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- Strobe Intro (with Flans Live On The PA)
- Santa Claus
- Four Of Two
- Your Racist Friend
- Au Contraire
- John Lee Supertaster
- Ana Ng
- Clap Your Hands
- In The Middle (with Robin Goldwasser)
- She's Actual Size
- Space Krickets
- Man, It's So Loud In Here
- The Guitar
- Dig My Grave
- Another First Kiss
- Wicked Little Critta
- Birdhouse In Your Soul
- Cyclops Rock
- Why Does The Sun Shine?
- Robot Parade
- Bed Bed Bed
- New York City
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Review by Richard E Green:
Ok, last night I attended my 19th TMBG concert, at Irving Plaza in NYC. I attended it with my friend Rachael, who got me a ticket for the show the day before. I rode with my brother into NYC in the early afternoon...he had figured out a way to get into Manhattan without paying a toll - there's some old bridge in the northwest corner (in the middle of a park) of the island .... I've never seen that part of the city before...it was interesting. His apartment is only 5 blocks from Irving Pl so I had a short walk to get over there. I got there around 5PM and Lawrence, TDK and a couple of people I didn't know were already in line. Unfortuantely they were also holding spots for about 20 other people...one of which didn't even show up for another 2 and a half hours! Argh...well, it was a long cold wait out there, but we managed to stay entertained. Every giant and his wife was in and out of the front door that evening, and around 7PM they did a barely-audiable soundcheck of Another First Kiss, which got booed by most of the line.
Right around 8PM the doors FINALLY opened....ok, security at Irving Plaza was a JOKE. True, they had metal detectors....and the camera in my pocket set one off, but instead of seeing what I had in my pocket, they just said "ok go in" and that was that. I was somehow able to sneak by that mandated coat check that has been talked about, and ran up stairs and grabbed my usual spot in the front row. Instead of barriers they had a row of equipment boxes blocking the front row from the stage -- which was TINY (debatebly the smallest stage I've ever seen them play on). There was still another hour wait until the opening act went on....they tried to entertain us with swing music and video being played on the giant screen (which I was way too close to to see what was actually on it), but it just got mocked. In a little while, some crew guy came pushing through in order to set up the slideshow for the opening act. He needed to clear out space, which pushed me back to the second row, still in front of the keyboard.
Roughly at 9PM the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow players went on. I wasn't sure what to make of this group going into the show. The concept of them sounded pretty boring, and Rachael (who was at the first Irving show) told me that they were stupid, but I ended up REALLY liking them.
They opened with a song called Scratch My Back, which was done solo by Jason (who really reminded me of Austin Powers) without any slides. The first song that the entire family performed was Mountain Trip to Japan, which is STILL running through my head. The next song was Look at Me, which got quite the reaction from the audience. After that was Don't You Know What I Mean? which was pretty cool (and had fun background vocals from Tina). After that they did an incomplete song which they said had never been performed before, and it was pretty short and incomplete and unmemorable. And then was Middle America, which was my favourite song of the night. They finished up with Eggs, which was funny in a sick way, and Opnad Contribution Study Report June 1977 (A Rock opera in 6 parts) which really dragged. Oh well, I really enjoyed them. (this order may not be exact...it's from memory). I THINK they said that Don't You Know What I Mean will be performed on Conan next friday.
There was another 45 minute break before TMBG went on. My back was starting to kill me so I cleared up some room and sat down on the floor for the duration. I noticed that Linnell's keyboard now had a Kaoss pad attached to it...I saw it in a box at the boston instore and wondered what he doing with it...I concluded early that it was gonna be used for wicked little critta.
There was a brand new intro for the show. The setlist had it marked as LIGHTNING/STROBE ... it began with white lights flying around the room, and then a recording of Flansburgh trying to sound like Campbell Lane. It began "in a world with flash photography (the lights imitate camera flashes) ... and strobe lights (guess what the lights do)" ... and then went on for about 45 seconds trying to sound like a movie trailer until "nothing can prepare you for the experience that is THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS"
Everybody except for Linnell came out and began performing Santa Claus ... Linnell didn't make it out until about 30 seconds into the song, and played tenor sax on it. This was my first time seeing it...I probably would have enjoyed the song more if I actually knew the lyrics. Everytime the song got to the NOTHING part, Flans would fall to the ground and start punching the ground. NOTE - Dan Miller was wearing a hat, and Linnell was wearing black slippers.
