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Setlist: (From memory, needs to be verified)
- Lie Still, Little Bottle
- (Unremembered Song from "Flood")
- Your Racist Friend
- Purple Toupee
- Dead (Linnell alone)
- Whistling In The Dark
- Ana Ng
- (Song From "They Might Be Giants")
- The Famous Polka
- Someone Keeps Moving My Chair
- Road Movie To Berlin (?)
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Fan Recaps and Comments:
- DKC -- My first TMBG show.
(This happened 16 years ago so I may have gotten a couple of things wrong. That said, it was a very memorable night and the details I'm putting down are the ones I remember pretty clearly).
Decorations were four incredibly large postage stamps. Despite pleas from the band, most of the house lights in the back section of the house remained on all night.
TMBG performed to an incredibly packed SRO room at RPI (not the fieldhouse, where Jimmy Page played a week later). I got there early early early and saw the show from almost the front.
They opened with "Lie Still, Little Bottle". Linnell on Baritone Sax and Flans doing a bizarre slow swaying dance with the microphone; then playing two horns at the same time during the bridge.
"Your Racist Friend" was the third song and a mosh pit broke out. After "Your Racist Friend" ended, Flans and Linnell suggested that moshing was a bad idea and assured the crowd that they would be calling out a square dance later in the show. Despite this, low key moshing continued throughout the show; mostly people jumping up and down in place.
Sometime after the fourth song, ("Purple Toupee"?) Flans and Linnell stopped playing and had the following uncomfortable conversation with the audience:
F: "So... what's going on out there?" (general applause from the crowd)
L: "Its not out there."
F: "So... what are you people smoking?"
L: "That's not what I'm smelling."
F: "What are you people burning?"
L: "It's not incense. We don't have incense fans. I don't think we have incense fans."
F: "Are people whipping things at us?"
L: "Are people whipping smoking things at us?"
F: "Are people smoking things that they're whipping at us?"
L: "'cause.. well... stop it."
Most of the audience couldn't figure out what was going on. Flans went on to say that they weren't Narcs and if they were Narcs they'd definitely say they were, then someone in the front row pointed out to the band that the amp at the back of the stage was against a curtain that was starting to smoke. A roadie and Flans had to unplug, move the amp, and re-plug the amp; which was going to take a few minutes. Flans whispered something to Linnell who turned to the audience and said "we've got a request from the band to play this song" and performed a seductivly slow version of "Dead" by himself. When it was over Flans rejoined the stage and said "Helpful note to anyone who wants to be in a band: curtains burn."
During "Whistling In The Dark", Flans had an enormous unmiked bass drum that he held over the audience while playing it.
During "Ana Ng", Flans shouted "I don't want the world, I just want your half" into the pickups on his electric guitar which I think gave him an electric shock.
During another song, Flans allowed a fan in the front row to play the strings on his guitar.
During yet another song (It was one of those that comes to a dead stop. "Road Movie To Berlin"?) Flans stood on stage for about 30 seconds waiting for a lighting cue that never came.
The first set ended with a really cool version of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" when they slowed the tempo and pitch of the song down to a stop (as if a finger on a turntable was slowly bringing the record to a stop....... if you know what a turntable is, and a record), Flans screamed out "IS" "TAN" "BULL" at something like 5 second intervals to freaky lighting, then the song slowly picked up pitch and speed again to normal.
First encore was "Shoehorn with Teeth" followed by a first album song ("Nothings Gonna Change My Clothes?") and then "Birdhouse In Your Soul".
Second encore was "They Might Be Giants"(?) followed by "Don't Lets Start".
At the time, I remember technical difficulties (lighting, near conflagaration, resetting an amp, Flans pleading in vain to have the house lights in the back turned off) really cutting into the playing time. It seemed like a shortish set. There are likely some songs that I'm forgetting.
For what it is worth, Carmaig de Forest opened. Carmaig's set included the songs "So Happy Together" (his own composition, not the other one), "Love Is Strong", and "Just Say No" performed (in part) on what appeared to be a home-made cigar box ukelele with rubber bands for strings. He was quirky and interesting, but we were kind of underwhelmed.