Shows/1998-09-15

From This Might Be A Wiki


Fan Recaps and Comments:

Review by Jeremy:
The show TMBG played in Salt Lake City on the 15th is the best show I've ever seen them play! The show featured JL playing Bari Sax, an appearance by the stick, a new song called "Working Undercover for the Man" about a band that pulls raids on unsuspecting fans, the puppet heads (they were stolen for that leg of the tour last tour), the confetti cannon for JKP, and an all around tight and surprisingly good performance. They were twice as great as I expected! Don't miss them if they come your way. They played two surprisingly wonderful encores ("She's an Angel" "EDGuy" and "Istanbul" then "Shoehorn with Teeth"(!!!) and "Particle Man" The original set list was planned as now PM and "Istanbul" at the very end. I just thought it was cool that they did some of their lesser known songs for the fans before playing the standards.

Review by Jim:
DISCLAIMER: ALL QUOTES IN THE FOLLOWING CONCERT REVIEW ARE APPROXIMATE AND TO THE BEST OF MY MEMORY.

ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: I WAS NEVER QUITE SURE ABOUT THE LAST NAMES OF BASSIST DAN AND GUITARIST DAN. ARE THEY *BOTH* NAMED DAN MILLER?

"whoa. i have just one word for you, and it's not even a word. whoa." --john linnell ah, the concert i've been waiting eight years to see did nothing but live up to and exceed all my expectations. coming out of it, i was exhausted, sweat-drenched, deaf, dumb, and blind. i felt like every bone in my feet had been broken, like my shoes had been torn to shreds, and like it would take a week to unclench my left hand, which had been gripping a pocket-sized spiral notebook throughout the whole show. my voice had been thoroughly beaten into submission, the three tmbg shirts i bought were a crumpled, sweaty, stained mess, and if i could muster the energy, i would have killed for a drink of water. but would i trade that for anything in the world? not on your life. no listies showed up to eat mexican food with me (thassokay -- i didn't really expect it), and so i ate my food and got in line. one of the security guys hassled me about my backpack, and i ended up having to leave it in the trunk of one of the guys next to me in line. (i have no car.) i was rather annoyed by that, especially since my backpack contained my copy of apollo 18, which i'd brought in the hopes of getting it autographed. once inside, i bought three tmbg shirts (the T:TEY long-sleeved tattooey shirt, the colorful STD one, and the music self-played one.) this was a mistake, as i then had to spend the rest of the concert clutching them, and they ended up getting stained with something or other. (i haven't had the opportunity to wash them yet, so i hope it all comes out!) before michael shelley went on, i got to talk with quite a number of people: four from BYU, two from USU, and one woman who'd brought her teenage boy and his friends. (it was particularly fun talking with her, as i hadn't met many multi-generational TMBG fan families...) when they turned on the pre-show ambient music, i noticed it was alice cooper. (no more mr. nice guy, billion-dollar babies, etc.) i started wandering into the crowd around the stage to position myself, feeling for all the world like one of those girls that you've all seen screaming at early Beatles concerts. and then michael shelley started playing, and somehow managed to kill my mood. i came in with a completely open mind about him, thinking to myself "well, if They like him enough to take him on tour with 'em, there must be something to it." but, at least in this context, i couldn't tell what it was. i'm not sure how much to blame on him, and how much to blame on the sound guy, but i couldn't understand the lyrics he was singing, (or, for that matter, the between-song banter,) and the guitar solos were muddy, indistinct, loud, and in *every* *single* *song*. (one of the guys next to me said, "he needs to learn that not every song needs this part...") and the lack of definition in the vocals and guitar would have been okay by me, except that it seemed that the overall musicianship was lacking. only parts of "surfer joanie" and the last song he played (whatever that one was called) held my interest at all. i don't know what They see in him. i bet it's in the lyrics. then we all stood around and listened (some patiently, most not) to perez prado's greatest hits (lots of great mambo, merengue, conga, and cha-cha)! in any other context, i would have been digging it to no end. but by the time it got through "san remo", my enthusiasm had been reduced to a mere "enough already!" (i also noticed that the audience was no longer cheering for the roadies every time they'd show up on stage...) but then... ah, but then, the crowd began cheering explosively, and i heard the strains of the STD theme being played by the all-dan backup band while the johns came on stage. they looked in person exactly like i'd imagined, down to