the door and expelled all the people

...parodies the childhood thing you do by clasping your hands in various configurations and saying

Here is the church, here is the steeple
Open the doors and see all the (or no) people

-- amyloo
  • Interesting, if it's true that JL said that. TMBG have an infuriating knack for writing meaningless songs that still sound like they could mean something; songs by, for example, Beck have lyrics that are obviously streanm-of-consciousness, but when John and John write from stream of consciousness, they come out with stuff that's much more coherent and disturbing. - Jake C.

I dunno, but to me it seems that it's just about a guy who's tired of being on tour and wants to return to his girlfriend.


I heard the Chicago reference differently. Again, this is from memory, but he said something like "This song is about (pause) nothing. It's not about anything at all". Then they went on to play. To me, that meant that, like always, they're not teling what they had in mind, and it's up to the listener to get meaning from the song...or not.


For what it's worth, in the commentary for Gigantic, while Michael McKean was reciting the lines for The End of the Tour, they mentioned that he (McKean) made the song sound like it was about death. When asked what it was really about, Linnell replied, "I wrote it for the music." I'm pretty sure that means, as others have suggested, Linnell had a good melody and basically wrote the lyrics using words that fit. -Lars


"This song is not about anything. This song is based on a lie." They are are always saying things like that...


I blorted out an interpretation at the LJ site that someone liked so I repeat it here -

Well, Mr. Linnell wrote it, so it should be about angst, death, unfulfilled longing, bodily injury. Check, check, check and .... check. Oh yeah, and very permeable borders of the self... and .. check on that, too.

The narrator says:

I am like an automobile, containing squabbling anxious selves, and I crash into you, another car. Our relationship is like an auto smash, with flames and destruction that weld the cars together.

I am a church, and I am a vehicle - I contain all the people I am, and all the people I know. But since I am on tour, every night I open myself and let them go. They pass through my hands. I am playing the game children play with laced fingers - my hands are the church, my own fingers the people, the parts of me that I let go, because that night's concert is over. Also, I am, and am of, a place where people congregate to worship and sing, as at a concert.

I have been on tour so long, that it feels as if my entire life is a tour, and I can only stop when I die. Let's not futilely hold onto each other now, but agree to meet after this life is over, at the of the tour, when I can rest, and not crash, and not give away everyone I meet every night.

It's sad, but very beautifully imagined. ~Christina Miller, Apr 2005


WOW!!! These are all really really interesting but the song is about...

death. Tour=life the engagements are booked through the end of the world. end of the world=death. The end of the tour is death. Linnell even acknowledged this once with the word "Yeah" when sarah vowell implied that it was about death. We'll meet at the end of the tour, we'll all die, we are equal in that sense. i know im not articulating this extremely well but it is so graphically summed up at the end of the song: "And We're never gonna tour again, No, We're never gonna tour again"


Little note: This was originally going to be TMBG's last album of the career and they were going to retire. This is the line "We're never gonna tour again" and why it was the last song on the album. However, TMBG decided to continue their career later.


Who said they were going to retire? Where did you get that concept?


I have the TMBG documentary by AJ Schnack on DVD. TMBG had a contract with Elektra entertainment (Flood was the first such album). The documentary explains that Elektra overworked TMBG while on tour. Elektra wanted the band to perform at a place in Japan that wasn't originally on the tour route,but JF & JL had promised the band some hang time. It was after this incident that they got out of their contract with Elektra. After explaining this, the documentary went to celebrities reading lyrics from this song. Although I know the interpretation isn't literal by every verse, there is perhaps some sort of connection. TMBG is done touring under the Elektra label. -Jason Caltrider


My somewhat more abstract interpretation has been that the narrator and the girl in the song can only meet each other again at the end of the tour, but the tour lasts until the end of the world, so they can only hope that they're still around by then. But it's unlikely that they, or anyone, will be around by that time, since all the people will be "expelled" at the end of the world. -Guest


Okay, so heres what I think,

I think this song is about a person in jail with a life sentance, possibly because they killed someone. I will waste my time, when i should be doing homework, and eloborate for you, line by line.

