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- Sneaking Intro
- Pencil Rain
- Can't Keep Johnny Down
- The Mesopotamians
- Why Does The Sun Really Shine?
- Old Pine Box
- Withered Hope
- Purple Toupee
- Mr. Me
- Santa's Beard
- They'll Need A Crane
- Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
- Lie Still, Little Bottle
- Snowball In Hell (spoken section performed by The Avatars of They)
- Cage & Aquarium (John & John)
- Kiss Me, Son Of God (John & John)
- Piece Of Dirt
- Stand On Your Own Head
- Crazy Train
- Paranoid performed by the Avatars of They
- Shoehorn With Teeth performed by the Avatars of They
- You Probably Get That A Lot
- Careful What You Pack
- Where Your Eyes Don't Go
- Ana Ng
Fan Recaps and Comments:
- An excellent and VERY long show. They played for about two hours, did almost all of Lincoln, though without naming them, they declared The World's Address, I've Got A Match, and You'll Miss Me "dead to us," so it remains to be seen whether they'll actually ever make an appearance in a future Lincoln set when they've had more time to rehearse.
- The Avatars were hilarious during Snowball in Hell, really drawing out the bridge, and they also, when introduced later, described their experience being in a suitcase with everything on fire around them.
- Cage & Aquarium had a super extended ending, with the regular ending repeated about six times, and Flansburgh commenting that most of the songs on Lincoln are super short, so they had to do something different.
- Oddly, there were very few intros to the Lincoln songs. Not a whole lot of talk about digging up chestnuts from the vault or anything like that, mostly just launching into the songs with an occasional title given.
- Although the band played with verve, I have to say this was a very disappointing show (we left before the encores). The sound was very uneven, with the drum kit (especially the bass drum) way too prominent in the mix. I literally could not hear the bass guitar - and could barely distinguish the rhythm guitar - whenever Marty was heavily using the bass drum. I have no idea what the mix sounded like to the band, but to the audience, it was poor. The vocals were shrieking, with little to no midrange (though ear plugs helped there). I complained to the guy at the sound board and he just blew me off. Last time I'm going to the 930 Club. Almost as bad as the GS Vigs (or was it Bunkys at the time) show in Madison where the sound guy was totally stoned and blasted the pre-recorded backing tracks until our ears bled (this would have been '87 probably).
- This was, without a doubt, the funniest TMBG show I've ever been to!
- JoCo was wonderful as always. I got really excited when he played "Good Morning Tucson" and he commented on my enjoyment of the morning news. Someone also made him a pillow in the shape of GLaDOS's head, which was really cool!
- TMBG was hilarious, a previously stated. The Avatars performed the bridge for "Snowball in Hell", but forgot a few of their lines. It was okay though, because the audience enjoyed it immensely. The Avatars also explained how they were silently screaming through the recent fire, complete with a visual demonstration, which had me gasping for air at the end of it!
- Getting to hear songs from Lincoln was truly the highlight of the night. I was so glad to hear "Pencil Rain" live and I was so happy they opened with it. "Cowtown" was obviously the audience favorite, with requests for it were shouted out every time a song ended.
- Wonderful show, I had an awesome time!
- I gotta say, I found this set list a little bizarre. I prefer early TMBG to later, so I was psyched to find out it was a Lincoln show (though I have no idea what The World's Address did to piss them off). But aside from the Lincoln songs, there was not a single other song from anything pre-1995 (at the least) until Birdhouse was played in the second encore. All the stuff from Join Us I understand, but the heavy rotation of stuff from The Else surprised me.
So we started with Jonathan Coulton, whom I'd never had the pleasure of seeing live before. Embarrassingly, I was not terribly familiar with his work at the time, and only really knew Re: Your Brains. (This is an oversight that has since been corrected.) But I had fun being a zombie, and I was a little bit in love with the crazy instrument he donned for Mr. Fancypants.
- JC: So this is my...this is my tax writeoff. How many times can you write something off? Like, a hundred times, right?
- Is anyone here an accountant?
- *points to someone in front row* Oh, you are? *mock-whispering* Talk to me after the show. I'm in a lot of trouble. I...I might have to go to jail for a little while.
Someone else in the front row also handed him a gift of a pillow in the shape of GLaDOS's head.
- JC: Aw, is that for me? I'll put it next to my bed so I can stare at it as I fall asleep.
Onto the main event:
They opened with a shatteringly rocking Pencil Rain, as if to say, "Fuck yes this is a Lincoln show." Afterwards there was a bit of the usual 9:30 Club post-Thanksgiving show banter.
- JF: How was your Thanksgiving? Didn't think so! Oh, oh that's right. We don't care what you have to say. That's why I said "didn't think so" so quickly. Because we don't care.
They announced they'd be playing 15 of the 18 songs on Lincoln.
- JL: Those other three songs, and you'll find out which ones at the end...those three songs are dead to us.
(For those keeping score, the three songs were You'll Miss Me, The World's Address, and I've Got a Match.)
