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Fan Recaps and Comments:


What a show. The setlist completely made up for last time. No Ana Ng?? No She's An Angel? No Particle Man??? I couldn't be happier. The pink songs were awesome and I got embarrassingly emotional when they played Letterbox. Everyone in the audience had a great time; I've never seen so many smiling faces exiting a venue before. Thanks for everything, TMBG.


So yeh KIND OF AN AMAZING SETLIST. So fucking many Pink songs, almost none of which I'd seen before and all of which were SO SO SO SUPER-FANTASTIC.

So yeh they opened with duo "Istanbul" and I must admit that "Istanbul" um has never exactly been a show highlight for me (seeing it EVERY DAMN SHOW and not particularly liking it to begin with will do that). But I gotta say it's actually really enjoyable when they do it this way. I mean, anything that's just The Johns is basically just AUTOMATICALLY AWESOME, and also they were really really silly with it. Makes me wonder why they haven't always done it this way so it would actually be fun.

Early in the set was "The Guitar" and oh MAN I've seen that plenty of times but it is always a highlight--one of their absolute best live songs. My favourite songs are pretty much always John's of course but a lot of the songs I get most excited about live are Flans--SO ROCKIN'. Towards the end John was hopping (and Flans too) and it was SUPERCUTE.

JF: We're excited to be here in Tempe. I'm still not sure if it's Temp-ee or Temp-ay. Is it Satan or Say-tan? Is it They Might Be Giants or The Might Be Giants? JL: Or maybe there are two different things. JF: I'm pretty sure Satan and Say-tan are the same thing. JL: I think Say-tan rules over Temp-ee. JF: You gotta let Satan into your heart, John. JL: Into my hey-art. JF: So we're having a really great time, but...We gotta go. I've been to some shows that were like that, it was weird--technically "shitty."

Next was "Letterbox" and OMFG I WAS FLIPPING OUT. That is one of my very very favourite songs (and it's still only the third-best song on Flood WHICH SHOULD GIVE YOU SOME INDICATION OF EXACTLY HOW BRILLIANT JOHN IS) and I think I've only seen it at the Flood shows I've been to or maybe a time or two beyond that. AMAZING.

JF: Tomorrow in Los Angeles we're playing all of our first album and it is both a memory test, a character test, and a LIFE SENTENCE. For a band as ossified as we are. No amount of ginko biloba we can bring will bring those memories back.

Flans introduced "Boat of Car" as being "one of the more unusual songs on the album--my personal favourite."

"Youth Culture Killed My Dog" was one of the Pink songs I hadn't seen before and oh man while it's a great song anyway I was really impressed with how fantastic it was live.

After that they did "Meet the Elements"--have never really seen them do kids' songs at regular shows other than "Clap Your Hands" but that is the one that is ACTUALLY A MIND-BLOWINGLY GOOD SONG, so I applaud the choice.

JF: That's right, songs about science and discovery. We slept through high school so you didn't have to.

Flans introduced "Tesla" by saying that it is not very often that TMBG is able to be up with "what the Germans call 'the zeitgeist'" but that after they wrote this song they found out that "people were turning their heads via the internet towards this next man."

Before "32 Footsteps" Flans said that the night before he'd played the harmonica upside-down, and demonstrated.

Avatars: Blue: (looking at audience) Look at all those beards! Green: I see you've still got that soul-patch. Blue: It's like a Sandanista rally out there!

That last bit made me feel all cool cos I was like "I wonder how many people here know the significance of Sandanista rallies in TMBG history?" Then the Green Avatar said something about getting sunstroke, and the Blue Avatar said he liked all the iced tea there--"all the different bottles you have, all the special flavors." Then he said that they could feel us out there--"We don't have hands, but we can feel you with our eyes. That's also how we send text messages."

So then they did "He's Loco" and people were laughing and/or cheering for most every line but it was eerily quiet after "If we all had guns, we would all be safer!" and I was like "PLEASE TELL ME YOU DON'T ACTUALLY AGREE WITH THAT."

Next was "Doctor Worm" which is another song that no matter how many times you see it it's always SUPERFUN.

JF: I heard this thing where Steven Tyler took out his kneecap with a mic stand, and I thought, "That's a wicked stupid thing to do to yourself." But on that last song, flying backwards across the stage, I hit my knee on the mic stand...I think we're entering Act III of our Behind the Music. JL: "How did you poke your eyes out, They Might Be Giants?" JF: "Well, it's a funny story. We didn't actually poke them out ourselves. It was this guy we work with, Dan Miller."

Introducing "Alienation's for the Rich," Flans explained that it starts in G and then goes into A, "So if you have your guitar with you, you know."

After that Flans had his robotic effect on his mic.

JF: I've changed! I'm here! Metal fatigue and all. JL: This has never happened at one of our shows before! JF: Never happened every night. JL: How are you doing, Robot Flansburgh? JF: Success is not not an option. JL: That's not not true. JF: They Might Be Giants is here to ruin you for other bands. Let's start with the English bands. (turns back to audience, then turns back around) "Can you turn off the lights?"...That's all I got. So there's thisnew album Nanobots, and it does not have any sci-fi themes or robot voices at all. I was completely disappointed. JL: We all were. JF: I thought, "Nanobots, I love that stuff!" I thought it would be Mr. Roboto and then this. That album did not ruin me for other albums. JL: That's the standard.

