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Fan Recaps and Comments:

Richard E. Green (originally posted to

My 27th show....which in the TMBG universe means absolutely nothing (in other universes however...). After the VH1 Storytellers show they did at Joe's Pub in February, I wasn't sure WHAT to expect. I thought it might be another stripped down band again. Certainly all 5 of them couldn't fit on stage....well, somehow, they managed. This show was performed by John John Dan Dan Dan with all of their equipment (including the radio)...the only thing lacking was the sax and Hickey's effects pad. They were also using floor monitors instead of the ear ones for some reason. Man, I had no idea what I was in for. You see, Apollo 18 was the last regular album I bought by TMBG before I was caught up, and I really didn't like any but 3 of the songs on it for a long time. I went over a year without even listening to it. And then....I gradually started liking it more and more and more....I guess it could be called TMBG's No Code album....and it's now one of my favourite albums, with only three tracks I regularly skip (and none that are intolerable). Plus, most of the songs on this album, aside from the ones that regularly have been played over the last 11 years, I haven't seen before. Infact, of the 18 tracks, I've only seen 8 in concert....only Pink, Lincoln and Misc T (which never get played anyway) have I seen less of. Anyway, I knew that no matter what, this was going to be a unique show, and a staple in their live career. I wasn't expecting it to FINALLY knock down Providence 10/27/01 as the spot for the #1 concert EVER though!
Just a couple little comments.....I noticed that Linnell is now using a sustain pedal with his keyboard, although the only song I noticed him using it on was Spider. He also replaced the power strip of the side of his keyboard with ACTUAL installed outlets and a light switch, although nothing was plugged into them tonight. He was also back to wearing converse and had a REAL coffee mug instead of a cup tonight. I think tonight was the record for most songs Miller has ever used the MIDI Guitar on. I know lots of people think that artificial sound is a disgrace to musicians everywhere, but I really dig it :) ... anyway, after everyone had their 2 drinks, the show got on a roll:
Orff Intro - seemed to get a lot of laughs from the audience. Full strobe lights and everything....seemed highly inappropriate for such a small venue, which made it funny
John, John, and Danny Weinkauf came out and they announced that they would warm up the show by performing the entire John Henry album, followed by Monkey's Headquarters, which was an album by Stackridge, a band which nobody's ever heard of, but many bands list as an influence. There were a bunch of weird Stackridge references throughout the show.
Violin - also got a lot of giggles from the crowd. Miller and Hickey joined the band after the song.
Drink! - dedicated to everyone in the audience beyond their 2 drink minimum (there were a bunch of 2min jokes tonight)
Letterbox - unlike last time at Joe's Pub, the full band performed on this, same style as it's been done live over the last couple of years
Destination Moon - learned for the last Joe's Pub show. Flansburgh had the chords written on his hand (who'd think with all the "new" songs tonight he'd need a cheat sheet for this one), and then pointed out that OTHER members of the band didn't need to look at their hands, while giving a mischievous look at Miller. It wasn't revealed on stage, but Dan Miller had a index card with the chords for this song taped to the top of his steelstring, which I noticed after the show.
and now the entire Apollo 18 album! And they didn't even mess up the order. Flansburgh mentioned that this moment couldn't compare to how tense the band felt back in 1992 around when the album was released, but fortunately everyone that was in their lives at the time were now out of their lives. Flans took center stage and played a rather fast opening riff of
Dig My Grave - Miller on electric guitar finally. More inappropriate strobe lights. right into...
I Palindrome I - without so much as a pause. At this point I thought they were going to try to rush through the entire album as fast as possible, but they later went on to have some pretty long banter sections
She's Actual Size - Flansburgh performed the beginning of the song with the wireless mic from the dressing room, as he wanted to go get a glass of CocaCola. Linnell did the "..from Brooklyn" intro on it. Linnell on organ, Miller on MIDI Guitar (trumpet). AND THEY ONLY DID A 20 SECOND DRUM SOLO!!!! For the slow verses, Flans rolled around on the floor, and hid behind the guitar amps for the last verse. There was a huge cracking sound at the very end of the song, and it freaked out the techs, so they took some time to make sure that nothing was blown up.
My Evil Twin - first time seeing live, and first time it's ever been played in NYC. Linnell on clavinet, Miller on electric guitar, Flans just on vocals. I admit, I used to always hate this song so much that I always skipped it, but over the last year or so I finally started to dig it, and it's a great live song. I hope it stays in the setlist. at this point Flansburgh realized that every band member was playing a red instrument. There was an awkward moment of silence, and Linnell yelled at the audience "cmon guys! You talk during the songs, and you don't talk between them?"
Mammal - introduced by Linnell as a song "about our little furry friends." Unlike last time at Joe's, Linnell played accordion on it.
