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Fan Recaps and Comments:

The Vanishing Dot:


This was my 15th TMBG show since 1994 and it honestly might be the best one I have ever seen. (The 2010 Flood show at the Largo and the 1998 Hollywood House of Blues show with horns would probably round out my top three.) With the inclusion of so many deep cuts and rarities, it almost felt like a show more for hardcore fans. They also seemed to be very loose and experimental, and it does feel like Join Us has kind of opened up a new chapter for them. All of this coupled with the way they treated the audience both during and after the show made it feel more intimate than usual.

Lincoln is not only my favorite TMBG album but also a top five "desert island disc," so the inclusion of several Lincoln tracks was a real treat. (Although Linnell kept forgetting the words to "They'll Need a Crane.") I was really, really hoping for "Ana Ng," my all-time favorite and one I haven't seen them perform in ages, but sadly it didn't happen.

All the tracks from Join Us were great, naturally, and we got a few from The Else, which is one of my very favorite TMBG albums. I also loved the return of "The Famous Polka," a song I had not seen them perform in quite some time. Even "Particle Man" seemed kind of fresh to me. I had grown sick of this song long ago, but the song has been rearranged yet again, offering a sort of mix between the original studio version and the "hand jive" version they usually perform live.

One real highlight was John and John performing "How Can I Sing Like a Girl?" alone, with Linnell on accordion, which was just stunning. They even invited the audience to take out their cell phones and record video of the performance. "Piece of Dirt" was perfect. My favorite, though, was probably the stretch from "Fingertips" into "Careful What You Pack." You could hear a pin drop during the latter.

There were bizarre visuals being projected on a back screen for most of the show, and I thought it really added a nice touch. One showed a close up of a man in a suit's lap. Another showed just an eyeball. The visuals for "When Will You Die?" included a number of plastic looking weapons.

We had a nice surprise cameo from Robin Goldwasser, although it seemed like a lot of people didn't know who she was. (I was kind of hoping she would do "Dr Evil", but oh well.) The Avatars were funny, especially when performing a bit of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid." And, as always, the usual banter between the Johns for the entire show was highly amusing.

Flans did a bit where he shined a flashlight into the audience and came up with random nicknames for people. At one point, he highlighted the VIP people in the balcony and then referred to "the other 99% down here on the floor," which I thought was the funniest comment of the night.

After the show, John Flansburgh and Marty Beller both took quite a bit of time passing out Join Us stickers to the crowd. Marty even gave away his drumsticks as well as a drumhead, which he signed for a girl in the audience. I thought that was a really nice capper to an incredible show.

--The Vanishing Dot 05:06, 17 November 2011 (EST)