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They Might Be Giants: life-affirming.


Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

In response to Selfcallednowhere's comment about flans's first monologue: flans had been asleep on the tour bus and had just woken up prior to coming on stage, hence his forgetfulness/drowsiness which stopped halfway through The Famous Polka.

I see--was not aware. Ok then, will take that into consideration and revise. --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 09:19, 24 May 2015 (EDT)
Yeah, Flans had some sort of sinus infection according to Danny. Dan was also sick, but on the upswing! --Jaydn* (talk) 17:59, 24 May 2015 (EDT)


After the first couple of songs, Flans said it was "great to be back in the box that rocks." Ant informed me that they had indeed played this venue before--way back in 1988, which was their very first show in Portland! Flans has a fantastic memory...or maybe he just checked the wiki.

Flans then said he expected a wrestling match to break out at any moment. John then described the crowd as "a freaky sea of flesh." Flans also said that it seemed like the people in the balcony would be able to say "Execute them" about the people on the floor.

Flans said he'd been busy "getting baked all day." John: "You were in an oven." Flans said a couple of other things (I think there was something about different altitudes, which was odd cos Portland isn't particularly high-altitude). I was unsure if he was joking (though he said some stuff about not even understanding what he was saying), but I later found out that he apparently just took an overly long nap.

Before "Number Three," John said, "This is a song from our first album, but we're gonna force you to listen to our recent work as well." Awwww, John.

So then there was the same block of all of four accordion songs as the night before. They were all great, but I just wish so much that it hadn't been such a meager offering.

After "The Famous Polka," John said that titling it that had been "wishful thinking."

When Flans got out his harmonica for "32 Footsteps," John asked him if it was a Hohner. "Of course it's a Hohner, John." John said there are some people who are very loyal to the "Attaboy Harmonica" brand, and to not underestimate that one. We'll come back to that later.

I love "32 Footsteps" live, but it is always disconcerting to hear John sing it in his normal voice.

After that the phone rang, and it was Mama They Might Be Giants this time. "It's almost Mother's Day! Don't forget to send me stuff!"

She said she remembered when all the band members "sprung from my loins--simultaneously, like a horrifying human litter. It was so visceral." She said that she was so strung out on the drugs that she was only able to think of three names, and "I don't care what anyone says, I love you guys."

Before "Answer," Flans said that the Dial-A-Song songs are "difficult to start and complicated to finish." He went on to say that the song they were about to play was "one of the best ones"--so sweet.

Flans then talked about how they were starting "the world's least-ambitious Destiny's Child cover project. We only cover one song." He said that they were spiritually in touch with one who got fired, and that each performance was " a long-distance dedication to her" in spite of the fact that they didn't know her name. John: "A simple web search would've told us, but we don't wanna know."

Flans said he would be playing the part of Kelly Rowland, who is the only member of Destiny's Child that he knows the name of besides Beyonce. Then John said they were trying to decide the name of the cover band, and that names they'd considered were Destiny's Child's Child, Destiny's Child's Grandchild, and Destiny's Child's Mom. Someone yelled that it should be They Might Beyonce, and John said that was clever, maybe too clever.

So then they did "Bills, Bills, Bills," and I became a Flansgirl for three minutes, because oh man, he was just killin' it. John was still an adorable nerd of course, but oh my god, Flans.

Mama TMBG called again during the "Older" break, but rather than saying hello she played a bit of harmonica. Then she apologized for having pocket-dialed the number. "That's all right, no one minds the show getting dragged down incessantly," John replied testily.

Mama TMBG played some more harmonica, and then did an endorsement for the Attaboy brand. "For friends and holidaytime, remember...Attaboy Harmonica. For playing harmonica." Then John made a joke about it sounding similar to the name of the leader of Turkey.

I really loved the phone calls bit--much better than the Avatars. Flans is such a skilled and hilarious improviser, and John is an excellent straight man. I loved that John made this silly throwaway joke about the brand of harmonica and then Flans turned it into this whole funny thing--that's exactly the kind of thing he can do well.

While explaining how people should turn the lights on their phones on and hold them up for "Madam, I Challenge You to a Duel," Flans said people should go ahead and do it even though he knows Portland is "an independent-thinking town."

After "I Palindrome I," Flans said he needed his guitar sharpened. Then after "Let Me Tell You About My Operation," he said, "You've gone from an ok audience to an excellent audience." I don't know what this meant, but thanks, Flans!

Then Flans said the show had been going too fast, and they needed Dan Miller to slow it down. John: "Can you slow the fabric of time?"

Someone yelled what sounded like "Take off your pants!" I don't know who it was directed at, but I wouldn't have minded too much if it were John. To my sadness and great shock, he didn't comply.

They started the second set with "Can't Keep Johnny Down," which was an excellent choice. Like with "Erase" the night before, those songs being great leadoff tracks translated to them being great set openers.

A couple of songs later John told one of his random little anecdotes that I love so. He said he'd seen Going Clear, that new HBO documentary about Scientology. Flans interrupted to say that they don't talk about Scientology much, even though "it is in our minds every day," but that they'd brought it up in Los Angeles, which was a bad place to mention it.

Then John said that while watching the documentary he'd noticed that Tom Cruise and David Miscavige both make little tents with their hands while speaking at a podium, and that he'd just realized he was doing it too. He demonstrated what he meant by putting all his fingers on his keyboard stand clustered together with his palms up in the air.

He said it was a virus, and then Flans said it was like your hands are walking and started doing that with one of his hands across John's keyboard stand. John was laughing a lot and it was SO FUCKING CUTE. I love it when they crack each other up. Then John said that Flans had dinosaur hands.

"James K. Polk" had more ADORABLE Johnspazzin', and more cheering for "and made the English sell the Oregon Territory," both of which were lots of fun!

When Flans said the next song was from Album Raises New and Troubling Questions, there was a surprising amount of cheering, so he said the album is "popular in Portland and nowhere else."

So the show was wonderful because shows are always wonderful, but I must admit to being a bit disappointed that they played almost exactly the same set as the night before in Seattle--they just changed the order of some of the songs and took out "Dig My Grave" (why they removed that song of all songs is a mystery, cos it kicked all the ass live).

This surprised me, because a lot of times they change at least a song or two from night to night, and you'd think they'd be particularly likely to do it for two cities that are so close together, meaning probably more than a few people went to both shows. They were doing some songs I would've killed to see at some earlier shows, like "They'll Need a Crane" and "Mammal," and I was hoping we'd get one of those or something equally awesome. But the set we did get was fantastic, so I guess I can't complain too much.

One last thing that no one else will give a fuck but made me really happy: I won what I guess you could call a little bet with myself re: John's outfit. He of course always does the thing where he apparently goes through his closet every three or four years and throws out all his shirts and then buys like five new ones and those are the only shirts he'll ever wear (well, that's what it seems like, anyway).

So I'd made careful note of the shirts he had on the tour, and I predicted that at the two shows we would see an appearance by his main Shirt of the Moment (blue stripey pocket t-shirt) and/or his black pocket t-shirt. I was very happy to see that he wore the latter in Portland. So I guess I have a new trophy for my case of obsessiveness awards, or something.