Shows/2008-02-02

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Links:


Setlist:
Set 1:

Set 2 (with Tricerachops Horns):

Encore 1:

Encore 2:

On the setlist, but not played:


Fan Recaps and Comments:

This show featured the debut live performance of "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal".

Rosefox:

I'm very pleased for TMBG that they sold out the Beacon Theater. That's pretty damn impressive.
However.
a) The Beacon Theater has seats. It's all very well for Flansburgh to scream "Stand up and do not sit down!" but let's face it, most of us spent at least half the show sitting, especially those of us who were up in the nosebleed seats and slightly nervous that if we got too excited we'd domino a couple dozen people over the balcony rail. This diminishes the crowd energy considerably.
b) The Beacon Theater, while undoubtedly grand in its heyday, is in lousy condition. Parts of the walls are stained and/or crumbling. The bathrooms are appalling. We exited through a corridor lit only by bare light bulbs. I don't want to think about why the floor was so sticky. This makes rather difficult to truly enjoy a concert there.
I don't mind that we were up in the nosebleed seats, because it meant we only had to deal with the occasional whiff of pot smoke. (It was apparently much thicker down in the orchestra section.) I just don't think that a venue that size is right for a rock band like TMBG that plays songs with more than three chords or has more than one person singing at once. You want to be able to see the performers' faces. You want to be able to see whether Dan Miller is wearing white shoes with his suit or just going around in sock feet. You want to be able to hear all the layers of the music, and it's pretty much impossible to mix them so that they can be properly experienced on all three floors of the venue. And you, or at least I, want to feel everyone else jumping up and down to Birdhouse In Your Soul, because after you've heard a song fifty million times the only thing that makes it worth hearing again is experiencing the joy and excitement of everyone around you.
I am also miffed that twice--twice!--they started what sounded like the lead-in to S-E-X-X-Y and then didn't play it; and the weirdly low-energy duet version of New York City was a bit of a down note to end on. But they played all the best stuff off of The Else (Withered Hope and I'm Impressed were worth the price of admission all by themselves), and it was great to hear Ana Ng and Cowtown and Purple Toupee (I'd never heard any of those live), and Hey Mr. DJ, which they have never before played in concert, was awesome, with the horns and guitars really tight. They even messed around with Particle Man enough that I enjoyed it. And nothing beats John Flansburgh solemnly leaning into the microphone and explaining that the sun is powered by a nuclear reaction resulting from the collision of a failed foreign policy, a failed domestic policy, and a failed presidency.
All in all, reasonably successful, but I'll be much happier if they go back to playing at venues like the Bowery Ballroom.


Oddjob:

Great show all around. First, I'd like to comment on the above review, regarding the venue- you couldn't see the band well enough? This wasn't Giants' Stadium, it was the Beacon Theater. It's not THAT big. I was in the upper balcony and I could see fine; maybe you need corrective eyewear or something and not blame the venue. As for the sound, I was seated almost center stage in the top balcony and thought the mix was great. I was also pretty happy to have a seat (despite Flansy's urgings to stand). After 15 or 16 TMBG concerts, it was a nice change of place to have a spot to rest my keister. Especially since the show lasted almost 3 hours!!!
The setlist was similar to the show I saw in Philly back in November, which was also a double set, but with enough changes to keep it interesting. Hey Mr. DJ sounded incredible with the horns; I hope they release a full-band version like this because I GOTTA hear it again!!! It actually sounded FAR better live than one might expect of such a quirky song.
Flansy did tease us a little about Boat Of Car, I think any real TMBG fan would love to hear this song live at least once. Climbing The Walls was great, and the first time I heard it live. Also, they played Puppet Head slightly differently than they had in the past: Linnell on accordion instead of keys, and Miller on some kind of sampler for the keyboard effects.
Cowtown was another welcome addition; I don't believe I've seen them play this one since 2000. With Stan Harrison on clarinet, it sounded more like the Lincoln version than I remembered. Flansburgh introduced it as the first song the Johns developed together, and it sounded great. One of the greatest TMBG songs to hear live.
I also thought the duo rendition of New York City was a great closer. It made it sound so much more intimate, like a nice little love letter to the city that they made their name in.

74.66.94.146:

I just want to note that what the person above said about the "low energy" New York City that was a "down note to end on" is completely crazy. It was a nervous, beautiful, touching duo performance that They admitted was "unrehearsed" and meant solely as a little tribute for everybody in the audience. It wasn't low energy, it was personal. I nearly cried. There could not have been a sweeter way to end the show. Ok, goodnight.

edfreeze:

My 2 cents - Rosefox's main issues with the show was the venue - if you only like seeing the band at venues where you can see the color of Dan's shoelaces, don't go see shows at 2800 seat theaters and complain. I'm an old fart who's been seeing the band since the late 80s, I'm happy to sit.
On the merit of the music, I thought the band sounded great. They were clearly psyched to have sold out the Beacon and be playing in front of a "home town" audience. I was very happy they bypassed an opening act and did two nice fat sets, the second featuring some horns and lesser played songs. There did seem to be a little confusion onstage for set two - band members seemed to be looking around slightly confused from time to time, and JF might have had some guitar trouble (he tuned up alot).
I agree "Withered Hope" was a highlight, as was "Purple Toupee". I'm a big big fan of the new album, I think it's their best since "Apollo 18", so I was very happy to see so much from "The Else". ("The Cap'm" is one of my all-time favs.)
Plus, my daughter was with me (almost 14!) so this made it a very special night for me personally.

TeddyLeevin:

"And time..."
*epic pause*
*epic pause*
*epic pause*
CONFETTI CANNON
*epic pause*
*epic pause*
"Is still marching on!!"
...I lol'd.

kposse77:

Not having been to a TMBG show in years, the Hang on Tight open definitely sent shivers down my spine. Great show, maybe the best I've been to.

Museumofidiots:

To continue in the vein of some earlier comments, I tend to prefer rock clubs to theaters myself, but I don't think the Beacon was some sort of hellhole. My experience would've been enhanced by a more intimate setting, but I don't begrudge the band their desire to sell out one of NYC's premier venues. I also have to agree that Flans's "DO NOT SIT" schtick rang a little false when the place is designed to encourage sitting and inhibit standing. I'm glad that he didn't continue to tell people to stand throughout the set, or they might've lost the crowd a little bit.
Speaking of that, I am not a huge fan of The Else, so the first set was kind of sleepy for me. I should say, though, that hearing some of the new songs live (particularly "I'm Impressed") gave me a greater degree of appreciation for the album. Still, I was really looking for the show to pick up with the second set, and it did. I don't know if Spy->Birdhouse->Guitar has been a fixture of shows in recent years (I haven't seen them since 2004), but it was the high point for me, and after that the show kept up its energy. I was also really pleased to hear "Turn Around;" I had actually been thinking during the early parts that I'd have loved for some of the newer songs like "Damn Good Times" to have been "Turn Around" or "The Statue Got Me High," and my wish was granted.

DNWHID:

Let's not forget that epic intro to Istanbul.