From This Might Be A Wiki

Fan Recaps and Comments:

Chadd VanZanten:

Tremendous show!
They played the Flood album with occasional digressions, old songs, and new songs to pad out the setlist. New song arrangements and lots of showmanship proved again that no matter how long they tour they seek out ways to keep the live show lively. They did the closed-circuit-camcorder "Avatars of They" puppet show for two songs, Beller performed James K. Polk and other numbers on an electronic drumkit, Linnell played his MAIN SQUEEZE accordion for several songs, and multi-instrumentalist (and sideburn technician) Ralph Carney accompanied the band on a veritable marching band of instruments, including clarinet, bari sax, coronet, and some kind of holeless klezmer horn. Oh, and three more words: CON. FET. TI. I didn't know what to expect from the new confetti equipment I've heard so much about, but I'm still picking flakes of mylar from my pockets and collar. I remember the 1996 Factory Showroom tour when they were first performing James K. Polk, and they shot off what they called "the cannon." If that was a cannon, I guess this is a weapons-grade confetti delivery platform (CDP), and it's really a quantum forward leap. They fired it toward the end of Lucky Ball and Chain and there was so much confetti in the air that I inhaled a piece that got stuck on the back of my throat until I coughed it out. At the end of They Might Be Giants (the Flood song) the confetti machine sprang to life again and dumped so much confetti that the only two possible explanations were (1) the machine was accidentally set to "asphyxiate" or (2) the band had just won the NBA championship. At one point Linnell grabbed a small fan from the drumkit and used it like a leafblower on his keyboard to clear the stuff away so he could play.
The opening number was Meet The Elements, a song I didn't care much for on the record but it truly rocked at the show. I always love to hear Dead and Letterbox live, and the band rocked those numbers, too. Linnell started Women and Men in the wrong key and stopped the band for a do-over, but after that they played it so well I was forced to do a nautical jig during the chorus. The show closer was Fingertips, and I'm pretty sure they opened up a crack in the Earth's surface during the epic closure of Darkened Corridors.
I found it a tad disorienting to see Linnell upstage and center on his keyboard while Flans wandered around mostly downstage left, the opposite of where you usually see him. Beller sat up in a sort of drum cupola on stage right, Miller and Weinkauf were downstage right and left, respectively. Mr. Carney had a small platform of his own at the very back-center of the stage. Stage positions notwithstanding, Flans was spiking the showmanship needle, Linnell seemed to be having a great time, and the band was REAL tight. Beller's drums were mic'ed up in such a way that he could boom out waves of sonic napalm that seemed to suck the air from your lungs. Miller was masterfully crunchy on all his instruments, but I liked the 12-string acoustic best, especially on Lucky Ball and Chain. Bringing in Mr. Carney was a refreshing, novel idea -- nice to hear clarinets in some of the older songs.
Opening act was The Guggenheim Grotto, a two-man outfit from Ireland that the crowd was really into. They're getting a lot of attention right now -- I saw an ad for their new album on EMusic. They sounded okay, and they have terrific voices. The problem (for me) with TMBG's opening acts is that I can never connect with them because they're usually so much more serious or sincere or artsy than TMBG (like the Grotto is), and I've arrived ready for a dose of Flans's offhanded irony and Linnell's bashful sarcasm. Like I said, the crowd was digging them, which was good because all too often TMBG audiences can be assholic to TMBG's opening acts.
Of course, the historic aspects of this engagement should be mentioned. First, several hardcore TMBG fans that I knew of were iced out of the 2007 Depot show because the only way to get tickets was to win them by listening interminably to a really shitty Salt Lake City radio station. I hereby withdraw the grudge I've been holding, on the grounds that this show rocked so hard I thought the building was going to fall on us. Second, TMBG is playing a family show tomorrow (later today, actually) in Murray, and to my knowledge this is the first time they've performed in Utah on consecutive days. I found it odd that even though the pathologically promotional Flansburgh was pimping Here Comes Science and the merch table, he didn't once mention the family show in Murray -- I hope they don't forget about it and drive to Boise tomorrow...