They said hi and said they were going to do a song about New York City. "No, our OTHER song about New York City. The clock one!" ... I think this was the first time that John actually sang "futuristic world" ... they went from that right into Racist Friend, which I hadn't seen in over a year, but still got the crowd going.
Flanburgh began a theme that would be going all night...responding to everything with a high pitched AAH! He mentioned right away that they forgot to thank the spotlight guys last night, and tried to get them to point the spotlights at each other. "It's always fun to have to chase your spotlight around" They played a pretty uneventful Dead, and then told a story about how all the people in the next song were their friends, and that everyone mentioned in the song gave them permission to be mentioned in it. This is when Linnell cut in and said "you know, it's really fun to LIE all the time!" and then he finished by saying that they had to dig up and reanimate some of their friends who had died before he was born to get their permission. Anyway, the song was Au Contraire...and it was the first time I'd seen it with the entire band. I LOVE this song!!! ... it segued into John Lee Supertaster, which is starting to get worn.
I heard that there was a huge cryout for Ana Ng last night, and Flans began by saying "I lied about the exact same show thing I said last night, so I'd like to apologize to everyone who was here last night who came back tonight expecting the exact same show. Anyway, this next song is about three inches long --- EYES UP HERE -- three MINUTES long" ... the first half of verse one of Ana was sung a capella by John, and they just let the audience sing the I DOn'T WANT THE WORLD part.
They began Fingertips with the typical "yummy delicious disgusting human fingertips mmmm" ... Flansburgh started shaking front rower's hands during the middle of the song.
JF - "We would like you to experience the psychdelic rock experience that is a children's record" JL - "we decided to call it NO! YES, we called it NO! *YES*, it's called *NO*!" ... they did the No/Clap medley that just don't sound right.
The Dr Evil vamp was played as Flansburgh did a really long plug for People Are Wrong and eventually introduced Robin, who came out wearing a reallyreally tight black dress, and performed In The Middle and then left.
Next was the intro to Actual...which is REALLY starting to get old and got a huge groan from the audience. The drum solo was pretty much the usual, except when Flans said "for the drummer from Rush, press 4", Hickey said NO! and Flans said "well fine then! for Gene Krupa press 5" and they went up to 11 and instead of the usual "ears are just decoration" line, Flans talked about how this was the human clone of Dan Hickey (NOTE - his bass drum now had a logo which said "BOMB IRAQ? NO!" on it)
Actual led into the Space Krickets intro of So Loud, and the drum track started way too early (Linnell still had his sax and the dans were still on stage) so everybody had to rush really fast to get into position.
So Loud went straight into the Guitar.....Flans got down on one of the boxes and handed the pick to someone in the front row, who actually played the correct rhythm for the song. The Guitar segued straight into a moshing Dig My Grave.
Before the next song, Flans mentioned that somebody came up to him the night before and told him that they played it at their wedding, and requested it. The song was Another First Kiss, and this was the first time I saw them play it without fucking it up. In the weirdest segue of the night, they went right into Spider, another song I haven't seen in over a year. Flans didn't do the mic-stand-in-the-air this time, but he did pound it on the ground throughout most of the song. Spider segued straight into the drum machine line of Wicked Little Critta -- WOO first time for me! This has got to be the weirdest concert experience EVER. Miller played acoustic guitar on it, and Linnell played the Kaoss pad and sang the entire song (told ya he sang it!) and he had hand motions and faces for every line of the song (shooting a puck, scoarching the place, popping a wheelie etc). It was just so totally weird...I LOVED it!
JL - "this was another song that was played at a wedding." Ok, really long story time. They recently played a show in Minesota at the same theater where Garrison Keillor does his show. (the rest of the story is in his voice) .... they were in his dressing room, and Flans noticed a fridge there, and he tried to open it and it was locked. So he broke into the fridge and inside were 34 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So the next day, we're in our next town and we get a call from the theater and they said "there were 34 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups before you arrived, and 33 after you left. RETURN THE MISSING PEANUT BUTTER CUP NOW. And anyway, here's a song we wrote about that experience") ... I was expecting Til, but I got Birdhouse....
