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Encore 2:

They Might Be Giants
— with Spiraling, Juniper Lane, Lake Trout opening —
DC Sessions in Washington, DC
June 29, 2002

Fan Recaps and Comments:

This concert was made into an internet webcast.

John Ryan:

O, what a night. I'm bushed and my neck hurts. I love it.
Left my house at 9 AM as Rob, Laura, and Shana came up in their car. After hitting a couple of slow downs, we arrived at the venue at 1:15 PM. We scouted out the are and determined there were 2-3 entrances to the place, on the sides and in the front. The sides were the cloest, so we picked that one to stand at. But we were the only ones there for quite some time, so we all went our seperate ways, they got lunch, I went to the local library o use their restroom and to get food from a street vendor.
Coming back, I noticed there were 4 kids already inside at the barrier. I noticed they were fans because they rushed Danny Weinkauf. So I started to wander in when a security guard told a couple of other guys that they were not open until 4 PM. So I waited an extra 15 minutes and then as I finished my food, I wanted to throw out my garbage in the waste bin inside. I asked a different security guy if I could simply throw out my garbage, and he told me, "Come right on it, you can go inside!" So I did, and phoned my friends to tell them to come right on inside. So in this case, if you're wondering if you can go inside before 4 or not, it depends on who you ask.
I noticed that the kids who were at the front were now sitting on the curb. They were asked not to hang out the front while the Johns were doing soundcheck. Then Rob sat down in front of the stage so he could not be seen. The rest of us talked about where in the front to be, and we sat down as well. Also, Fruhead friends of mine, Rob and Karen showed up, and they joined us. And thank goodness for the mountain chair I brought with me, it was a real help.
So we listened to soundcheck from there. Mainly Linnell yelling, "HEY!" and noodling at various times Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said". But they did do a few complete songs, like Subliminal, Drink!, and one that made us very happy, The Who's "The Kids Are Alright". Lawrence mentioned that this was the mini-headline describing today's show in the Washington Post, and it was also fitting with the loss of John Entwhistle.
Also during soundcheck they played the backing track to "Man, It's So Loud In Here". We started singing along, and then they cut off the drum track. We finished out the chorus, in which after that, I said, "Thank you! We'll be here all night! Try the sushi!".
So Spiraling was on first, one of my fav TMBG openers. They did the current set of new tunes and a few old ones, and dedicated one of those old tunes to a fan on my right side. Paul Wells, with his sunglasses and bleached blonde short hair, looked strangely like TDK. They also finished their set with the crowd pleaser I was expecting, A-Ha's "Take On Me". The crowd really enjoyed them, but the crown was pretty sparse at this time, so it would have been nice if they were the 3rd opener so more people could see them.
After they played, they had many a female coming over to do a little bit of fawning. Also, this venue has a big screen showing the show for those people in the back. They put a big "Spiraling" sign on the screen, and it reminded me of when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan how they put each Beatle's name on screen. "John Lennon - Sorry girls, he's married."
Juniper Lane was next. The singer was trying to be Gwen Stefani, and the guitarist was trying to be the Edge. Each time I made these observations to Karen, she kept saying, "Get out of my head!!!" Also, the singer didn't quite understand that she was not winning the crowd over. At least they didn't butcher their straight-forward cover of Radiohead's "Creep". Well, a couple of fans shouted their disapproval of it.
Next up was Lake Trout. They were a very original band, doing mainly instrumentals that were simple in structure and melody, but all of their music was about slow dynamics. Their songs would build up and come back down as slowly. They were hynoptic at times, and did actually start to win the crowd over. The unsung hero of the band was the keyboardist, who also played flute, soprano sax, and shouted a distorted scream at times that was blood-curdling, but was low enough in the mix that it added to the ambience. They were actually a good opener in the fact they would get the crowd depressed before TMBG would come out are cheer them right back up.
And boy did TMBG deliver. It started with Flansburgh getting the show to stop playing that DC 101 crap, that was playing songs for the 3rd or 4th time that day, and putting on his mix of old school funk that he loves. He then came out introducing Dan Hickey, which went right into what I knew was going to be a kick-ass live song, Clap Your Hands.
This song is as AWESOME TMBG opener. Crowd interaction, and it gets everyone jumping during the "Jump In The Air!" section. Right after that, the continued pogoing to Birdhouse.