There's a girl with a crown and a scepter

Who's on WLSD

okay, I'm not quite sure how this relates

And she says that the scene isn't what it's been

And she's thinking of going home

this is talking about the person who got killed, and how she thinks that heaven is different, and how she would like to go back "home" aka life.

That it's old and it's totally over now

And it's old and it's over, it's over now And it's over, it's over, it's over now

The repeating "that it's old, and its totally over now" means that life is old and it's totaly over now.

I can see myself

At the end of the tour When the road disappears

The killer is saying how he can see himself dieing in jail, when his sentance is over, and he is free in the afterlife.

im running out of time, but if i remember to, i will finnish this yeah so yeah -Cody-schmidt


I think it's literally about the narrator crashing into some girl and killing her in a car wreck. I guess I'll go for a line-by-line.

"There's a girl with a crown and a scepter who's on WLSD" Describing the victim-- the girl thinks she's on top of the world and very confident as she is a queen, and she's on something like LSD

"And she says that the scene isn't what it's been, and she's thinking of going home That it's old and it's totally over now, etc." So she's bored and disappointed with whatever's she's found in life, and she's confident, high, and going on the road.

"I can see myself... at the end of the tour where the road disappears If there's any more people around when the tour runs aground And if you're still around then we'll meet at the end of the tour" This is the narrator getting ahead of himself. The whole song is him recounting how it all happened, and after thinking about the girl, he thinks about if he can see her again in heaven or maybe he's in denial and thinks he may see her again. I'll go with the heaven one.

"Never to part since the day we met out on Interstate 91 I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck when we kissed at the overpass" By both going on Interstate 91, fate bound him to her life and vice-versa. The wrecked, and he was "bent metal"-- his car was damaged-- and she was a flaming wreck-- her car, at least. The ambulances or whoever came, and "kissed" her car with the jaws of life, or he possibly had to try CPR on her knocked-out body (I like the imagery of the first though).

"I was sailing along with the people Driving themselves to distraction inside me" He was driving along between all the other people, and he was distracted wandering his eyes on the other cars (which makes it sound like he's putting the blame on the drivers around him for being a distraction to him. [By the way, the best line or two in the song.]

"Then came a knock on the door which was odd and the picture abruptly changed" Someone knocked on his car while he was being distracted. And when he turned, surprised, to look he saw the knock was his and her cars colliding.

"This was the vehicle, these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people, etc. This was the vehicle, these were the people-- you let them go Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun" Maybe more died with her. This was him watching the police or ambulances unsuccessfully try rescuing the people-- again, putting the blame on others (wrongly).

"And we're never gonna tour again" We'll never have a chance to live again, he acknowledges. The tour by the way is definitely metaphor for life. (You'll find the end of life when the road (of life) disappears. And once it's over, if there are people around (if he winds up in a heaven or hell), and he can find her there, he promises to see her and make amends. You can't live again (the engagements for new lives are all taken by people-to-be through forever), so they'll meet at the end of the tour.

So yeah, it's about a guy who's responsible for the death of somebody and who needs closure. The end.


Changing my little part again, woo. Figured I should elaborate more.

I think it's about a couple torn apart by death. There's a girl (the "girl with a crown and a scepter") and a guy (the singer), and they're deeply in love. However, the girl is killed--quite possibly in a car crash. (It's possible that she lingered for a few days after the accident or whatever killed her--hence the fact that the narrator says that she's "thinking of going home"--but I'm not that sure about that.) The man is shocked and devastated that the woman he loves has been ripped away from him. However, he realizes that when he dies, they'll be able to see each other again, and that gives him some degree of solace.

~Anna Ng hears your words.