movements and facial expressions, everything. for those who are keeping track of this sort of thing, flans was wearing a lime green shirt with a short sleeves and a collar. linnell was wearing a plain t-shirt that was either dark blue or black; it was hard to tell. (incidentally, after seeing linnell in person, i just have to say: hank the angry drunken dwarf, my ass. *linnell* should have been #1 on that poll!) they then launched into new york city, full speed ahead, until linnell stopped them in the middle of the first verse. apparently, he hadn't been ready. it was reminiscent of 'bob dylan's 115th dream' off 'bringing it all back home'... i didn't notice what was missing until they started it again. flansburgh said: "okay, pretend like we just got on stage". and then he and linnell said a few things back and forth to each other, but the crowd was pretending like they just got on stage again, and were cheering their little puppet heads off and drowned Them out. then they relaunched, with linnell playing the chime noise on his keyboard. moshing and pass-the-dude ensued immediately. there wasn't a whole lot of between-song banter; they mostly just finished one song and went right into the next. here's what i could decipher from my mosh-addled handwriting afterward: 1. std theme 2. nyc 3. twistin' 4. the famous polka (instrumental rock -- very hard sound -- it took me a while to recognize it!) at this point, (of course, after three eminently moshable songs,) flans chides the moshers with his "pmmf! face down on the concrete" story. some of the moshers had apparently heard it before, and were reciting it in perfect unison with him. by now, the brownian motion of the mosh pit had sucked me in from the back of the crowd, and i was up around row #3-5, right in front of linnell's keyboard! anyway, to drive the no-moshing point home, they proceeded to play (slowly) mammal, with linnell's introduction: "this is a song about the class we all belong to. (to flans:) is it a class? (to the audience:) i'll have to look that up when i get home." so: 5. mammal 6. subliminal 7. older this was very well-done. the lighting was dark, if i remember correctly. there may have been some red lights on the band. at any rate, the spotlight was on linnell. he was doing his best to look very sober, even going so far as to do the one-eyebrow thing and point ominously at audience members. they really threw me off during the first chorus: "time! (bomp bomp...) is marching on! (bomp bomp...) and time! (bomp................) (ME: only one bomp!? cool!) is still marching on! (bomp bomp...)" after older, flans said (approximately): "people often ask us if we hire our roadies for their good looks, and ladies and gentlemen, i have to confess that that is the case. the primary consideration when hiring our roadies *is* their good looks, and i have to say that we have a fine, foxy crew of roadies here with us tonight. so this next song is dedicated to the roadies, ladies and gentlemen, and it's called S-E-X-X-Y!!!) 8. S-E-X-X-Y 9. james k. polk this used the standard cannon intro, up to and including flans' "if you die tonight at this concert, may the last thing you see... be the Confetti Cannon of They Might Be Giants..." i snagged some confetti, but i can't find it now.  :( i don't know what could have happened. linnell messed up the lyrics in the last verse: "and annexed... (correcting himself:) all this, he sought no second term..." 10. battle for the planet of the apes. the johns were apes, the dans were people. when flans explained the principles behind the chanting, he said: "it's like a bill cosby album. (in a low voice, extra-distorted): people! people! people! (normal:) now you try it... no, no, no, youve got to slur it a little more, like an angry mob." incidentally, those of you who've said "people won" -- how do you determine who won? i didn't hear the johns say anything about it... 11. spy --> mr. tambourine man i had no idea how that group improvisation bit worked before last night, and now i have to say that it's a brilliant idea. during mr. tambourine man, flans was still turning the band "on" and "off" at his whim. 12. lie still, little bottle. with the stick! i *love* the stick!!!  : also, linnell was playing baritone sax. 13. to all the girls i've loved before after LSLB, flans picks up the stick (i swear, i thought he was going to throw it, caber-style, at linnell) and begins singing a duet with the stick!! then linnell joined in, singing through a vocorder. chords. it was truly beautiful. afterward, flans said: "we're doing a kind of cultural survey with this song. it does really well in the south and the midwest, not so well on the coasts. id say salt lake is about 50/50." at this point, the 50% i was in tried to convince the johns that the other 50% was full of shit and that tmbg could do no wrong in our eyes, but flans continued (to linnell): "i don't think they really liked that song. (to the audience): so here's another song. words fail! buildings tumble!" (i put that in the quote because that's about how quick the delivery was.) 14. she's actual size they kept the last part of that song very low, quiet, and jazzy. it was very sweet. 