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- The Mesopotamians
- New York City
- I Left My Body
- Man, It's So Loud In Here
- Damn Good Times
- Hovering Sombrero
- Your Racist Friend
- Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal
- Underwater Woman
- The Statue Got Me High
- Wicked Little Critta
- Cyclops Rock
- Let Me Tell You About My Operation
- Purple Toupee
- She Thinks She's Edith Head
- Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2
- Pencil Rain
- Mink Car
- The Guitar
- Auld Lang Syne
- No One Knows My Plan
- Birdhouse In Your Soul
Fan Recaps and Comments:
They did some banter before the first song. Flans said it was going to be "an ok show," like the movie that was still in theatres at the time called The Post. John said we'd all say that Meryl Streep was good in the show, and Flans said Tom Hanks would be phoning it in, and everyone on stage would be Tom Hanks. Then he said that in the new year he would be in a Twitter feud with Tom Hanks. "You know, he's quirky. I thought I was drinking Coca-Cola, but it's actually truth serum."
Then they said what their New Year's resolutions were, but they both had joke answers. Flans said his was to gain weight, and John said, "My only resolution is to break my resolution--paradox!" (He was doing something silly and cute with his hands when he said "paradox.")
There was also some talk about how 2018 is going to be good. John said that was also what they thought about 2017, and that didn't work out so well, but Flans said he didn't think anyone actually thought 2017 was going to be good, which is I think the actual truth.
They opened with "The Mesopotamians," which I've gotten so burned out on live, so I was pleasantly surprised when I actually enjoyed it this time--I mean it is a really fun song.
After "New York City," Flans asked John if he'd seen some other movie that was out at the time called The Phantom Thread. John said he hasn't seen it yet but he wants to. Flans said it's good. "It has that guy in it. He's super-intense. His eyes are like lasers."
Then they played "I Left My Body." It was cool to see that for the second time. The previous day was more exciting cos it was its live debut, but yeh it was cool, it really does work well live which I honestly wasn't sure if it would even though I've always loved the song.
When the song was over Flans said, "Happy New Year! Resist!" I love him so much.
Next they played "Bangs." I can't remember if I'd ever seen it before, but if I had it wasn't since way back in the day. It was pretty fun live, so upbeat. When the song was over Flans said he'd never been so sure about the value of rehearsing, but that song showed him how good it could be because they played it with "poise and professionalism."
They played "Drink!" next. Flans instructed us to do the thing they usually do with the crowd yelling "Drink drink!" each time he sings the word. He said we didn't have to rehearse because the last eleven months had prepared us for it. He also said it was a song about "adult disappointment." This is one of only a handful of Mink Car songs I'd actually seen since that tour, but I certainly didn't mind seeing it again, if only for the accordion.
They played "Man, It's So Loud in Here," which is so good live, then "Damn Good Times," which was also superfun, as always. Afterwards Flans asked John to talk about the next song. I of course had no idea what the song was going to be, but I always want to hear John talk about his songs, so I was hoping he was going to. At first he said he was going to have to take a time machine to the past to try to remember, but then "I have no memory of it. It's gone." Flans said it was the "Daniel Day-Lewis of songs," and then "the Bob Saget of songs"--I have no idea what he meant by this.
So then they started playing "Hovering Sombrero." I had this moment of being really upset, because I absolutely adore that song and would've loved to hear John talk about the genesis of it, especially because it's such a strange song that isn't really possible to easily figure out on one's own. But then that passed and I was just ecstatic that they were playing it. When they said they'd be playing Mink Car songs at this show this was the one I was most hoping they'd play. They only played it a handful of times on that tour and none of them were shows I was at, so I'd never seen it, and it was the song on the album I most loved that I hadn't seen. Suffice it to say it was worth waiting sixteen years for--it was fantastic live!
Next they played "Your Racist Friend," which I'm sure they have in the set cos it's depressingly relevant right now. Curt's trumpet was great again. Something happened that I've seen happen with this song often, where John is singing the right backing vocals but Flans is singing the wrong lead vocals, and John looks all lost cos he doesn't know what he should be singing.
Next they played "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal." I got so excited when they started playing it cos I'd seen how amazing it was with Curt's trumpet the night before, and once again it was, yes, amazing, and brought the house down! Every song Curt plays on is so good, but I think this song is the highlight for sure.
Next they checked the time. After determining that it was "46 o'clock," John said, "Time's going backwards!" Flans said that it was too bad that the show was going to be over before midnight, and that he's been to New Year's Eve shows where that actually happened and it was exciting.
They played "Underwater Woman" and then "Spy." When they started playing that one I was thinking that it was going to be fun with trumpet, and it definitely was. When it was over Flans said, "Just like we rehearsed it!"