I think the song is about a relationship that ended in a cancelled marriage. This is based on references to 'engagement', 'never to part', and the steeple/finger game (plus the song's primary instrument sounds like a church organ). It's easy for me to think of this as one of the angriest and most accusatory songs Linnell has written. Something tells me that Linnell feels he has revealed too much of his private life in this song. It's simply not his way. --Nehushtan 21:25, 21 Mar 2006 (CST)

I wouldn't discount this (or any song, for that matter) having personal meaning the lyricist is not willing to discuss. Mrs. Train, if you accept one interpretation, is about fear of getting married, for instance. Christina Miller, September 2007

To me this always seemed like a dying man who hopes there is an afterlife, so he can reunite with the one he loves. The tour is a metaphor for life and life's journeys.


i think that in some of TMBG's songs they hide phrases in the lyrics. John distinctly says "the picture above to change". I think that the line "the picture above me changed" is hidden in the sentence. It may be about losing the will to die during an attempted suicide. (Or successful, which, needless to say, would be tragic.)


I always thought that this song was about a fan who sort of pathetically builds a life around following a band. The fan is overly melodramatic about the scene not being what it was, even going so far as to make comparisons to the end of the world. I thought Linnell might be poking a little fun at fans who were upset about TMBG's use of a live band rather than the drum machine/recordings.


After a lot of pondering, I think I've got it.

There's a girl with a crown and a scepter / Who's on WLSD Pop idol. The crown and scepter are figurative, she's the "Queen of Pop"

And she says that the scene isn't what it's been / And she's thinking of going home / That it's old and it's totally over now She gets in her car and goes home.


Never to part since the day we met. Out on Interstate 91. I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck. When we kissed at the overpass. I was sailing along with the people. Driving themselves to distraction inside me. Then came a knock on the door which was odd. And the picture abruptly changed. Okay, so the narrator got in a car crash with "you" who is the pop idol, the girl with the crown and a sceptar. The "kiss" is figurative, it's two cars slamming into each other. I dunno about the knock on the door, but basically the girl dies.

At the end of the tour / When the road disappears / If there's any more people around / When the tour runs aground / And if you're still around Then we'll meet at the end of the tour / The engagements are booked through the end of the world / So we'll meet at the end of the tour Alright, so the tour is life, and it's talking about the afterlife. If there's any more people around and if you're still around is if there's an afterlife, then we'll meet again, and I can apoligize.

This was the vehicle; these were the people. You opened the door and expelled all the people I think the people were fans of the pop idol who hated to see her die.

And we're never gonna tour again. No, we're never gonna tour again. No idea.


I've always felt that the "girl with a crown and a cepter" was a radio show host, or newscaster (somebody said earlier that the crown is the headphones and the cepter is the microphone-- nice catch). She's a very unhappy person, and while the narrator is "sailing along with the people/driving themselves to distraction..." he kills her in a car accident ("I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck/when we kissed at the overpass"). The "knock on the door" was the crash. So, of course it's the guilty survivor story. The tour is symbolic of life, and the end of the tour is the afterlife. So he's saying he'll meet her and have a talk about what happened, and apologize. Such a sad song, yet it's beautifully written. A definite favorite. =) --Lemita 13:50, 1 September 2006 (UTC)


I take the "girl with a crown and a scepter" to be a music critic on the radio who (in their self-important way) decides that the local music scene is stale, and with it, TMBG. Already approaching burnout (from being booked until the end of the world), TMBG gets discouraged and decides not to tour anymore.


i know its a stretch, but i think this song is about the unsung American classic "Sister Carrie" by Theodore Dreiser... think about it.


I'm pretty convinced that the narrator is actually a car - Linnell, as he often does, uses the personification of an inanimate object. The story goes something like this:

Some crazy drugged up celebrity gal wants to do herself in (WLSD - possibly a television station, but she's also on drugs). In her drugged state, she commits suicide by crashing into another car - the narrator.

The people in the car are having a good time, and suddenly as if in slow motion, the narrator describes an odd knock on the door, maybe the people in the car brace for the impact, and suddenly everything is gone ("the picture abruptly changed").

