You must be logged in to mark yourself for being at this show.
- James K. Polk
- Damn Good Times
- Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal
- All Time What
- New York City
- Mrs. Bluebeard
- Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2
- Particle Man
- The Famous Polka
- When The Lights Come On
- Your Racist Friend
- Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes
- Cyclops Rock
- The Mesopotamians
- Last Wave (Demo)
- Quiet Storm:
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
- Number Three
- Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head
- Doctor Worm
- The End Of The Tour
- I Left My Body
They Might Be Giants
The Kessler in Dallas, TX
February 3, 2018 at 9:00 PM
Fan Recaps and Comments:
The Kessler Effect that the Johns were talking about is a real thing! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome (Though it's undetermined if the chain reaction starts with TMBG crashing into other bands)
Some random moments of banter I recall:
Flans: "Who's got the switch for the air conditioner? Seriously. Don't be stingy with that shit."
Linnell: "Scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine. The heat and light of the sun come from the nuclear reactions of... things, stuff, objects, and [holds up his tea mug] Fiestaware!"
John: "We have to play some new songs for you." [Annoying crowd-member screams out request for When the Lights Come On] Johns: "Requesting new songs? No. We're not going to play it now." "Because we're bad at our jobs." "We were going to play it, but now: we're not. It's not like we put any THOUGHT into our setlist. It's just song song song. They're all the same." [They did go on to play it.]
They opened with "James K. Polk." This surprised me--I expected them to keep doing it during the Quiet Storm section cos that was what they did the previous two nights. I'm honestly feeling pretty burned out on this song live after seeing it a million times--seeing it done acoustically during Quiet Storm was different enough to keep me interested, but when it's just the normal arrangement I am yeh rather sick of it.
Next they played "Damn Good Times," the second song all three nights on this trip, which I very much am not sick of even though I've seen that one a bunch too. It's one of my favorite live songs, actually--it's just SO FUN. "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal" was next and also superfun, even though the presence of Curt would've made it way better.
After that Flans said that this theater was "the box that rocks," and then, gesturing at the balcony, told us that we'd be meeting our accusers one by one and then all our verdicts would be read.
After "All Time What," Flans that it was time for the "fastest-singing portion" of the show, and that they were going to try to sing together. Then John said that this show was like a re-enactment of the instore they'd done earlier in the day cos so many of the same people were there. Then Flans said that he'd gotten our verdicts and we were all guilty.
I didn't really try to think about what song has them both singing really fast and singing together when he said it, but if I had I probably would've been able to figure out what the song was: "Letterbox." I was really excited to see it again, cos it's one of my top top top favorite songs.
After "New York City," Flans said that the show was "going too fast." Then he made them turn the house lights on for a "beard assessment." He said the beards looked "shockingly natural," and ordered a "round of beards" for everyone.
John said that they were going to be playing a lot of new songs and it was "a burden" and "a weight pressing down and crushing everything." I don't understand why they kept acting like we were going to hate seeing the new songs so much--I loved it and actually wished they would play more new songs.
Then Flans said that what they were aiming for was volume, and "as Bob Dylan said, there's just too much sound." Then they played a little bit, and Flans said if you buy I Like Fun you can get "all your favorite classical themes in one set."
Then they played "Mrs. Bluebeard." John really mangled the lyrics when they played it for the first time two days prior to this, but then the next day he did a lot better and only screwed up a couple of times and I was proud of him! But this time he was back to screwing up all over the place again. I was amused because afterwards he said "That's how it goes!" NO IT ISN'T JOHN. (Yes, I of course understand that he knew that too and that was the joke.)
Next they played "Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2" which is one of my fav Glean songs, so I'm glad that one is still in the set.
After "Particle Man" and then "The Famous Polka," Flans said that they were playing two sets, which gives plenty of time to email and text.
JL: We're playing a lot of new songs, so bear with us.
JF: No one likes the new songs, John. But we've already locked the doors!
Then there was this really obnoxious and probably drunk woman screaming for "When the Lights Come On," which they were most likely going to play anyway because they'd already played it at every other show on the tour. They said they weren't gonna play it and she just kept screaming for it. Then Flans said that they were gonna play it but now they weren't because of her, and then she started yelling "BUT I LOVE YOU," which made Flans tell a story about how they played at Bonnaroo which "is like being on the surface of Mars, you want to be anywhere else, and we were getting paid," and he met someone who told him how TMBG meant so much to them "and by the way, I love '500 Miles.'" Then the obnoxious woman went back to screaming, and I guess Flans figured there was no way to get her to shut the fuck up besides playing the song, so he asked John if he wanted to play it and John said "Sure. Fuck it." So then they played it and it was COMPLETELY AWESOME like it had been the other times I'd seen it, but also I was just happy to not have to hear that woman screaming anymore, and I'm sure all the rest of the crowd and the band and well anyone else in the building actually were too.