Then Cyclops Rock, 4 of 2, and the ass-kicking guitar licks of Dan Miller during John Lee Supertaster.
The the MIDI Guitar stylings of Dan Miller during She's Actual Size. The MIDI guitar really fills out the song so much nicer now with Linnell playing tenor sax as well. It makes it sound like they have a brass section with them. Dan Hickey has REALLY grown his hair out, and was going wild during the Animal from the Muppet Show section. Also, he played part of the drum solo to "The End" when asked to play like Ringo Starr. And Flansburgh was getting that huge crowd of 18,000 to scream at the top of their lungs, and it was just too for words. Then in the slow section, I could hear a lot of people behind me snapping along.
After that was I Plaindrome I. So at this point, I've got two songs I've never heard live before, and one I have only heard once before! I really feeling the awesome positive vibe of the crowd now.
Then we get to rock out completely to Boss Of Me. "We got a Grammy for this next song. Why, we still don't know."
Then what I would consider the best Spin The Dial ever. They were hitting gold as Shana put it. First they stopped on "Get Down Tonight" by KC and the Sunshine Band. Then they hit upon "At Last" by Ella Fitzgerald in which Flansburgh started going off on that song. Then, the real knock-out punch. They came right on right before the last chorus of a universally loved song, Don McLean's "American Pie". So Flansburgh got to lead 18,000 swaying people to a chorus of American Pie. He must have been loving it. What a special moment.
Older was next, although I could barely remember it since I was still basking in the glow of American Pie.
NYC was next, and of course, now I ALWAYS rock out to this song. And they kept the energy up for Why Does The Sun Shune? in which the nuclear reactions were between Towson, Baltimore, Washington, and more Towson.
The energy stayed for Man, It's So Loud In Here as this huge outdoor space turned into a cramped nightclub.
Robot Parade quieted everything down, as there was more swaying. And Fingertips was just too good. The band seems to keep improving on this song suite more every time they play it, which has worn off the novelty of it, and made it more than what it was meant to be.
Drink had more swaying to this wonderful folky song, and just kept that happy vibe going. And Dr. Worm ended the regular set. Usually I don't scream for the encore, but they just put on such a tight, kick-ass show, I had too.
They came back and did one of the most ballsiest things I've ever seen Linnell do, Violin. Mind you, girls were screaming for Violin during the whole show, and they shouted it once more before they played it. In which Linnell said, "And now, here's another song." As he was going through the "song", the security guard in front of us lost it. He couldn't help but laugh at it and wondering, "What the f*** is this?" Rob assured it was okay to break his seriousness in front of the rest of us. I just can't believe Linnell had the balls to do Violin at these super large free shows. Old school TMBG in the house.
After that was the confetti cannon action of James Knox Polk. Lawrence and I sang the LA LA Las during the solo.
Then a 2nd encore to the tune of the old soccer chant of "Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!" started by some Brazilian revelers. (Congrats Brazil on winning the World Cup). Flansburgh had the biggest smile on his face when he came out. The 2nd encore was an if for them, but they did it because the crowd was so pumped right now. They did Istanbul with the always awesome acoustic guitar solo of Dan Miller. The camera was panned at the front row a long time during the song and throughout the show, so hopefully I'll see pictures of us on the website soon. Then they finished with what is one of the best TMBG show closers, Sleepwalkers.
My T-shirt was soaked, but fortunately I snapped a free T-shirt suring the show, so I put that on later. Rob led us to the hotel was parked at that night, and we stopped there for a quick siesta. I also changed here into the mentioned dry shirt, and drank a lot of water.
We stopped at the Paper Moon diner for a late snack and much needed coffee for the driver. Before we found the place though, we also ran into a misadventure. There was an ambulence blocking the road in a bad neighborhood and we saw a group of people hanging outside the building and a lot of screaming. Then one franctic woman starting screaming out onto the road to our car. I told Rob, "Get out of here NOW!" He obliged and we turned around just in time. She collasped on the road and we stayed away from that area. That could have put a real damper on the night, becoming eyewitnesses to something like that or even worse, involved.
We didn't get back until 4 AM that night, but that's alright. A nice sleep, and the rest of them were on their way well rested that Sunday morning. And the end of a perfect day and night. This is why I do road trips with friends to TMBG or Eddie From Ohio or Moxy Fruvous. Part of the fun is the trip, and shows are especially enjoyable with friends. And this could possibly be the best non-NY TMBG show I've attended.