The narrator shows some anger toward the god portrayed by many religions, who claim that God selfishly takes people to be "angels":

This was the vehicle; these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people This was the vehicle; these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people This was the vehicle; these were the people You let them go

-JD


Wow, I think I took this song a lot more literally than most people. Though mostly I just make up a story that fits behind the lyrics. The first verse talks about a girl whose grown tired of life in the city, filled with drugs, and where everyone has such an ego that they act like royalty. She used to be like that, and finally saw herself for what she was.

The second verse talks about a rock star. While touring, he starts to develop relationships with some of the people he meets in cities he stops in, but always has to move on. He promises them all he'll meet them again when the tour is finished, but knows he won't.- "The engagements are booked..." The band is so successful that tours seem to line themselves up forever into the future. He is starting to become disenhartened by this. He's starting to see himself as well.

The third verse talks about their meeting. Their cars (or car and tour bus) crashed at an overpass. As a detail, because of the greater mass, the our bus was only bent up, but the car burst into flames. They fall in love (great to meet someone, eh?) and while they don't actually kiss at the overpass, but the overpass is a continuing symbol to them. Last four lines of this looks at section below.

Fourth verse is repeat of second.

"I was driving along..." the rock star has a lot of "people" inside him- 1. the ghosts and memories of all the people he meets on tour, and 2. multiple personalities he's started to develop from the various ways he has to act in different situations to keep people happy. These people are all in a 'house' (his head) which is the tour bus (a vehicle) as it functions like on the tour. The knock on the door is metaphysical to the next line. The girl, as she meets him, knocks on the door into him, and all the other people are expelled into the one person the rock star becomes. He then quits (never gonna tour again) and they go off to live together.


The guy who wrote about TMBG having had it up to here with Elektra is correct, the song was about never wanting to tour again (as they felt at the time). But in the way that great songs are great, it can mean very different things to different people - and at different times in their lives. I am a prostate cancer survivor and although I knew this song well before my diagnosis and (happily) successful surgery, since then it has always meant to me the loss of the ability to father children. Especially the part about "this was the vehicle, these were the people ... you let them go." That's what the prostate is, man, your little semen factory.

Additionally, I work in a high school and I agree with someone earlier above, that it is an excellent metaphor for the end of high school, or college or anything like that - a job, a marriage. John and John are not often writers of very happy songs, they just write them to very happy music. [User:Trunkmonkey8] 26 august 2007


I think it's about a story of two people meeting at a very low point in their lives (the obvious car wreck imagery is probably a metaphor for this) and deciding to spend the rest of it together. These people abandon their friends that were most likely doing them more harm than good (I was sailing along with the people/Driving themselves to distraction... and This was the vehicle; these were the people/You let them go). - Almo


I always thought it to be a about a band's busdriver who got in to a huge accident under under in the overpass Never to part since the day we met Out on Interstate 91 I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck When we kissed at the overpass.

The accident was caused by the people (maybe the band?) distracting the driver and suddenly crashing into a car or a pillar killing everyone
I was sailing along with the people Driving themselves to distraction inside me Then came a knock on the door which was odd And the picture abruptly changed.And the 'the end of the tour' is the when everyone is dead and in the afterlife and,if you get there, they will see you at the end of the tour. but in the time being but they will never tour again.

User:The Joaq




Some things are so obvious they can be hard to see.

Girl with a crown and a scepter = Statue of Liberty. Duh.

After that it becomes wide open to interpretation. Personally I think this is a reference to Paul Simon's American Tune in which he mentions the Statue of Liberty sailing off to sea ie:

And she says that the scene isn't what it's been And she's thinking of going home

My guess is the song is about what the Giants see as the American experiment with Democracy becoming somewhat of a car wreck.

And:

There's a girl with a crown and a scepter Who's on WLSD

Makes me think of Madame Psychosis in Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace) who does a radio show on MIT's fictional WYYY (Largest whole prime on the FM dial) and is a drug addict.