They also brought up the electrical fire last week that wiped out some of their equipment. (Yes, this happened. No one harmed, but apparently they've been getting by on rental equipment for the past week, the Meg Ryan cutout is no more, and the Avatars of They had a very near miss.)
- JL: So our advice to young bands: Don't light your equipment on fire.
While introducing Why Does the Sun Really Shine, they (I believe while describing the show so far) started tossing around the phrase "shit sauce."
- JL: I may know where to get some of that.
- JF: Deep inside our raps? The raps that we rehearsed?
- JL: *nodding* In the raps that we rehearsed.
- JF: It's a pleasure to be back at the 9:30 Club, perhaps the finest rock club in the United States.
- Crowd: *cheers*
- JF: Though the science is not in on that. It is probably the only rock club designed by a licensed architect, which is really an incredible relief.
- JL: We feel bad bringing our shit sauce to a venue such as this. Well. Not too bad.
- JF: So this next song is off our science album, Here Comes Science. It's a kid's album; it was nominated for a Grammy. Lost to some communist--
- Crowd: *boos. At length.*
- [I gather that "some communist" was Pete Seeger.]
- JF: I don't know. Some guy with a Lifetime Achievement award from the Grammys, which he won 20 years ago. I'm talking sour grapes here, people.
- JL: Isn't that a hint, when they give you the Lifetime Achievement award, that you don't need any more Grammys?
- JF: Aw, no. He deserved it.
- Members of crowd, audibly: No.
- JF: We were kinda phoning it in.
- Crowd: *laughs*
- JF: But as we say, it's nice just to win. That's what they say at the Grammys.
- JL: I like the subtext of this conversation, that it was really only between us and him, like, other people weren't...
- JF: Aw, I don't know. But you're a showbusiness professional, John. Who else was up there?
- JL: Doesn't matter.
- JL: But in all seriousness, Pete Seeger walked, like, 50 blocks down Broadway with canes? *to Flans* Did you check that out? He did a concert at Symphony Space-- Miller knows this-- and then walked with two canes, like, 3 miles through the city, for Occupy Wall Street, on behalf of...
- JF: He's like a supercool guy. Mr. Pete Seeger, everybody.
- JL: Just for the people who are rushing out to blog that we legitimately don't like Pete Seeger.
- JF: I was just using him to-- well, I have something to share with everyone: I'M a communist.
- Crowd: *cheers*
- JL: Okay, whoaaaa. Too much sharing. Back to the music.
- JF: I've got a two-part program. Tax the rich, and throw the crooks in jail.
- Crowd: *cheers*
- JF: Two simple rules. So simple you can count them on your middle fingers, ladies and gentlemen.
- JF, continuing: Shit sauce, that's what I'm talking about. Shit sauce. I'm so glad this show is over 21.
- Crowd: *laughs/cheers*
- JF: Whatever.
They also wished us a Merry Christmas before launching into Santa's Beard. There's one I hadn't thought I'd ever see live.
Mr. Me was a pleasure. It was actually the first song I ever saw them play (back in 2003, at an instore accompanied by a then-almost-unknown Marty Beller).
And They'll Need a Crane. I documented the wonderful bridge on my iPhone, in its entirety. Baby, wait. I didn't mean to say nightmare.
They did the usual Battle for the Planet of the Apes, though the audience seemed surprisingly slow on the uptake about how the whole thing worked.
- JF: *shining the light* Pick a side. You cannot stare directly into the beam. We got three minutes of intolerance here.
As the crowd began to divide:
- JF: Oh, look at that, look at that. People are taking sides here. This is Washington, DC.
- JF: *pointing the light up at the balcony* Left or right, you decide. Left or right. ...ohhhh, all right. I can wait as long as it takes. Come on, VIPs. You're not tipping, you didn't pay for this show, but come on, pick a side.
I was People this time. I noticed a lot of audience members on both sides seemed to not fully grasp the concept and tried to chant their parts continuously throughout, rather than only when they were directed to by either the Dans and Marty (People), or by the Johns (Apes). Though I think everyone got it eventually.
People won! Clearly, the side I am on is destined to win.
After that, Linnell broke out the bass clarinet (!) for both Cloisonné and Lie Still, Little Bottle. My heart, she almost could not take the sheer joy.
While introducing the clarinet, salvaged from the fire:
- JF: Now with mesquite flavoring.
- JL: I don't know if you can smell this, but it has kind of a smoky, barbeque pit...
- JF: It's fantastic.
I had my camera out every few songs, so let's just say I was really relieved during this next part that Flansburgh was not looking anywhere near my direction:
- JF: By the way, I want to remind you that if you plan on recording the entire show, we don't mind, but you know, you'll have a better experience if you look up from the viewfinder once in a while. And maybe your friend with the flash camera can take some higher-quality pictures for you, anyway...
