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Setlist: (incomplete and possibly out of order)
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 23, 1988:
The most-likely-to-succeed jumble of humorous music and tongue-in-cheek humor to emerge on record in some time, They Might Be Giants, is returning to Philadelphia. The duo performed here just as the LP Lincoln (Restless/Bar None) was being released in October. Now that its audience has learned all the words, the band is coming back to entertain a Theater of Living Arts audience Thursday.
They Might Be Giants at the Theater of Living Arts, 334 South St., at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets: $15.50. Phone: 922-1011.
Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 30, 1988:
They Might Be Giants sure aren't ho-hum.
What exactly the witty Brooklyn duo are, however, is difficult to pinpoint at first. With herky-jerky two-minute songs accompanied by prerecorded rhythm tracks, they can't even really be considered a band.Same to you, guys.
But nearly 400 young Philadelphians packed South Street's Theater of Living Arts last night to laugh along as guitarist John Flansburgh and accordionist John Linnell did whatever it is they do. And it was just swell.
In presenting a wide range of ditties that often clunkily mixed funk, punk, rock, country and even a pinch of polka, TMBG played not only with compositional conventions but also with concert conventions. They chatted between themselves, deciding which songs to play, then played a song about not being able to write a song. They invited an audience member to play an electronic drum pad with a gnarled tree branch.
All of this was done without a hint of pretension. This is no highfalutin performance-art band; it's a playful kick in rock's shin.
Introducing the quirkly, college radio hit "Ana Ng," Linnell announced, "This is a tune from our new album, Lincoln. Well, it's kind of new. It used to be newer."
Linnell and Flansburgh are the new Bob and Ray. With gentle, intelligent humor and never an ounce of mean spirit, they send up a generation's major pop cultural form.
Bob and Ray poked fun at radio quiz shows and answer-man programs. John and John give a whimsical skewering to rock-and-roll.
Often, TMBG is not laugh-out-loud funny; but songs like "Shoehorn with Teeth" and "Purple Toupee" couldn't help but put a smile on the faces of those in last night's crowd.
"You've been really sweet," Flansburgh told the audience at the end of the evening.