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- Gigantor Intro
- Finished With Lies
- Why Does The Sun Shine?
- She's An Angel
- Working Undercover For The Man
- Don't Let's Start
- Meet James Ensor
- Your Racist Friend
- Shoehorn With Teeth
- Shoehorn With Teeth (CD Skip Version)
- They Got Lost
- Particle Man
- James K. Polk
- Birdhouse In Your Soul
- She's Actual Size
- Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
- I Palindrome I
- The Guitar
- Doctor Worm
- Exquisite Dead Guy (with puppets)
- New York City
- Till My Head Falls Off
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Review by mmcneil:
Ten years is a long time to wait to see your favourite band live. At the age of 14, I was deemed to young to experience They Might Be Giants in person, due to the UK's peculiar licencing laws. But when I saw the tiny advert for TMBG's first British gigs in 5 years, while idly flicking through the NME one day, I knew my destiny had finally arrived.
One month, 500 miles and about '200 later, I was standing in North London, barely able to believe I was mere hours from worshipping at the alter of Giants.
This being the second of two dates in the capital, I had foolishly only purchased a ticket for Monday's concert - an unfortunately scheduled university exam would force me to re-think my plans. By this time, though, the second leg was already sold out. Fortunately, the black market came to my rescue. Some frenzied bartering may have left me '40 poorer but at least entry was now assured. I bequeathed my expired Monday ticket to a fellow hopeful I had been talking to in the queue, who then proceeded to stroll straight past the myopic doorman and into the venue. At that moment I was too relieved to be regretful.
Once inside I took my place near the front of the miniscule stage (it was more like a step) and watched my fevered compatriots filter in. Never have I seen such a diverse group of people under one roof. The 500 strong crowd comprised young, old, male, female, couples, slackers, nerds, punks, skaters, students, English, Scottish, German, even American - all united in their love of a band who get virtually no coverage on these shores. Quite heart-warming really.
Support came from David Poe, who combined some subtle acoustic guitar folk-rock with some very wry lyrics - "If I saw them beating you in the street, I'd stop them, and finish the job with my words".
With the preliminaries finally over, you could almost taste the anticipation in the air. Then without warning, the lights dimmed and "GIGANTOR!" blared over the PA - at last - They're here...
The Johns followed the band of Dan's onto the stage, and after thanking us for coming (like it was some sort of ordeal!), began the near 2-hour set with the unfamiliar yet entrancing Finished with Lies. Linnell explained this was one of the few times they had played this song live, but it was played with the competance of an old favourite. It was not until seeing TMBG in person that I fully appreciated their level of musicianship - frighteningly good and uterly spellbinding.
The seemingly randomly compiled set-list coninued with a hypnotic rendition of Subliminal, followed up with a blast of WDTSS? (complete with crypitc hand gestures from Mr Linnell) Things slowed down again as Flans gave a humorous, semi-biograhical introduction to Working Undercover for the man, which was played far more wistfully than the recently released version.
The sublime She's An Angel had the crowd swaying like a fleet of drunken sailors in a gale - this was one of the show's many peaks with some truly beautiful slide-guitar work from Flans. It's incredible how so many of these deceptivly simple songs take on a whole new life when played live. How do you follow such an emotional moment? By playing the best song ever written - Don't let's Start. Hearing this live was one of the greatest moments of my life. They could have left right then and I would have gone home a happy man, but there was another 20 songs to come!
Linnell, who had looked rather hagared and worn-out unitl now, seemed to perk up with the fiendish Older and a bombastic stomp through Racist Friend. It was this song which brought the first of the night's crowd-surfers (rather foolish considering the size of the venue and who was playing). The girl actually ended up on the stage where she stood looking sheepish until the song finished and Flans simply stated "Ladies of London - we salute you... Now get the fuck off the stage!"
In a truly stange moment, after Shoehorn With Teeth, Linnell said something about fast forwarding CDs and then proceeded to play Shoehorn as if it was indeed subject to the depressing of a "search" button - how they did this I have no idea, but it sounded incredible. Birdhouse In Your Soul (something of a cult song in Britain) attracted another stage-invader who dropped to his knees in front of Flansbugh and began "praying". This time they didn't wait till the song was over as, in a moment of complete coolness, Flans escorted the hapless guy off stage - without missing a note. As Linnell comented afterwards "That's the first time I've seen John take someone off stage... while still playing the solo!" This got a round of applause. Other than this the crowd was very well-behaved. Both the John's made several amusing remarks throughout the show, with Flansburgh handling most of the banter. He also supplied most of the lead vocals too, so maybe Linnell was feeling a little under the weather - he still played superbly though.
The near-perfect set list continued with some personal favourites (I Palindrome I brought a grin to my face)and rocking versions of The Guitar (Flans extended his to the the crowd for an "audience solo" which cost him about 3 strings) and Doctor Worm, which Linnell put superhuman effort into and even broke into "the Boys are Back in Town" during the chorus. The main set ended on a dizzying high with New York City and the awesome Till My Head Falls Off (and both the Johns looked close to decapitation at this point in the very energetic show). An odd choice of encore saw Flans produce what can only be described as a Kayber for Lie Still Little Bottle, before Spy closed the show with the traditional free-jazz session. A typically peverse way to end a night of unparralled enjoyment.
Only live can you fully appreciate the magic of They Might Be Giants. This was the first time many of the crowd had seen their heroes, and both Johns did everything to ensure we felt welcome and part of the show. It makes such a change not to be treated with thinly disguised contempt from some egotistical, careerist droners. TMBG are so far ahead in terms of understated showmanship and personality it's almost a pity knowing that special night in London will never be bettered. Simply phenomonal.
Review by astralbee:
This was a great show, the second of two London dates on this visit. A few songs into the show, Linnell announced that "The band sound great tonight! This is way better than last week's show". I had to agree, this was the better of the two.