I got there about 2:15, wandered around looking for the entrance where some fangeeks might be found waiting, then realized my paper white hide was going to get flashfried if I didn't find some sunscreen. By the time I got back with some, I could see some people inside and could hear the accordion being soundchecked.
I went in and joined the onlookers. We all clung to a narrow strip of shade right in front of the stage, sitting on the ground with our backs to the stage, so as not to be just out there staring at the band.
The soundcheck was hilarious. The hight point had to be Linnell's rendition of the Neil Diamond classic "I Am, I Said." Also at one point there was a truck backing up right in front of the stage, making that beeping sound, and Linnell played along with the beeping sound. The whole band covered The Who's "The Kids Are Alright," which was a 2-liter bottle of ass-kick concentrate.
At this point I thought I'd run over to a nearby deli for a lemonade, but after I left I couldn't get back in until the official gate-opening time, 4:00. Fortunately that was only half an hour away by then. While waiting outside, I met a family with two kids who were all there to see TMBG. They were adorable. I wonder if they stayed through all of the openers, I kind of doubt it though. Too bad.
Spiralling was great, they were my favorite of the three (!) openers. The middle one, Juniper Lane, seemed more like they were phoning it in, except the lead singer but I couldn't understand her on any of their non-cover songs. The last opener, Lake Trout, featured some very talented musicians but the music was very trancey, which is not really my thing as it makes me totally zone out.
Finally it was time for TMBG. They were great, of course. The crowd was huge and energetic, and somehow the band matched it ounce for ounce.
She's Actual Size featured Linnell on sax and Dan Miller "playing horns" on a synth guitar. That was so cool.
Spin the Dial featured "Get Down Tonight," and ended on "American Pie." Everybody swayed and sang along, it was a great moment.
Fingertips was better than better than ever. Better than that, even. And I am all about Violin, that song is great live. Such drama. Sleepwalkers was awesome too. It had both guitars going, doing the three-against-four bit that's on the keyboard in the studio recording.
Toward the end, some very drunk people had pushed their way up right next to me in order to shout "Istanbulll!!!" at the top of their lungs (as if the band would have just forgotten about it). They were obnoxious, but they danced with infectious enthusiasm when Istanbul appeared during the second encore. So kids, the moral of this story is, be tolerant of the drunk Floodies, they help pay for the show.