A few songs later was "Battle for the Planet of the Apes."

JF: We like to bring everyone together in a spirit of fellowship and understanding, but for this next song we will pit brother against brother, sister against sister, mother against child, all for the sake of an empty competition. It's all the excitement of reality TV in one competition. I'm holding what I like to call a flashlight but what in South America passes for a medical device. If it's shining at you get out of the way, because it will cause permanent retina damage. We need a six foot lane of egress, which is a fancy word for get out of the way. People on this side, your representatives are Dan Miller, Marty Beller, and Danny Weinkauf, playing what they call music. While they're playing you need to put your right fist in the air and chant "PEOPLE!"--for those of you who have been drinking, it's the one with the tag on it. (we practice) I meant chant loudly. I think the technical term for that was "candy-ass."


JF: The People win! By astroturfing and attack ads and dirty politics, the People win again! But the Apes will rise! This is not over!

Before "Black Ops":

JF We're putting together our Moon Hooch tribute act, so we're redoing all our songs to be played on bass clarinet. John Linnell is holding in his hands a bass clarinet. Designed by Howard Hughes for the Defense Department, it is solid.

So I knew they were playing some new arrangement of "Black Ops" live but I had no idea what to expect. But oh man it was awesome, definitely a big improvement over the album version--SO ROCKIN'. So they did that and then "Cloisonne," then:

JF: The Ebony Goose. The Resinite Goose. JL: No, it has to rhyme, doesn't it, because Spruce Goose rhymes. The Resinite...President. No. Just spitballing up here.


JF: Dan Miller has the melodica! JL: You know what that means. You've feared this moment in the show. JF: I want you all to take out your phones and take pictures of Dan holding up the melodica, and then text them to @martybeller on Twitter. He's collecting pictures of Dan Miller holding up the melodica. (people get out phones) Hold it up again, these phones take a minute to start up--some of them have strobes. We want to remind you that there is no regular photography but there is strobe photography. So send them to @martybeller--M-A-R-T-Y-B-E-L-L-E-R. He'll really appreciate it. JL: He'll be so surprised. JF: What we really like about the melodica is that it also functions as a breathalyzer. JL: If Dan Miller has more than a .5% alcohol level--which I guess is a lot--it won't play. It's actually a more accurate test than the test the police use. JF: We don't even like the sound of the melodica. We just have a zero-tolerance policy. We just like telling other people how to live.

So then they did "Icky" and I of course always get excited about songs where John is singing but not playing anything cos he gets all SPAZZY and it's THE BEST. He didn't as much as I was hoping for this time but he still did some and it was SUPER-ADORABLE as always, of course.

JF: When we were recording our first album we didn't really know what we were doing, and we discovered that we were leaving out vast ares of musical interest in our songs, so for the middle sixteen bars of this song we need the audience to scream as if you're in Hell. And when I say "the audience" I'm not talking in the abstract. You have to perform for the audience you're given. That is what they tell you in military music school. We think you'll know when to stop screaming--you seem like a sophisticated audience. If someone next to you is screaming when there should be no more screaming, just give them a tap on the shoulder.

So then of course they did "Hide Away Folk Family." I don't like to do any of the audience participation stuff normally, but screaming as if I were in Hell was quite fun.

During the 1-2-3- band intros thing, Danny played bass and John played keyboard with drumsticks--it was silly. After Marty stood up with his hands in the air and Flans said he was "resurrecting the final scene from All About Eve."

During "When Will You Die" John was smiling a lot more than during any other song and I was like "YOU ARE SO HAPPY DURING LIKE THE MEANEST SONG EVER YOU ARE SUCH A BASTARD FUCK I LOVE YOU SO MUCH."

Second encore was PHENOMENAL. First they did "Number Three" which I'd never seen before and was FANTASTIC--love that John was playing the sample.

Then Flans was talking about the shows on the rest of the tour, I guess so we could tell people if they live in those places. "In a week we're doing a free show in Connecticut at Mohegan Sun, which is a casino." (holds hands up and looks all confused) What's up with that?" And also "In Germany we're playing in the town with the name that's so long it encircles the earth three times."

Then they closed with "Everything Right is Wrong Again" and oh my fucking GOD, one of the best closers I have EVER seen. One of their absolute BEST songs and I think I'd only seen it once before, eleven fucking years ago. I certainly don't like having to say goodbye to John at the end of a show <i>one bit, but if I have to it should at least be with one of his ABSOLUTELY PERFECT songs.

Final VERY IMPORTANT John remarks: Brown pocket t-shirt. He got that AWFUL short haircut a few months ago and I was concerned about it growing out by these shows--still a bit shorter than I'd like but reasonably ok, certainly a hell of a lot better than it was. It was the usual thing where Flans is saying all kinds of HILARIOUS AND GREAT stuff and John is just interjecting a bit here and there in reaction to him. It's a great dynamic they have going, and of course the things John does say are SUPER-AMAZING, but I just wish he would talk more because I love hiiiiiiiim.


Just a note on the above recap. Flans didn't say he hit himself with the mic stand. He hit Dan with it. And then Dan was mock limping across the stage. Thus the comments about Dan being responsible for poking his eye out. Definitely agree with the other reviewers that it was a great show though!