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Setlist: (Incomplete and likely out of order)
Fan Recaps and Comments:
All-ages show. Tickets were $12.50.
Review from The Dallas Morning News (Jan. 1, 1994):
Here's a tough New Year's Eve resolution for the rock press: "I resolve in 1994 not to refer to They Might Be Giants in any way, shape or form that involves words like quirky, offbeat or wacky."The band debuted some new songs, including an ode to Alice Cooper and a song about a turn-of-the-century Belgian painter, expertly walking that line between engaging and too cute. Each time you were about to shake your head and mutter "sheesh," there would come a look, a hook, a move or a grin: sincerity confirmed, all else forgiven. They Might be Giants offered proof that love of music can still transcend style, fashion or even words like "quirky" - not a bad thought at all with which to start 1994.
But they make it so hard, as Friday night's first of two shows at Deep Ellum Live made abundantly clear. To enter the world of the Giants - actually dual Johns, Linnell and Flansburgh - is to enter a place where statues get you high, human skulls lie on the ground like gum wrappers, and time and space seem to fold in on themselves. Yeah, that's offbeat.
They ask for it on a visual level as well. Left-handed guitarist Mr. Flansburgh looks like a young Garrison Keillor, all solid behind his glasses and white button-down shirt. Mr. Linnell, jumping from accordion to sax and back again, appears as Iggy Pop might if he'd taken better care of himself. Together, they look like the guys who won first and second place at your high school science fair.
The look fits their students' approach to music. If you could identify the myriad of styles and influences that continually surface in their tunes - like chunks of meat in a boiling gumbo - you could qualify as pop music's Paul Prudhomme. Old pop, soul, rhythm and blues, Vegas - it's all there, mutated and crossbred, tantalizingly familiar yet different.
It's an approach that would've been dismissed as flat-out dorky in the punk era, but hey, babe - we're in the post-punk, if not post-post-punk, age now. An age which, not coincidentally, has just embraced Tony Bennett like some beloved long-lost uncle.
So the time is right, and when push came to play, the two Johns delivered. Bolstered by bass, drums, a horn guy and a keyboard/horn player, they got an in-your-face rock sound as big as a bouncer.
Versions of favorites like Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas), I Palindrome I and My Lucky Ball and Chain had an over-the-top wallop - particularly when augmented by the honking, wailing horn section - that seemed like the soundtrack to some demented cartoon and was eminently appropriate for this, the most overwrought and cartoonish of evenings.
The early show got under way sometime before 8 and drew an interestingly mixed capacity crowd of kids and club-crawlers. Although crowd reaction up front was sustained and enthusiastic - a fairly polite mosh pit developed, even though the band had asked the audience not to "pass the guy" - the rest of the audience was oddly undemonstrative, almost as if watching a movie.