15. spiralling shape this came off extremely well. i kept wanting them to swing the eighth notes in the verses a little harder (you know, "this could lead to excellence, or serious injury), but that's just my own personal prejudices...  ;) 16. i palindrome i linnell: "this is the one song that we sing that has a very mild swear word in it. i think if you're under 13, you may have to actually leave the concert." flans: "we're going to jail." (he then said something with "fuck" in it, that i didn't quite catch. the audience loved it.) 17. working undercover for the man flans: "this is a brand new song that you can't buy in any store. you can't hear it on the radio. in fact, you can't hear it anywhere else besides this rock concert context. it's about a band that we heard about who were trying to infiltrate the youth culture. it's like the mod squad, except it's rock and roll." solid. 18. whistling in the dark flans played the big bass drum on this. they barely started playing the song, when linnell noticed that the audience was singing it at the top of their collective lungs and stopped the band: "whoa. i have only one word for you and it's not even a word. whoa." after the appropriate pause, they proceeded with the song. 19. WDTSS?(TSIAMOIG) they played it hard and fast, like on STD. flans messed up the lyrics in exactly the same way. linnell did the spoken parts, and truncated some of them: f: "the sun is hot!" l: "the sun is so hot that everything on it is a gas." f: "the sun is large!" l: "if the sun were hollow, a million earths could fit inside." f: "the sun is far away!" l: "it's about 93 million miles away, and that's why it looks so small." nuclear reactions? "HYDROGEN! CARBON! NITROGEN! AND *HELIUM*!!!" 20. birdhouse 21. the guitar there was a rockin' bass solo in this one. it led directly into: 22. everybody conga flans: "everybody conga! everybody conga! i'm not fuckin' kidding! i'm not fuckin' kidding! put your hands on the hips of a stranger! make some new friends! ditch your old friends! shy people conga! distant people conga! balcony people conga! security guys conga! lose your ride home!" which led directly into, (of course): 23. no one knows my plan linnell: "why the dancing, shouting, why the shrieks of pain, the lovely music, why the smell of dan miller on the bass, ladies and gentlemen!!" there was sporadic conga-ing that continued through the song. 24. dr. worm there was a considerable spoken intro to this one, most of which i've forgotten except for the fact that linnell said "we thought we were going to be torn apart when we came on stage tonight". the crowd was, erm... extremely enthusiastic. this was the end of their first set. and if i had thought the music was loud, it was still nothing compared to the decibel levels of several hundred crazed fanatics screaming for an encore. it was truly deafening. they came back on stage before too long, and started tuning. they then started the intro to 'she's an angel', but much of the crowd was too busy changing either 'istanbul' or 'particle man' to notice until linnell started singing. 25. she's an angel 26. exquisite dead guy nothing that i've heard on this list could have prepared me for the eerieness of those puppet heads. that's all i have to say on this one. except that linnell kept testing the spotlight guy with his puppet head. at this point i finally met my first utah listie! (hi, katy! (sp?)) we both had our trusty handwritten setlists out and ready... according to hers (which she got from looking over the sound guy's shoulder,) they were also supposed to play ana ng, but somehow they ended up not. 27. istanbul (not constantinople) flans: "this song is dedicated to dan hickey, who doesn't know what song we're about to play except that it features mr. dan miller on guitar. they then went backstage again, and we had to yell for them to come back so they could play: 28. shoehorn with teeth flans: "born in an alley, raised in a graveyard, he's a bloodthirsty cyborg with a taste for human flesh. he's dan hickey on the drums, ladies and gentlemen, and he wants to hear you scream!!!" of course, he wasn't playing the drums on this one, he was playing the glockenspiel. it was absolutely hilarious watching him wait for the note to come around. 29. part of particle man --> kumbaya --> the rest of particle man kumbaya? by this point i was too disoriented and delirious with glee (yes, actual glee!) to even be surprised...  :) unfortunately, there were no autographs to be had afterward. the johns were too busy eating domino's pizza inside... i tried waiting them out, but my cab came *way* too quickly. what are the chances of that, i suppose?

--jim kuemmerle, who probably got carpal tunnel writing this damn post...