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Setlist: (incomplete and possibly out of order following "No One Knows My Plan")
- Countdown Intro
- Meet James Ensor
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
- Don't Let's Start
- AKA Driver
- Particle Man
- Ana Ng
- Your Racist Friend
- No One Knows My Plan
- Spy (with Frank Black)
- Birdhouse In Your Soul
- Extra Savoir-Faire
- Why Does The Sun Shine?
- Snail Shell
- Dirt Bike
- O, Do Not Forsake Me (with Wilbur Pauley)
- I Palindrome I
- The Statue Got Me High
- The Famous Polka
- Sleeping In The Flowers
- The End Of The Tour
- Dig My Grave
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Tickets were $17.50.
Review by Dan Kening, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 8, 1994:
Few bands so easily share the infectious joy and humor in their music like They Might Be Giants do. In the first of two consecutive nights at the Vic Theatre on Monday, that enthusiasm on both sides of the stage was palpable.Besides, how could you not love a band that reprises the Edgar Winter Group's cheeseball 1970's hit "Frankenstein" note perfectly for their encore-indulgent drum solo and all?
The band, led by Brooklyn-based songwriters John Flansburgh and John Linnell, played 90 minutes and two encores worth of quirky pop music that has an appeal way beyond the "college rock" label they've been saddled with for nearly 10 years. Filled out for touring purposes to a six-piece configuration, the band had 'em moshing in front of the stage all night long as they crammed nearly 25 crowd-pleasing tunes into their set.
From the opening two-song salvo of "Meet James Ensor" and "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," it was clear that this wasn't going to be an evening of Bon Jovi-style crotch rock. The first song is a goofy paean to the Belgian painter ("Dig him up and shake his hand/Appreciate the man"), while the latter song tackled the musical question, "Why do cities change their names?" to a Dixieland backing.
Nerdy-looking guitarist Flansburgh and the more artistic-looking multi-instrumentalist Linnell may appear opposites, but both share similar aesthetic values. Playing in front of a stage set that included street lamps and a park bench, and buoyed by the pumped-up rhythm section of bassist Tony Maimone, drummer Brian Doherty and two horn players, Flansburgh and Linnell balanced the ridiculous with the sublime masterfully.
When they weren't passing moshers overhead, the audience joined in the singing on irresistibly catchy past favorites like "I Palindrome I," "Birdhouse In Your Soul" and "Don't Let's Start." Some of the most accessible material was from the band's new "John Henry" album. The horn section supercharged the driving "Sleeping In the Flowers," while Maimone and Doherty's effervescent groove on "Snail Shell" underlined the two Johns' appealingly nasal harmonies in a song that sounded like vintage Squeeze.
Unlike their tentative set a couple of years ago at Grant Park, Linnell and Flansburgh seemed fully in control of their band. And this time around even the smart-alecky throwaways like "Particle Man" and "Why Does the Sun Shine?" made sense in the greater scheme of things.