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Setlist: (incomplete and possibly out of order)
- Why Does The Sun Shine?
- AKA Driver
- Ana Ng
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
- Dig My Grave
- Particle Man
- Birdhouse In Your Soul
- She's Actual Size
- Why Must I Be Sad?
- No One Knows My Plan
- Shoehorn With Teeth
- Nightgown Of The Sullen Moon
- Turn Around
- The Guitar
- Stomp Box
- Meet James Ensor
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Tickets were $15.
Review by Greg Haymes, Albany Times Union (Feb. 11, 1995):
- Launching their 1995 national tour on Thursday night at Saratoga Winners, They Might Be Giants self-proclaimed "Brooklyn's musical ambassadors to the world" served up a 90-minute show of the quirky, off-center pop songs that have made them college radio cult heroes since their debut album was released nearly a decade ago.
- Ten years ago, the band consisted of guitarist-vocalist John Flansburgh, accordionist-vocalist John Linnell and a cheesy electronic rhythm machine.
- But the twosome recently expanded their personnel to a full band lineup, and Thursday night's show proved that the new, full-blown version of They Might Be Giants (or TMBG, to their friends) is something both more and less than the old duo.
- Propelled by bassist Tony Maimone (a veteran of Pere Ubu and Bob Mould's band) and drummer Brian Doherty (the Silos, Freedy Johnston's band), TMBG's sound was considerably more muscular on the opening "Subliminal" and the snappy "Why Does the Sun Shine?" (a wacky remake of a 1959 children's educational record).
- The band bolstered its lineup even further a third of the way into the show with the addition of a trumpeter and trombonist on the punkish rave-up "Dig My Grave" and the loopy "Particle Man." The horns played with the band throughout the remainder of the show, adding punch as well as a richer texture to the '60s garage rock of "Twisting," the thrash of "Stompbox" and the free-for-all pop of the crowd-pleasing hit, "Birdhouse in Your Soul."
- But the horns proved most effective on the jazzier numbers. "She's Actual Size" was transformed into a bonafide blast of big band swing worthwhile of Mel Torme or Tony Bennett. Trumpeter Jim O'Connor wailed through a red-hot horn intro to the encore of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)." And Linnell's spirited "Why Must I Be Sad?" even inspired the crowd to join forces in a long conga line.
- But the new lineup also poses a couple of obstacles that They Might Be Giants has yet to overcome.
- First of all, neither Flansburgh nor Linnell are very impressive vocalists.
- More importantly, the band has lost a goodly portion of its charm by expanding to a full band. With songs like "Meet John Ensor" a tribute to the late Belgian painter, in which Flansburgh proclaims, "Dig him up and shake his hand. Appreciate the man" their songs remain as unfailingly off-kilter as ever, but the sonic setting has become more conventionally generic.
- And perhaps it was just a case of technical problems on the opening night of the tour, but both singers were frequently overpowered by band, rendering their clever, witty lyrics all but inaudible. And if you can't hear the lyrics of They Might Be Giants, then you're missing the boat completely.
Review by Seth:
- It was a long time ago, but I was at this show, it was my first TMBG show. First off, the name of the venue was Saratoga Winners, not Winters as whoever posted this listed; they closed, I believe not too long after this show. Also, I don't recall if it was an encore, or what; but I know they played the rocked out version of 'Why does the Sun Shine'. Also of not; the friends who I met up with there knew a little something about the venue, and had us wait in ambush behind the place. Flansburgh came out and signed quickly, but Linnell snuck out right past us, standing in dumbfounded awe carrying a pizza box as though delivering it to the van. It was wierd. LIke I said, this was my first TMBG show, at this point I think I had 'Flood', but had only heard bits and pieces of the other albums, and had yet to throw myself into them full bore.
- Saratoga Winners seemed like a kind of a run-down barn kind of place with a dirt parking lot all around. I remember thinking how funny it was to see "THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS" spelled out in plastic letter inserts on the sign that might otherwise have said, "KARAOKE TONIGHT."
- Didn't have a ticket. Waited in the bitter cold outside. Had a tape recorder in my winter jacket pocket. As I bought a ticket at the window(?) just inside the door, I noticed that they were using a hand-held metal detector wand on the person in front of me. Uh oh. But he was holding his hands up and out, seemingly to facilitate the wanding. Thinking fast, I put my tape recorder between my winter gloves in my right hand, and held them up and out, and they didn't get wanded. The tape recording was too loud and fuzzy to be useful.
- There were two opening bands that seemed unremarkable to me at the time, and seemed to take their sweet time!