They checked the time again and said that midnight was 37 minutes away. John said that the next song was 38 minutes long. Then Flans sang a silly improv song that just consisted of him strumming his guitar and singing "No refunds, no refunds at all" a few times.
After that came the most upsetting moment of the whole show. They started playing "The Statue Got Me High," but John was using his keyboard, oh my god. I wanted to jump on stage and flip the thing over. When they started playing it I was like "WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING, JOHN?" It was still exciting to see it, don't get me wrong, but way less exciting than it would've been if he'd done it on accordion like it was meant to be, so yeh that was really upsetting.
After that, John was doing something on his Kaoss Pad. After it made some sort of noise he asked, "Did I do that out loud?" Then he explained that he'd been reprogramming it. Flans asked, "What's the difference?" and made two different sounds that were supposed to sound like the Kaoss Pad first one way and then another. John said it was hard to explain, but assured us that we'd enjoy the next song more now that he'd done this.
The song was "Wicked Little Critta." I'd never seen this song before. I've always been rather indifferent to it on the album (which is disappointing to me--I want to like it more because it was the first song I ever heard on Dial-A-Song), but I actually thought it was pretty fun live. I should mention that John didn't sing with an accent.
They continued with Mink Car stuff--the next song was "Cyclops Rock." This was one of the songs I was most looking forward to seeing. I really love it and think it's great live, and I hadn't seen it since way back in the day. It was every bit as great live as I remembered! Bonus: Flans sang the original lyrics in the first verse, with "I'm sick like Nixon was sick," which is a much better line, so I really love it when he does it that way--I really don't know why he changed it for the album version.
Then they did "Let Me Tell You About My Operation," which was fantastic, as always.
Then there was another really upsetting moment, cos it was another case of John using his keyboard for an accordion song, this time "Purple Toupee." This one got to me less because I'm less into this song than "The Statue Got Me High," but it's still a really great song, so it was still really upsetting. Hell, I'd be really upset about seeing him use his keyboard for accordion songs that aren't really great songs just because I love seeing him play accordion so much. I seriously don't know why he was doing this. It was like he was trying to cancel out all the accordion he'd played the day before or something.
They checked the time again after that and determined that midnight was 19 minutes away. John said that there songs were so short and that they should be slowed down. Then Flans started talking about how they'd be writing songs and drinking too much coffee, and that they'd keep thinking the tempo should be faster and that would become their "permanent record" of tempo. But then when they play the songs live and think they should have "a more natural feel" and so try to play them more slowly, it just makes people think "Are you guys tired?," which hurts their feelings. John: "Or it makes our younger selves sadistically rejoice."
Then John said he'd woken up late. Flans asked him "What time, 9?", which I knew actually would be late for him cos in my favourite interview with him it's revealed that he wakes up at 5 normally because he's ridiculous. John wouldn't say how late it was, just that it was "recent." Flans said he got an email from him at 4 AM the night before, and John said he hadn't gone to bed yet and then that he doesn't drink much coffee normally (I was like "Since when???" but all I can figure is that he meant at night) but that he's not used to playing shows so he was up past his bedtime. Flans started talking about the email from him. "The email was like [panicked voice] 'What are we doing. Flans, wake up. All points bulletin. I don't see any clarinet songs.'" Then John said that he'd discovered the night before that they shouldn't do songs requiring him to sing immediately after he plays the contra-alto clarinet. Flans said that you're always still learning, and that that was something his mom taught him.
Next was one of the absolute show highlights for me: "Letterbox"! I love that song SO MUCH. It's another one of those songs I saw a lot back in the day but haven't seen a lot lately, so it was really exciting to see it. John used his keyboard for this one too, but he always does when they play it live, so it didn't throw me off.
They played "Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2" and then pulled out another definite surprise: "Pencil Rain." I'm not sure if I've ever seen that song besides the two Lincoln shows I've been to, so it was yeh a definite surprise. It's not one of my absolute favourite songs on that album, but pretty much every song on that album is some degree of great, and this song is no exception.
They played "Mink Car," then there was another deep cut, as they say: "Spider." That's another song I've barely seen at all, only twice that I can think of. It's such a silly song, and really fun live. Flans did the thing he did at least the first time I saw it (can't remember about the second time), which is holding the mic stand upside-down and singing into the mic that way--really silly and great.
Next they played "The Guitar." I LOVE this song live--it's one of my favourites, even though I've seen it a million times. John was hopping a bit at the beginning, which is always so adorable, then in the middle he did the Future of Sound with Curt which was cool.
Then all of a sudden they were telling us to count down for the new year! When it was midnight everyone yelled "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" and there was an insane amount of confetti falling from the ceiling, like I have never seen so much confetti in my life. I hadn't been expecting this so I had a bag with an open top, and it got completely full of confetti! The following morning, when I was packing to check out of my hotel, I had to spend like 15 minutes digging confetti out of my bag, and I was still finding stray bits of it for days afterwards. It kept falling for the next couple of songs, and then people kept scooping it up off the floor and throwing it down again, so it was like nonstop confetti for the rest of the show. When I was walking out after the show was over I saw mountains of it on the floor, and all I could think was that I felt sorry for whoever was going to have to clean it up. It sure was fun though!
