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Setlist: (incomplete!)

They Might Be Giants
— with The Bicycle Thief opening —
The Usual in San Jose, CA
September 18, 2001

Fan Recaps and Comments:

Review by Kai:
We had never been there, but we ended up finding parking easily. Once inside the Usual, we realized this was definitely a dance club. A packed dance club, with one bar and a low stage and plenty of black lights.

Weird, local, accoustic act opened and the singer talked longer than he sang, which would have been fine if it was TMBG... but sadly the talking continued, as well as the not TMBG.

When TMBG finally came out on stage, the club was a sweltering sauna. They completely filled up the stage, dancing much like sardines would dance in their little can if someone accidentally let them live. But indeed TMBG was live, opening their act with Cyclops rock.

We were rocked by the sonic blast! And the lights... oh the lasers were incredible. Imagine what an incredible sound and light system was like in such a small venue! We were deaf, blind, and sweaty by the end of the night, and appeased of all our sins I'm sure!

Despite those setbacks (and be assured Flansburgh complained as well), the Johns and Dans were pumped and full of action after a long journey. This was the first gig after the 9/11 terrorist attack, and they seemed happy just be out there doing a show.

Some of the memorable moments of the show were when they played NYC. It almost felt like the national anthem, as the crowd erupted in song. When Flansburgh announced "Yeah, Yeah", someone in the audience yelled "that's my favorite song!" Flansburgh bellowed, "Why is it that people like our covers better?! That's it! For the rest of the night we're playing covers!" (Didn't happen, though) And then after the second encore, as the band was limping off stage, Flansburgh regrouped the band for one last song of the night--explaining that they had been on the road forever and he just wanted to rock! I don't think anyone on either side of the stage disagreed with his assessment. The venue was lame, but they were just there to rock.

Review by Bonnie:
The Usual hasn't been The Usual for years. Every year or so, it is reborn with a new name and new decor. It's still a dance club, but I don't think it's had live acts for a long time.

But on that night, just a week after September 11, 2001, it was still The Usual. TMBG had some tour dates scheduled the previous week, but they were cancelled in the wake of the four-day grounding of all flights in the United States. Thus, this became the first date of the Mink Car tour. It was the start of feeling normal again, definitely for me, perhaps also for the band.

I remember their playing the cover of "New York City" differently. I was wishing all night that they would play that particular song. It seemed the best way for TMBG to acknowledge 9/11, and we all wanted to express how much we loved New York City. It was a great relief when they announced the song. It was a cathartic moment, apart from some frat boy types yelling out something about Osama bin Laden. But probably for those guys, their reaction was also cathartic.