Me: *flails and stops recording, even though he's clearly not looking at me*
- JF: *having caused some sort of reaction among audience members who also resembled this description* Oh! Ohhhhh! That's right.
At the end of Lie Still, Little Bottle, Linnell motioned as if to throw his bass clarinet into the audience, then grinned and pulled it back. Heehee. I love when Linnell is playful.
At some point Flans introduced Dan Miller as "the most heavily medicated man onstage."
- JF: Wait, he's right behind me, isn't he? And I said he was heavily medicated. I was, uh, I was talking about myself.
We got a super-special surprise during Snowball In Hell when the bridge was performed by none other than the Avatars of They! (Yes, John and John did actually take off their instruments, creep off to the side, don the sockpuppets, and crouch in front of the projector for just that one part. The Dans and Marty kindly sustained the repeated bridge riff for as long as necessary.)
The bridge went like this, all missteps, flubbed cues, and ludicrously long "ahhs" and "ohhs" reproduced:
- JL-avatar: How long you been here?
- JF-avatar: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I don't know, 31...32...33...34 minutes. But why don't you mind your own business? 34 minutes.
- JL-avatar: You must be racking up a gigantic pile of money. Making a good living.
- JF-avatar: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I don't know, Joe. My name is Joe. I don't know, Paul. Ahhhhhhhhh, I guess I'm doing all right. Why do you ask?
- JF-avatar: Ahhhhhhhhhhh, I know, I know, Paul! Back on that old time-is-money kick, right?
- JL-avatar: NO! NO! I AM NOT BACK ON IT! I AM NOT BACK ON IT! FUCK! I AM NOT BACK ON IT! I AM STILL ON IT!
And the Johns re-emerged to resume the song.
They did a quick just-the-Johns performance of Cage and Aquarium, which Flans said was, like many of their songs, a product of "adult-onset ADD."
The duo continued for Kiss Me, Son of God, which I must say was pretty brilliant. As they played it I began to realize how strangely apt the lyrics seemed, and I know I wasn't the only one. Blood of the exploited working class, indeed.
The Avatars returned to us with a cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid, which they said reflected their own roots in 70s heavy metal.
- JF-avatar: I was reading the iTunes description of this album. It said it was "less artier" than this album. And as I scratched my long soul patch *scratches with actual non-puppet finger*, I had to agree. The first album by They Might Be Giants was a little bit artier.
- JL-avatar: It was more artier.
- JF-avatar: it was a little bit more artier than the Lincoln album, which was less artier...er.
The Avatars had their own take on the electrical fire.
- JF-avatar: *coughs*
- JL-avatar: I just gotta say, we were inside a suitcase...
- JF-avatar: For a week, ladies and gentlemen.
- JL-avatar: And somebody burned everything. What the hell was...? I gotta say, I smell like crap right now.
- JF-avatar: Ladies and gentlemen, no matter how silently we scream, no one could hear our arty cries.
- *Puppets scream. Silently. Artily.*
- JL-avatar: That's what it was like.
- JF-avatar: Actually, that's what it was like before the fire started.
Shoehorn also featured a very dignified Marty Beller on the triangle.
The show proper ended with a totally, face-meltingly awesome three-song run of Where Your Eyes Don't Go, Cowtown, and Ana Ng. All songs I had never seen live before and all songs I had longed so much to see live for as long as I've been a fan.
They didn't make us wait too long before coming out for the first encore. Just the Johns came out for the first song: a sweet, haunting rendition of How Can I Sing Like a Girl? (Ohmygod. Another song I have wanted SO MUCH.) I love when Flans uses his pretty voice. And the accordion was lovely here.
Just before an accordion solo:
- JF: Rock me, John...
- JL: *rocks him, us, and the rest of the world*
The rest of the band joined them for When Will You Die?, a song that, because of the title, "many people like before they even hear it."
The second encore included my belovedest Birdhouse, which was the song I missed most at the N - Z Boston show. I pogoed almost nonstop for it.
Flans re-introduced the band somewhere in here.
- JF: And Dan Miller...who, I assure you, is having a totally different experience from anyone else on stage right now...
When they left after Birdhouse I stayed quiet and started automatically moving closer to the stage in hopes of snagging a setlist, since, y'know, the encores are planned and two is the usual limit.
But oh, not that day. Not that day. I'm glad others continued clapping and cheering, because they came back for a third encore that was not on the setlist. (They did write "3rd? Maybe!", but I'd like to think the positive vibes of the audience turned that maybe into a yes.)
So we were granted a quick tribute to Marty in the form of Marty Beller Mask.
- JF: This is from our newest album, Album Raises New and Troubling Questions.
- JL: Yes, our new album does have the word "album" in the title.
After the third encore the roadies hopped out and started distributing setlists. There was a disproportionate amount being given out on the other side of the stage and I almost didn't get one, but I happened to be in exactly the right place after another roadie handed out extra copies a little later. Yessss!
I had Marty sign my setlist, then went off into the night, still starry-eyed and full of adrenaline.