The Statue Got Me High - Flansburgh played the song in G, and Miller played it in F#, so it sounded very weird. after this song, Flansburgh took time off to tune his guitar. John said "castrated, owned by someone who won the lottery, how can you lose?" which made absolutely no sense to me (I later found out he was refering to a recent horse race), and then in the end they commented that the next song is so non-musical that the audience is going to wonder why they bothered tuning at all, and Flans hit a reality check, and then blurbed out "gee, we're giving a great idea of the level of professionalism that Joe's Pub books here!"
Spider - totally non-musical, as always. Segued right into
The Guitar - with the traditional opening! Unlike actual size, they stretched this one out for 8 minutes, with a Kaoss Pad solo in the middle
Dinner Bell - First time seeing it with John doing vocals. He didn't do the cute "pointing to every body part in the song" like Julia did though. right after that song, John commented that the only way A18 could be a better album is if there was a break for the band to catch their breath between every track. This got Flans going on a discussion about how A18 was their last vinyl record, and only in Germany, and then told a story about German autograph fiends who've been selling stuff on ebay for the last 35 years who stalk the band every time they tour in Europe. Anyway, they couldn't remember where the side break was, but they thought it was at this point....anyone know?
Narrow Your Eyes - first time live for me. This song actually had a lot of pep to it for being a slow sad love song. Miller on acoustic, Linnell on organ, Flans on electric guitar. Flans introduced the next song as being very scary
Hall of Heads - the one song on A18 that has NEVER been performed live before. And OMG, they NAILED it!!! Although Constellation is my favourite song on A18, this was definitely the most amazing performance of the night. Miller on MIDI Guitar (first strings, then bari sax, and finally orchestra hit at the outro), Linnell on Piano, Flans on Electric Guitar. All I can really say is it was POWERFUL AND ROCKING! Oh, and Flans had a bunch of hand motions for the refrains.
Which Describes How You're Feeling - first time played live since 1993. John looked really embarrassed to be singing this song at all. It was done with John on organ, two electric guitars, bass and hi-hat. This song just doesn't work live.
See The Constellation - John forgot to put his accordion on until the last second. This is my first time seeing this song live, but I've heard a recording of the new arrangement from a west coast show from last month....and it makes an already kick-ass song even more ass-kicking. I reallyreally hope this song stays around for a while. Overall it seemed to get the biggest round of applause of the night.
If I Wasn't Shy - this is another song that just doesn't seem to work live. There just isn't really much to it. Linnell played accordion on it, and Miller played electric guitar, and Flans did a sway-dance with his mic stand. This song did an instant, perfect segue into
Turn Around - yet another first time song for me. Miller and Flans left the stage for the first half of this song, and when Flans came back for the loud part, he sat down and started tuning his guitar again, and remained sitting for the rest of it.
Hypnotist of Ladies - ending the 7 song streak of first-timer's for me. This performance didn't seem to have as much BANG to it as some recordings and webcasts I've seen of it, but still fun. I think the band was getting tired.
After this song, Flans mentioned that this show wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Mr Danny Weinkauf. He told a story about how the band was sitting around the rehearsal hall one day, and Flans said (in a miss piggy voice) "man, all of our songs are so hard to play live that we'd never be able to do half of them live" and then Linnell said (in a Swedish chef voice) "phew! msmememema!" and then Weinkauf said "stop talking in those muppet voices and remember that playing these songs is just about learning how to use long term memory" and so he was basically responsible for the next song ever being played live.
Fingertips - I've seen this song so many times that I don't really need to say much. Flansburgh took his glasses off for this song, and he looked almost completely unrecognizable. And they sang some of the stanzas in various Muppet voices.
they did an introduce the band after this song. Linnell was introduced as MC Mumbles, and Flans as DJ Whatzhisface. They mentioned that the next quarterly report, with the next album (JOHN HENRY!?!?!?!?) in sequence, with the exact same people there in the exact same seats, would take place around the middle of August
Space Suit - introduced as the first song they played at their first ever concert. Linnell on accordion and vocals, Dan Miller on Kaoss Pad, Flansburgh on Electric Guitar. This is a really fun song! I was actually able to sway along to it in my seat. They should do it more often than once every 10 years! after this song, the band left the stage, but they returned a couple minutes later and went right into
Hey Hey We're The Monkees - incredibly cheezy, but still fun
Spin the Dial - seemed highly weird being done in this venue. They never really hit any good songs to play on, but Flans did some fake DJing along with some of the foreign stations
Sleepwalkers - FINALLY! I've been wanting to see the full band version of this song for 2 and a half years! When they started, Flans was playing in A, and Miller in E. They stopped and Flans asked "is this song in E or A?" and the band all said "E, John!" and they made it through the song and then left.
well, what else can I say? BEST. SHOW. EVER!