Anyway, I think the Statue of Liberty reference is solid, and I've never posted on this site before so if I've mucked it up then sorry.


I noticed subtle connection to the Shel Silverstein poem, "Where the Sidewalk Ends". Here is an excerpt from the writing:

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.


This just occurred to me while reading other people's posts. The knock on the door for most of these explanations is weak. I realized though, that cars have doors. If the car (that's narrating, at least at that point) was T-boned, then the crash would be a slam on the literal door of the car, and when you're driving, you don't expect a knock on your car door. Odd indeed.


Well it just occured to me while listening to this song that WLSD could stand for West Lake Shore Drive, but that's just me, and that could be totally wrong.


It occurs to me that there are several things in the album John Henry that seem related to a story about a car crash. Some of them allude to driving; others to things that can lead to crashes; others to the possible results. I was listening to the album today, and it almost gave me the impression of a story told from many different perspectives, all out of order, that only (sort of) comes into focus in the final song:

Subliminal-- "As I got hit by a car, there was a message for me. As I went through the windshield, I noticed something..."

Sleeping In The Flowers-- "I got a ride home with a drunk guy; how ungrateful I must have seemed. He showed me how to spin my head round and round."

AKA Driver-- Seems to be talking about someone driving all night, possibly not alert, and possibly not driving safely; "Get out of my lane!"

Destination Moon-- Someone is crippled in the hospital, but they're not going let that stop them from trying to do great things.

Thermostat-- "When the indicator says you're out of oil, should you continue driving anyway? There's a thermostat that regulates the temperature that might not be reliable that should be disconnected." and "Is the thermostat engulfed in flames, or is it just me?"

At The End Of The Tour is about the central event that links all the stories together, where these various people's lives literally collided. I do have ideas about how some of the other songs on the album can also be related, mainly that they are about the people involved in the accident, but I know this is probably a case of me filling in too many "blanks" and trying to make the connections too "neat." I doubt all the songs were really meant to tell one story. (If you think they do, someone will have to tell me how "Meet James Ensor" relates!) Still, I find it interesting.

Kolrad 04:45, 8 May 2009 (UTC)



Lovely Lady NYC[edit | edit source]

Yes, I too initially believed that this song was a hidden discussion about a car crash. After reading some other people's commentary about TMBG and Elektra, I decided to look at it again armed with a new perspective. The new perspective makes it easier to take things on face value.


"There's a girl with a crown and a scepter Who's on WLSD And she says that the scene isn't what it's been And she's thinking of going home That it's old and it's totally over now And it's old and it's over, it's over now And it's over, it's over, it's over now I can see myself "


The girl with the crown and scepter (aka torch) is the Statue of Liberty. She was a gift from France and was dedicated on October 28, 1886. But the scene (USA) isn't what it's been... she's thinking about heading back to France... it was a good run, but she's tired of it.

"I can see myself" says that TMBG is feeling the same way as the Statue of Liberty with their tour. As for the WLSD, for the statue to be speaking there would have to be drugs involved. As noted, WLSD is also the format for TV station identifiers, and in the time frame that TMBG initially came to NYC, the Statue of Liberty was in the news quite a lot as they began the restoration project.


"At the end of the tour When the road disappears If there's any more people around When the tour runs aground And if you're still around Then we'll meet at the end of the tour The engagements are booked through the end of the world So we'll meet at the end of the tour "

So, TMBG is booked on a never-ending tour, and getting fed up with it. They tell the Statue of Liberty that when the tour is over, they'll be back to NYC... hopefully she'll still be there.


