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Setlist: (incomplete and possibly out of order)
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Tickets were $16.50 in advance.
Review by Lori Buttars, Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 1994:
A few thousand loyal followers packed into the Utah State Fairpark Coliseum Friday night to see that the New York-based band had grown -- from a duo to a jamming sextet.
Lawrence Welk would have been proud.
The founding members, guitarist John Flansburgh and accordion-saxophone player John Linnell, have hit upon something with their merry-go-round sound. But the addition of bass, horn and drum sections gives the Giants' infectious melodies even more spontaneity and character. And where else in rock 'n' roll would you find a glockenspiel player?
The added guitar licks at the introduction of "Your Racist Friend" gave the song all the makings of an all-out head-banging rocker. And a new tune, "Thank You For Putting Me Back in My Snail Shell," was anything but sluggish with its carnival inflections.
It's almost impossible for They Might Be Giants to play a slow song, but the musicians gave it their best shot with "Unrelated Thing," which Linnell described as a "tip-sideways-and-sway, kind of senior-prom-type tune."
Yeah, right. Once he got that accordion going, the crowd started bobbing up and down like pistons in a car engine.
Fans actually clapped along during the drum solo (three claps and a "Hey!" for punctuation). Drum solos are an expected part of every rock 'n' roll concert, but that type of audience participation almost never happens. In another rarity, dozens of couples took to the floor to dance the polka during some of the more recognizable numbers, such as "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Particle Man."
Review by Jeff Vice, Deseret News, May 16, 1994:
They Might Be Giants just might be better off being a covers band.
Not all the added musicians hurt, though. In particular, drummer/percussionist Brian Doherty added the right goofy touch to "Why Does the Sun Shine?" with his glockenspiel work. And the oldie "The Famous Polka" received appropriate musical restraint.
During their 10-year career, John Flansburgh and John Linnell have managed to turn the Four Lads' "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" into an "alternative-rock" smash, have transmuted "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" into "The Guitar" and, strangest of all, used the '50s science lesson/song "Why Does the Sun Shine?" for fodder - all of which has helped augment their already abnormal pop.
Now, when their original material is starting to falter, the two Johns prove they can still bolster a show with wacky covers, which included all of the above and also the Winters Group's "Frankenstein" during their Friday concert at the State Fairpark.
The Johns were supposedly "test-running" material from their upcoming "John Henry" LP, as well as getting even more practice with their touring band - They Might Be Giants effectively stopped being just a duo in 1992. But the group didn't get much in the way of critical reaction, which was probably what they wanted.
Old hits like "Don't Let's Start," "Your Racist Friend" and "I Palindrome I" actually had most in the youngish crowd dancing and pogoing - the "mosh" in which packed crowds jump up and down and bounce into each other. But let's face it, these kids would probably pogo to the Utah Symphony if you ripped out the seats in Abravanel Hall and the orchestra played something fast enough.
Granted, many of the older numbers were decent. But a lot of the "John Henry" material was just weirdness for the sake of weirdness. "Thank You For Putting Me Back in My Snail Shell," "A Shelf Called Nowhere" and "My Little Turbine" all showed more cleverness in their titles than in their arrangements. One might suspect that the Johns sit around in bull sessions coming up with outrageous song titles and attempt to write songs around them.
Getting back to arrangements, the three-horn lineup of saxophonist Kurt Hoffman, trumpeter Frank London and Linnell and sax strayed a little towards overarrangement, especially "She's Actual Size" and "Dig My Grave," which the group sped up towards punkishness - not their strong suit, to put it mildly.
- This show was at the Fairpark Coloseum. I remember they played a lot of tracks from the John Henry album, and that it was (as always) an amazing show.