From This Might Be A Wiki

Fan Recaps and Comments:

Review by John Polo:
TMBG played IIT last night, and boy it was kind of strange. Normally TMBG is on my sensitive Chicago radar, but this performance was not publicized outside of the college, and it slipped under my screen. The show was only for IIT students. By a happy twist of luck, my girlfriend's brother goes to IIT and was able to get his hands on four tickets for the wonderful college student price of $5.00 a piece What was strange about the show? Well, I was one of the oldest people in the audience. It was at this concert that I realized with full vision and alarming clarity that I've been seeing these guys live for 12 years now, since I was 17 years old. I'm 29 now. The other bit of strangeness: it seemed as if I was one of the few hard-core fans in the audience. No one really knew the songs, excepting, of course, Birdhouse and Istanbul—which the crowd chanted for before the band's encore. Luckily though, me and my old-people crew got prime concert viewing spots flush with the stage. My girlfriend even got some Flans sweat on her and the honor of plucking his guitar. I also won a battle with an annoying student for the band's setlist. Before I tell this story, let me just say that all concert long this student kept trying to elbow his way into my spot, he stepped on my girlfriend's foot (twice) and he had really bad body odor. Do you hate him now? Good. Well, I had planned on asking a nearby security guard for the band's set list, but during "James K. Polk" I saw this elbowing, foot-stepping, reeking whippersnapper trying to ursurp my prize before I had the chance to grab it. Luckily, the security guard couldn't hear him screaming for his attention, and my girlfriend strategically blocked him from getting to the stage. At this point, the student turned away to cheer for Istanbul (because, like, that was the only song he knew). I seized this opportunity to politely (be polite with these guys, and they'll usually help you out) ask the big security man for the set list. He said "no problem". What happened next was beautiful. The house lights came on after TMBG's last song, and the whippersnapper ran up to the stage to see the security guard—my security guard—pulling up the set list from the stage floor. I couldn't hear their short conversation, but the security guard, with my soon to be prize in hand, shook his head 'no' and then pointed to me (No means No dude--hahahahaha!). He delivered the list to my hands, I thanked him profusely (but not obsequiously, because that's a TMBG reason for having someone killed) all while this non-fan glared at me with daggers shooting from his eyes. Back to the show, I have some comments about TMBG's overall performance(s). I've seen them many times in and around Chicago. I even travelled to Cleveland once just to see them, which I think shows my level of obsessive devotion. Having seen them in many different venues, I've come to realize that the mood of the place they perform in can affect the band's performance. TMBG did a good job in getting the energy level of the audience up, but the crowd hit a plateau quickly and the energy couldn't climb any higher. Don't get me wrong: I had a great time up front, and I went crazy. But, this show was in an auditorium in an antiseptic student union building. Upon entering the auditorium, it just screamed "symposium" replete with projected powerpoint presentations. Musically, this auditorium is best suited for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. This, along with non-fans there, affected the show. Another example: I never, ever again want TMBG to play Navy Pier in Chicago. For those not familliar with Navy Pier, it's one of Mayor Daley's greatest accomplishments in his never-ending goal of turning Chicago into Walt Disney World. Navy Pier is too "goody-goody". It's safe, pre-packaged and extremely colorful family-fun at outrageous tourist prices. At Navy Pier you can see live blues at the strikingly original "Bubba Gump" restaurant, go to an IMAX movie, ride a giant ferris wheel, get your face painted, take pictures with a digitally imposed Chicago skyline in the background and buy innumerable trinkets and tons of other shit that you just don't need (Sorry Ira Glass, I know it's your office and all...) Bands perform on the Skyline Stage at Navy Pier, usually bands with names like "Inner Soul" and "Outer Meditations" or those bands from the '60's that have no orignal members in them. This stage is also where the show Wheel of Fortune was filmed during its Chicago stint. It's a large, outdoor venue that looks like a circus tent with really nice seats and no intimacy. The Giants play best in mid-sized places, usually old ballrooms with no seats—places that look bohemian, places that are dark with many layers of paint covering great old archetecture. To support this statement, the best shows I've seen them play in Chicago have been at the Metro, the Riviera, and the Vic Theater—all three of them having a very 'urban' feel about them (and, they serve alcohol, a mildly important plus for me). Oddly enough, the best Giants show I've ever been to was in Peoria, Illinois. It was in one of these old theaters, and I hurt for three days afterward it was so much fun. I could go on, but I'll spare this group and myself by stopping here. I'd like to hear other opinions on this though. TMBG has so many great fans out there, each show they do in each city can be as awesome as one of their New York shows—that's how much we love them, and we as fans of this band are not taken for granted by them. How awesome is that?