We sang "Auld Lang Syne" with the lyrics sheets they'd had for us to pick up when we came in, including some second verse no one knows about. I also hadn't realized that some of the lines in the first verse are actually questions, cos I'd never seen the lyrics written out before.
After that was over they went right back and finished "The Guitar." What with all the excitement of the new year, I'd totally forgotten they were still in the middle of it.
Next they played "Older," and that amused the hell out of me cos the confetti was still falling, so it was basically like "You're gonna die! Let's have a party!" I'd gotten accustomed to Mama TMBG in the middle of this song so it was weird seeing it without a visit from her--they just did the long pause between "And time" and "Is still marching on" but didn't do anything else.
Next they did "No One Knows My Plan." I really think doing it at the very end of the show like they did the day before is the way to go, cos then people don't have to worry about losing their spots. But even though I was going to I just had to conga. I was still just too excited about finally getting to after regretting it so much when I didn't in 2001, the only time I'd seen it before the previous night. It was, once again, SUPERFUN. I did end up a good bit farther back and so had a hard time seeing for the remaining songs, so that was sad, but it was worth it! Also later I was thinking about it more and I ended up being amused thinking about the fact that the guy singing the song would be the last person to conga if he were in the audience at a show and someone in the band was trying to get him to, just because the idea of touching strangers is so horrifying to him.
They closed the main set with "Birdhouse in Your Soul," which was a great choice because the energy in the room is so intense when they play that one.
When they came back for the first encore, Flans asked if we've ever used something called a Listerine Breath Strip. Then he said that he'd gotten a piece of confetti lodged in the back of his throat. He asked what the thing back there is called and John said it's the uvula. Flans: "The uvula. I hate to use swear words on stage." He said he'd been hoping it was going to dissolve, but then he realized it wasn't going to. John: "Nor will it sweeten your breath." Then he said that he didn't go to show biz school, but he knew enough to know that you shouldn't reach down your throat to pull something out of it in front of the audience. So he was planning to just turn around and pull it out where we couldn't see him, but then he realized that wouldn't work either because there was a video camera there. I'm not sure what he actually did to get rid of it--I didn't see him doing anything cos I was watching John.
Flans said playing the next song was a New Year's Eve tradition. The song was "Bills, Bills, Bills." I've seen that song a lot, but it's really fun. There was some quality spazzing from John.
They played "Particle Man," then Flans asked Marty if he had his electronic drums, then asked him to play the most "outside sound" he can on them. Marty spent awhile picking something out, then he played it as they did the band intros.
They closed the first encore with "Doctor Worm," which is always so fun.
They started the second encore with "Robot Parade." The way they're doing this song these days is amusing, because it starts off so quiet then it gets SO ROCKIN'. John was hopping some which was, as always, supercute, and Flans did the "human theremin" thing, where he moved his hand through the air and we were supposed to make a sound that started low and then got high.
After that Flans said "Give yourself a high five!" I didn't do it to myself, but there was a guy in front of me who was turning around and high-fiving people around him, so I did high five him.
After that they played "Turn Around," which I was really really excited to see!
The last song was "Istanbul." I'm beyond sick of this song, so I hate it when they close with it just cos I want the final song to be something I actually like. I know how much the casual fans love it, but I'd think they'd be aware how many of their fans are not casual and so don't necessarily want to have it as the last song when they've seen it a million times. I will grudgingly accept that they're always going to play it, but I do still just wish they wouldn't close with it.
It was a mostly great show. But there was the accordion songs on keyboard disappointment, and they didn't play all the Mink Car songs they played at the Mink Car show they did a couple of months before this. I was expecting them to play all the same songs, so I was really looking forward to "Finished with Lies" (which I've never seen), "Yeh Yeh" (which I've seen a bunch but not for 15 years), and "Working Undercover for the Man" (which I've seen just a couple of times and again not for 15 years). Those are three of my favourite songs on the album, and I was really looking forward to seeing them. I was also surprised that between the two shows they didn't play any new songs from I Like Fun that we didn't have already--they just played "I Left My Body," which we already had. I was really hoping they were going to premiere some brand-new songs, cos that's what they usually do before an album comes out. I also wasn't crazy about the fact that there was an opener--they were all right, but I've just gotten accustomed to having lots more TMBG with the two sets thing. But yes other than those things the show was awesome. There was some really great stuff in the set, and I really liked being able to spend a special occasion with them!
Requisite "But what was John wearing?" report: blue stripey t-shirt that's one of his favourite shirts right now.