Shows/1994-10-21

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Setlist: (possibly incomplete and out of order)

Encore #1:

Encore #2:

They Might Be Giants
— with Frank Black opening —
Orpheum Theater in Boston, MA
October 21, 1994 (time unknown)


Fan Recaps and Comments:

Tickets were $18.50.

Review by Jeanne Cooper, The Boston Globe, Oct. 22, 1994:

Some concerts you never want to end. Ur-alternative cult favorites They Might Be Giants, a duo known for widely sampling pop genres, through unusual lyrics and unusual instruments (accordion, tuba), grew into a full rock band for the latest album, "John Henry," adding vitality and mitigating the preciousness of which the duo was sometimes accused. Now that John Flansburgh and John Linnell have taken their invigorated act on the road, it's enticing to think of their revisiting the entire TMBG catalog with live bass, guitar and multiple horns. They certainly covered a lot of it in their virtually sold out show at the Orpheum last night, starting with just drums added and later the full combo.
After a humorous voice-over countdown ("10 - your 10 fingers reach in the air...7 - seven stagehands reach for the one remaining beer"), the two Johns and drummer Brian Doherty whipped through the sprightly "Meet James Ensor," inspired by surf music and the Belgian painter. Doherty's "monkey drumming," as Flansburgh called it (think of the windup toy), packed new punch into "They'll Need A Crane," in which Linnell's accordion resurfaced.
Trumpeter Jim O'Connor and trombone/tuba player Randy Andos joined in for a sassy, partying "Particle Man." (Flansburgh, the quippier John, took one look at Andos' tuba and said, "How does he do it? Volume!") O'Connor helped take Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" to new whirling dervish heights, aided by a sing-along to Flansburgh's muezzin-like vocals. That song ended in atmospheric, slo-mo wails, which suddenly burst into the grooves of 1986's "Don't Let's Start" as a new floodlit set appeared behind the band with bassist Tony Maimone.
Flansburgh called it the "mega-bass," and he was right. Maimone thrust clavicle-rattling power into "Nyquil Driver" (listed as "AKA Driver" on "John Henry"), 1988's "Ana Ng," the Minutemen-thrash "Stomp Box" and their first instrumental, "The Famous Polka." Maimone also played a $35 ukulele on "Extra Savoir Faire." Extra well-received were the revved-up "Twisting" and a cover of Steve Miller's "The Joker."
The first encore heard "The Guitar," the robust single "Snail Shell" and a strobe-lit "Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter. The Giants came back one last time for "Spy," with flashing red cop lights and a faithfully replicated start-and-stop code conducted by Linnell's up-and-down arm movements. At his direction, the audience exuberantly added their heys.
Flansburgh dedicated "Spy" to opener Frank Black, who's touring on his second solo album following the Pixies' demise. For someone who was enthusiastically received, his set was strangely short: nine songs, about 15 minutes less than scheduled. And although his gig had been billed as "solo acoustic," he plugged in after the fourth song.

Not that he suffered from static electricity. He tore through "Whatever Happened to Pong?," turned bluesy on "Big Red," paid hard-rocking homage to the Three Stooges on "Two Reelers" and approached melodic rock on the finale, "Sir Rockaby" (all from his latest album, "Teenager of the Year.") The highlight, though, was his unexpected tribute to Jonathan Richman, a new song called "The Man Who Was Too Loud," which evoked grit and Richman's self-referential wit.