From This Might Be A Wiki

They Might Be Giants
— with Otis Ball And The Chains opening —
Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY
December 8, 1989 at 8:00 PM

John Linnell playing accordion at the venue.

Fan Recaps and Comments:

In the Union Ballroom. Tickets were $8 in advance, $10 at the door for students and $12 at the door for non-students.

"They Might Be Giants But Maybe Not" by Otto Partz
Stony Brook Press, Dec. 14, 1989:

Well you could call it They Might Be Giants, but I'd rather call it "They Might Be Teeny Moshers." From the moment I entered the crowded Union building on Friday I was assaulted, harrassed and forced to feel like I was someone who shouldn't have been there.

The crowd, although young, was one of the biggest draws that the Union Ballroom has had in some time. It was hard to believe that this was They Might Be Giants and not the Sunday matinee at CBGB's. Now let's start with the opening band — what's their name? "Otis Ball and the Chains"? My experience with hardcore bands has been that when they're good, they're really good, but when they're bad, they're awful. Unfortunately, Otis Ball and the Chains fall into this latter category. Their music, however, was repetitive enough to throw the youthful crowd into a frenzy of self abuse.

Now don't, don't, don't let me start in on our main attraction, but it seems I'm heading that way. They Might Be Giants, as I found out that night, is definitely a dance band, but certainly not a hardcore, smash yourself into oblivion kind of scene. It seemed everyone at the show was more concerned being there because it was "cool" rather than for the music. You have to feel sorry for John and John of They Might Be Giants for having to put up with such an ungrateful crowd. One thing that has to be said about them is that they do put on a good show. Their music was also repetitive, but there is something about it that makes it pretty danceable. And what was the dancing genre of the evening? You got it — super mosh slam dancing from hell.

With those things put aside I have to admit that the show was good. With songs like "(She was a) Hotel Detective", and "Don't Let's Start" they played to a semi-receptive crowd that enjoyed it, even if they didn't know how to dance. But the height of the evening was when they played "She's an angel". There was something about it that just seemed to turn the evening for the better, but it was too late, it was the last song. So taking the good with the band and the ugly (the crowd that is) They Might Have Been Worse.

"Two Giants Rumble Through Ballroom" by Amelia Sheldon
Statesman, Dec. 14, 1989:

They Might Be Giants, a hard-to-define two-man group brought their wacky lyrics and interesting choice of instruments to the crowded Student Union Ballroom Friday for a night of fun music.

They Might Be Giants, John Flansburgh and John Linnell, performed to a varied crowd consisting of wild-haired rowdy youngsters, preppy mature-looking folks and just about every category in between. The people gathered were ready to hear some good music after the long-playing bomb of an opening act. Only a few enthusiastic slam dancers seemed to appreciate the warm-up set early in which some of the crowd booed loudly. But, The Giants were worth waiting for and the crowd showed its appreciation with loud applause after songs and its demand of two encores from the band. Songs like "Purple Toupee" and "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" set the crowd bouncing around like jumping beans, while others like "Kiss Me, Son of God," had people standing still listening to the lyrics.

The ballroom was a perfect spot for the two-man band. In this rather intimate Union space with the quality sound system, many of the group's neat and crazy lyrics were understandable. They Might Be Giants' creative lyrics and the use of such instruments as the accordion, the marching band bass drum and the metronome worked together to keep the audience's interest peaked. The innovativeness of this duo's approach to music and concerts is impressive. They were able to give an attention capturing performance even limited as they were to their tape of additional background instruments.

They might be giants, they might be musicians, they might be two guys who are just having fun with their music, their lyrics and themselves. What ever they are, they provided a unique show.