"Never to part since the day we met Out on Interstate 91 I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck When we kissed at the overpass I was sailing along with the people Driving themselves to distraction inside me Then came a knock on the door which was odd And the picture abruptly changed "

Here we realize that the song isn't being sung by the PEOPLE on tour, but the bus, made from bent sheet metal. In moving from Boston to NYC, they'd take I-91 through Connecticut and merge with 91/95 into NYC. The Statue of Liberty is constantly illuminated (aka flaming) and in 1981 the Statue of Liberty was beginning its restoration due to years of neglect, pitting, etc. (http://corrosion-doctors.org/Landmarks/statue-reference.htm)

The bus was driving along with his people (TMBG) and fell in love with NYC/Statue of Liberty. Not so sure about the knock on the door bit. Probably just an allusion to TMBG's lives changing by signing a record contract after the knock on their door. After all, Opportunity Knocks. Suddenly they're no longer their own bosses and get sent on an endless tour.



"This was the vehicle; these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people This was the vehicle; these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people This was the vehicle; these were the people You let them go "

Obvious a play on the "Here is the Church, Here is the Steeple, Open them up and see all the people" kid's finger game.

More interesting is that the bus "let them go" and "expelled all the people." Finally TMBG could sit in one place and just relax now that they're no longer hostage to the tour bus.



"And we're never gonna tour again No, we're never gonna tour again"

Simple reinforcement of the fact that the tour was grueling and they're not interested in doing that crap any longer.




Kurt and Courtney[edit | edit source]

I've put this interpretation up elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure it fits.

The song is about Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. The Girl with a Crown and Scepter references the Hole album cover for "Live Through This". WLSD represents the drug influences on Courtney's life at that time. The scene is old and totally over since Kurt's death. All the lyrics after the line "Shes thinking of going home" are Courtney talking to Kurt.

The end of the tour represents Courtney's death when she is re-united with Kurt in Heaven or the afterlife or wherever. The bent metal and flaming wreck two vehicles in verse 2 obviously represent Courtney and Kurt and the craziness of their lives. The crash represents the wreck that their lives became. The people inside are all the people that fed off of their success, who were let out after the "knock on the door" which was Kurts death, after which the picture "abruptly changed".

John Henry was recorded and released just after Kurt's death in 1993, so this would have been a huge issue throughout the music industry at that time.


if you have ever tried LSD and opened the doors of perception, this song will start making a WHOLE lot more sense.


I love the car crash idea, and that's probably right. Before reading that, I had always thought this was a love song from the point of view of the tour bus toward a specific groupie it was always pining to see again.


I drive on 91 a lot. It is my favorite road. Abcdefghi76543 (talk) 18:46, 27 August 2014 (EDT)

Things change[edit | edit source]

Seems to be a song about a brief, beautiful car crash of a relationship that happened between two people who were in a bad place emotionally ("bent metal" kissing a "flaming wreck") and the narrator just wanted something to 'drive him to distraction' from feeling alone; then life just took them ("knock on the door") in different directions, what they had was suddenly different ("picture abruptly changed") and they went separate ways--though he has hopes of trying it again some day when life just slows down a little, the 'tour is over', the road has disappeared, and there's no more 'destination' to be as concerned about. He makes conditional points ("if there's any more people around when the tour runs aground, AND if you're still around, then we'll meet at the end of the tour") and promises that if/when that time comes, they'll "never tour again", and the two can try settling down.


Disillusionment of Fame[edit | edit source]

When I listen to this song I've made up a music video for it. So I'm just gonna go line-by-line on this, and describe what I see, and give an explanation for it.

There's a girl with a crown and a scepter Who's on WLSD And she says that the scene isn't what it's been And she's thinking of going home That it's old and it's totally over now And it's old and it's over, it's over now And it's over, it's over, it's over now I can see myself

The "girl with a crown and a scepter" is a very popular pop singer (crown and scepter referring to power) who hates the pop life. Right now she is on the radio (the channel is called WLSD) and she is talking about a tour, which she wants to be the last. She's saying that it's "old and it's totally over now", because she won't be touring anymore after that. While she's repeating that line we transition to a guy who is driving in a car, listening to her on the radio. We go back and forth between them in the chorus, her in her tour bus, and him still driving on that road.