All banter transcribed by Zondry:

F: Ladies and gentlemen, we're They Might Be Giants from Brooklyn, New York. For the next 75 minutes, we need you to get up on your feet, introducing on the drums is Mr. Dan Hickey.
Clap Your Hands, Birdhouse In Your Soul (before the solo, Linnell says "I wanna hear both the guitars!")
L: Thanks a lot for coming!
F: Hey, everybody in the back, can you see okay? Alright! That's crazy. So we don't normally do covers. This next song was written by the CEO of World Com. It's called "Cyclops Rock".
Cyclops Rock
F: Ladies And Gentlemen, They Might Be Giants is currently enjoying the #1 12-inch record in the United States with our brand-new release "No!". The album is entitled "No!", and it just came out last week. But were not gonna stop until we are the top of the adult contemporary question chart, ladies and gentlemen. We don't care how inappropriate the chart is. We just want a small piece at the very top, ladies and gentlemen. Which is why were gonna play you some songs off that album right now. Check it totally out.
L: This song is called "Four Of Two" - it's about a clock that I once knew in New York City. Here we go...
Four Of Two, John Lee Supertaster (Flans sings "Some flavors must go" twice at the end)
F: At the very end of that song, I felt like outlaws. It's like we should have a 3rd lead guitar player.
L: I was thinking Blue Oyster Cult.
F: Ladies And Gentlemen, the fake guitar- the synthesizer thing, a saxophone, you heard it on Light FM. Sorry the drugs are kickin' in. The Light FM. But check it out now, the real actual sound of fake horns on a guitar synthesizer. That's the sound people love. And the sound of the real saxophone, ladies and gentlemen, of Mr. John Linnell. I need the key, thank you fellas.
She's Actual Size (First half)
F: Ladies and people of DC, your drum solo satisfaction is very important to They Might Be Giants. This drum solo is being closely monitored for your listening satisfaction.
F: If you need to hear this drum solo in Spanish, press or say "Two"!
F: For Mr. Gene Krupa of the Tommy Dorsey band, press of say "Three"!
F: For those hitmakers of the UK, The Beatles' Mr. Ringo Starr, press or say "Four"!
F: For Clyde Stubblefield of the James Brown band, press or say "Five"!
F: For that angry guy from Grand Funk Railroad as seen on Behind The Music, press or say "Six"!
F: And speaking of the cowbell, how about the leconic styles of Mr. Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, press or say "Seven"!
F: For any song by Stevie Wonder from 1972 until 1984, press or say "Ten"!
F: For Mr. Buddy Rich, press or say "Eleven"!
F: For any song by Stevie Wonder from 1984 until now, press or say "Twelve"!
F: For Animal from The Muppet Show, press or say "Thirteen"!
F: To turn his mother out with Mr. Dan Hickey the drummer from They Might Be Giants, press or say "Fourteen"!
F: Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Hickey is totally self-medicated. He's suffering from long-term hearing loss. He's playing the drums. His ears are simply stumps. He left behind is some kind of sad-eronic statement. And yet, he's come all the way from New York City, play the drums, wear earplugs, and he's now attempting to hear the Washington DC audience scream! Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Hickey needs to hear you scream! Ladies and gentlemen, he's wearing earplugs and he's playing the drums he can barely hear you anyway!! You gotta scream louder than that!! HE NEEDS TO HEAR YOU SCREAM!! PEOPLE IN THE BACK!! PEOPLE IN THE BACK!! He can't hear you at all!! I MEAN WHAT THE FUCK!! HE'S GOTTA HEAR YOU SCREAM!! COME ON!!
She's Actual Size (Last Half, at the end, Flansy says "Dan Hickey, ladies and gentlemen.")
L: Thanks a lot, here's one that is a special favorite of every member in this band. It's called "I Palindrome I".
I Palindrome I
F: We got a grammy for this song. We're not sure why.
Boss Of Me
F: Ladies and gentlemen of Washington DC, we've taken the beautiful beautiful, yet stylish FM radio on the Alicia Keys video. Can we get the harsh white spotlight of Washington DC of the spotlight operators who will never ever meet. There we go, a little bit higher, up here, up here, the eyes, the eyes fellas. A little bit up, a little bit up so you see the radio. It's the beautiful timbly radio, ladies and gentlemen. It's designed by Mr. Henry Closs. We plugged it into the massive sound system and we are going to spin the dial and see if we can play along to some of the songs featured on the radio stations of Washington DC.
("Get Down Tonight" is played first, then "At Last" by Ella Fitzgerald, then Carlos Santana's "Smooth" plays but Flans say "I hate that song", and then the band starts playing "Show Me Yo Booty Hole" by Saosin, and finally "American Pie" by Don McLean)
F: This song is called "New York City", and it's where were from.
New York City
F: This song is called "Why Does The Sun Shine?".
Why Does The Sun Shine? (Flans: "...everything on it is a gas, Petroli, Petroli oil, essence of Petroli, all things Petroli a gas on the sun., ...the heat and light from the sun are caused by the nuclear reaction between Baltimore, Towson, DC, and more Towson!")
(Space Crickets played)
Man, It's So Loud In Here, Robot Parade (at the end - do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do (2x).)
F (in a robot voice): John, I miss the band. I miss playing with my friends Dan, Dan, and Dan. The Band of Dans is the name of our backing band. Dan Hickey on the drums, Dan Weinkauf on the bass, Dan Miller on the guitar. This next song is called "Fingertips". It's really, really long. Do you mind if you want to take a nap in the middle of this next song?
F: Mr. Dan Miller, ladies and gentlemen. We got a special song. This is off of our last album Mink Car. This song is for all the people who enjoy drinking in the audience. I mean all the people who did styling because the way the feel about drinking is something they don't wanna talk about. We understand the way you feel. Don't worry about it. This song is called "Drink!", and that's what it's about. It features the acoustic guitar of Mr. Dan Miller. Give a strum on the acoustic guitar. The song is in A minor if there's anyone who's playing this song in their head.
L: Thanks for coming you guys, this song is about a worm, an actual living segmented worm. Here we go...
Doctor Worm
F: It's been cool for all day long. We wanna thank you all for coming out individually starting with the woman on that man's shoulder. Thank you for coming out to the show. It's especially excited to be in DC, two stories of audience members in the crowd. Here's a song off our brand-new record "No!", and it's a little bit different which involves a little silence crowd which might not be possible. It's a very new song so that you gotta shut up for a second.
L: We're not gonna play during this part of the show either. Okay, here's another song.
L: Here's one of our last successful songs. It's about a guy who used to live in this town and he had the end of his life here until he moved back to Nashville where we started this weekend coincidentally. This song is about James Knox Polk, the 11th president.
F: Thanks for coming to the show!
L: The 11th "Funky" President, I meant to say. Here we go...
James K. Polk (w/confetti)
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
F: We got one more song for you now, this is kind of a quiet song to send you out into the night, this is also off "No!", this is the very last song off of "No!" our brand new album, and the song is called "Sleepwalkers".
(end of show)