...followed by Cyclops Rock....
...followed by Why Does the Sun Shine, for which Linnell used that weird out of tune organ, which is activated by a button on the keyboard underneath the kaoss pad, and he knocked it off trying to push it. The heat and light of the sun are caused by: Riker's Island, Rosevelt Island, The Triboro Bridge, and Block Island (as soon as he said Block Island (which is in Rhode Island for those of you unfamiliar with new england culture) a HUGE look of amazement fell over Flan's face and stayed there for about 10 seconds.)
The next song was the children's version of Robot Parade, however it was performed by all 5 of them...which added a new spice to it. In place of the "john I think we're losing the crowd", Flans sang "Which one of you ate my peanut butter cup? Was it you, Dan Miller? You are a greedy hungry thief (and he went on with that until the entire audience and the rest of the band was dying of laughter)
They somehow segued Robot into Bed Bed Bed, which was the second strangest moment of the night. Linnell walked away from his keyboards as soon as the song started, and started dancing around the entire stage, bobbing his head forward and backward to every beat of the song. The song had an extra minute or so added to it from all the walking around stage that john did, before he finally started singing. The confetti cannon went off at the appropiate moment.
There were some stage annoucements...mainly announcing the next two upcoming NYC shows - Feb 14 at Joe's Pub, and a really short, swear free show at Town Hall on March 1, open to kids and people who know kids. They finished up with the usual speal for the song NYC. During the "you wrote me a letter verse" John played the musical line from Wicked Little Critta on the keyboard, which got Flans laughing so hard that he could barely keep up with the lyrics.
And then, darkness
And then, the DOOM intro to spin the dial. The first song they hit was some Eminem song, which Flans did a pretty decent impression of. They had a hard time finding any other interesting songs, and they finially ended up on a classical solo piano song. Flans played half of the older intro, and then turned the radio back on to listen to the piano music again. And of course, at the dramatic pause, Linnell attempted to play the classical song and made up some fake love lyrics. The last song of the first encore was "a song about the 11th president. No, not THAT one!" ... Linnell sang the LA LA LA LA part over the guitar solo, which I've never seen him do before. And there was no more confetti.
And then, darkness
and then, Linnell put the accordion on again and began doing an impression of a radio weather guy with a really bad reception and then they performed Angel. And then Flans said something to Miller (who was now at the keyboard) about doing a charlie brown thing, and Miller shook his head no, and we all started chanting DO IT!!! And they annoucned that Miller was going to do a brand new song called Dr Charlie Brown Christmas. He played it solo on the piano...it began sounding like the charlie brown song, but then it gradually turned into Dr Worm, which they performed as the last song of the evening.
And then the lights went up, and Flans went running and jumped onto one of the boxes and yelled "STEP RIGHT UP AND GET YOUR SHIT SIGNED!!!" ... I didn't have anything for Flans to sign but I got a photo with him, and then I got out of there.
Ok, this was a REALLY fun show. Not the best show I've been to, but definately a memorable one. I was REALLY bummed out that I didn't get to see Statue or Sleepwalkers, but Wicked Little Critta and Charlie Brown made the trip to the show well worthwhile. Oh yeah, and I never dreamed I'd see a 2+ hour show where neither Istanbul, Particle Man OR Boss of Me was performed!!! I took about 100 photos during the show....most of them came out well, but they need some contrast, red eye and cropping work, so I'll get them online soon.
Review by John Ryan:
Flansburgh had to suffer through a bruised rib from coughing so much, as he was battling the flu!
She's Actual Size - Flansburgh made light on the clone topic by calling Dan Hickey his replicate. Another First Kiss - Dedicated to a couple who came to the show all the way from Scotland. It was their wedding song. First time I've heard this live. Robot Parade - Really funny stories by Linnell and Flansburgh concerning Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in a refrigerator in Minneapolis. Spin The Dial - Couldn't remember to much in the way of covering songs. The segment didn't really work this time. Older - Segued into a classical piano interlude, then right back again. The bass drum sounded especially foreboding. Dr. Worm Charlie Brown Christmas - Dan Miller on piano alone, urged on by the crowd. It was the melody of Dr. Worm with the Charlie Brown bass line. Worth the price of admission alone!