Never to part since the day we met Out on Interstate 91 I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck When we kissed at the overpass

Flashback to a few days back, guy and singer are in accident. His car was only slightly dented, but her tour bus was ruined. We now know why they are connected.

I was sailing along with the people Driving themselves to distraction inside me Then came a knock on the door which was odd And the picture abruptly changed

The reason why the crash happened was because he was distracted (maybe thinking about the singer?) and there was a "knock on the door", the crash, that sent him back to reality.

At the end of the tour When the road disappears If there's any more people around When the tour runs aground And if you're still around Then we'll meet at the end of the tour The engagements are booked through the end of the world So we'll meet at the end of the tour

In the aftermath of the crash the singer and the guy become friends, and she says that she will meet him at the end of the tour. This is why the guy was driving around, he is following her to her last show. (this isn't supposed to be a creepy, stalker following. They have genuinely become friends, and she genuinely wants to be with him after the tour)

This was the vehicle; these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people This was the vehicle; these were the people You opened the door and expelled all the people This was the vehicle; these were the people You let them go

Before her last show, they meet up and devise a plan to sabotage the last show and get her away from her greedy managers. In the middle of the show, she abruptly shoos everyone out of the venue, telling them to go away and that she's not going to be playing anymore. Her managers realize what she's doing and they try to stop her, but she gets to the guy's car in time and they drive away. The final chorus is them driving away to the anger of the managers. (I think that the guitars between the bridge and the chorus could be police sirens)

And we're never gonna tour again No, we're never gonna tour again

This final line is an exchange between them, joking about how they aren't going to be famous, and are just going to live a quiet life.

-Echo O_O (talk) 13:04, 11 June 2015 (EDT)

Survivor's guilt[edit | edit source]

I've always had a very firm idea of what this song might be about (though of course, it's definitely a personal interpretation). Specifically, I've always thought it was about the death of a significant other, likely in a car crash that the narrator feels guilty about surviving.

It opens with the crash. The SO tells the narrator, as she lays dying, that she's ready to "go home"--to die. She recognizes that it's "over now," and, as she finally dies, notes that she can "see (herself)" as her ghost exits her body.

I'm going to skip ahead to the second verse and the bridge, since the chorus is more of a recurring theme than anything else--a mantra of sorts, in a way. The narrator reflects a bit on his relationship with this girl, on how close they were and how much he loved her (and continues to love her). But as he thinks of that, his memories are tainted by the fact that she's dead, and he's still here. The "knock on the door" is him and his SO being pulled from the wreckage; the "picture abruptly (changing)" is that sudden realization that she's not going to make it. Additionally, he feels as if he's to blame for the crash. It's implied that he was the driver, and he feels that he was distracted in some way and could've prevented things.

The bridge, meanwhile, deals with his anger towards the first responders. He believes, accurately or not, that they could've saved her instead of him ("you let them go").

Now onto the chorus. The narrator finds solace in the concept of an afterlife--the idea that someday, when he dies, he will be reunited with his beloved, and they can be together forever ("we're never gonna tour again"). In general, I think the chorus is a bit metaphorical in terms of terminology. "The tour" is life; the "end of the tour" is the end of life, or death.

So, to make a long story short, it's about a man whose girlfriend or wife was killed in an accident, and him finding comfort in the idea of an afterlife. Warhammer Of Zillyhoo! (talk) 01:25, 18 August 2015 (EDT)

At their April 2016 concert in Philadelphia, the Johns said this is about a group that never really retires- they said think of the Rolling Stones. They keep saying they will pack up and go home, and the media always treats them like it's the last concert, but the band can never seem to quit for too long.

End of the Year song[edit | edit source]

This sounds, to me, like a song that tends to be played around New Year's time. The end of the tour that is the preceding year, claiming that they're not going to do the same things next year, even though they most likely will. New Year's resolutions and all that. --Imrustyokay (talk) 18:19, 26 December 2018 (EST)