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Setlist: (incomplete and possibly out of order)

They Might Be Giants
— with Freedy Johnston opening —
Avalon Ballroom in Boston, MA
August 15, 1992 at 3:00 PM

Fan Recaps and Comments:

"Giants take some mighty strides at Avalon" by Paul Robicheau
The Boston Globe, Aug. 17, 1992:

They Might Be Giants have long been saddled with an image as a quirky, nerdy pop duo. That's what you get when a guitarist-in-horn-rims and an accordion player decorate the stage with enlarged postage stamps and sing songs about whistling in the dark and shoehorns with teeth to prerecorded rhythm tracks.

Well, that was a couple of years ago. On their self-produced new album, "Apollo 18," the Giants learned how to beef up the mix. And Saturday at Avalon, where the duo drew 600 to an all-ages show before their sold-out evening show, they really rocked.
No doubt about it; this was more consistently engaging than Giants' shows of the past — to the delight of hometown friends and family of John Flansburgh and John Linnell, who grew up in Lincoln.

There were no props this time out, but for the first time, they had a band — and a great one at that, featuring Pere Ubu's Tony Maimone on bass, the Ordinaires' Kurt Hoffman on clarinet and sax, and impressive newcomer Jon Feinberg on drums.
The band lent stability and flexibility, from the squeaky clarinet and jazzy drumming of opener "Space Suit" and barelling rock rhythm of "Twisting" to lounge ditty "Lie Still, Little Bottle," which featured Hoffman and Linnell on dual baritone saxes while Flansburgh blew two trumpets at once.

Only "Ana Ng" sounded a little stiff, as the band couldn't capture the idiosyncratic rhythmic feel of the original tape. Flansburgh and Linnell eventually nodded to their past with a four-song duo spot, culminating in the school lessonish "Mammal" and tongue-twisty "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)."
But the band helped lift the rest of the 100-minute afternoon show, especially on upbeat tunes like "Purple Toupee," "Don't Let's Start" and "The Statue Got Me High," as well as the hardcore punklike "Dig My Grave" and a polka instrumental.

The musicians' versatility was extended to a stump-the-band feature in which they mulled over audience requests. The band rejected "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" as too difficult, but settled on the disco hit "I Will Survive," which got rolling when Hoffman dropped clarinet for a cheesy synthesizer.

An even bigger surprise for a group known for bizarre lyrics more than musicianship was a cover of the Edgar Winter Group's drum-sparked instrumental "Frankenstein." Flansburgh leaped into the orchestra pit to let fans flail the neck of his guitar. He wasn't about to be mistaken for Springsteen, but the Giants left no mistake that they could rock. And they'll be back to entertain at the Hatch Shell Sept. 12 in a free afternoon show.