After "Your Racist Friend" they played "Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes," YES YES YES. Even though I'd just seen it the day before I was ecstatic, since it's one of my fav songs and I've only seen it live a handful of times.
Next came "Cyclops Rock"--I'm really happy that's one of the Mink Car songs they've brought back into the set. It's great live--SO ROCKIN'.
Afterwards, Flans asked John about the current political climate.
JL: It's awesome!
JF: Who needs nightmares when you have daymares? Things are gonna be great...later.
John introduced "The Mesopotamians" by saying that when he was a kid in 3000 BC there was a TV show about them.
Then came the set break and then Quiet Storm, the first three songs of which were the same as the previous two nights: "Older" and "I Like Fun" with the contra-alto clarinet, then "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" on accordion. Before the third Flans said they were "Tres Might Be Giants" and made Marty give a sample of what he can do with the electronic drums.
After that there was something that really upset me:
JF: How are you, John? How are you doing with that accordion?
JL: I'm ok. The accordion...just have to deal with it.
This is definitely not the first time I've witnessed him complaining about how much he hates playing accordion these days and I'm sure it won't be the last, but it still really upsets me every single time because seeing him play it is pretty much my favorite thing.
Then Flans was talking about the storm sound effects--he reassured us that they are in fact not just fans blowing in mics.
Then they played MY THEME SONG. Nothing is ever going to be as special as seeing it for the first time the day before, but I was still unbelievably excited to see it again.
After that they played something they hadn't played either of the previous two days: "Meet James Ensor." So that was an unexpected surprise. I love that song, and I thought it worked really well in this format.
Then the band came back on stage. Flans introduced Dan as being "the finest guitarist in They Might Be Giants."
Next they played "Istanbul." I'm so unbelievably sick of this song live, but I do at least like the crazy jam session at the end of it. Flans jumped up on Marty's drum riser for part of it and it was silly.
Afterwards, Flans said he was sick of that acoustic music and that it "reminded him of his folkie days." Then he asked whoever was in charge of the A/C to turn it on (he was right, it was for some reason really warm even though it was chilly outside). Then he said that the next song they had to play "out of contractual obligation to our band."
The song was "Number Three," which is superfun live. It's become one of the Pink songs I've seen the most cos they've been playing it a lot the last few years, but I always really enjoy it.
Afterwards Flans said that they wanted to thank "the guy holding the beer perilously close to the end of his fingertips."
JF: This next song is from the album Glean, everybody.
JL: That's right.
JF: All the way back to 2015!
JL: Not a song that we have to do. A song that we get to do.
JF: Think about the good old days. 2015. Things seemed so...so normal then. No dystopian...hellscape.
They played "Answer," and then John put his accordion on and Dan came over to the keyboard. Flans said that he was getting on the keyboard "where he belongs," and I was like "Ummmm how does the keyboard player feel about you saying that?" But HEY if you ask me John does belong with his accordion on, not behind the keyboard.
The next song was a major show highlight for me: "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head"! This is a very special song to me, it was my very first fav TMBG song (in other words the one I'd most rock out to as a 5-year-old hearing my dad play his cassette of Pink), and I still love it dearly now. I've only seen it a handful of times, so it was a big deal.
Next they played "Doctor Worm," which wasn't as big a deal since I've seen it a million times, but still really fun as always.
Flans was mentioning where the next few shows are going to be, and said if we know anyone in those places we should tell them to come to the shows.
JL: If you don't know anyone in those towns...the first letter of each city...backwards spells out...an important message. I know it seems like a random tour where you like...it's like drawing a star on the map. There really is a reason for it.
JF: Our booking agent is keeping it a secret from us.
JL: Yes, he hasn't told us what the message was. We haven't been able to figure it out.
JF: But it appears the letters spell out some kind of swear word.
JL: Yes. Something very harsh.
JF: It seems to be some kind of swear word and then the words "you guys." We're not sure what it means. It's impossible to know what that message could mean.
JL: Before we get off-track here. Apparently--there's a thing called the Kessler effect. [The name of the venue was The Kessler.] And I believe it originated here. What it is, is when stuff in space starts smashing into each other and...all of space is destroyed. Do you guys know about this? And I don't know why but this theater is the very first part of that chain. The Kessler effect.
JF: I first heard about it when we were described as the Kessler effect of bands.
JL: I mean, yeh. We've smashed into, um...Soup Dragons, I believe.
(I thought he might've been making this whole thing up, but my friend Ant, who's very knowledgeable about space stuff, informed me that no it's a real thing, it actually is when stuff in space smashes into other stuff and they break apart, and it can actually be really dangerous. The "all of space is destroyed" part I'm pretty sure he made up though!)
Then they played "The End of the Tour," which is so good live (though I do think it works best as a show closer).
Next came "Spy," lots of fun as always. At each show I'd been to John played a sample of something as part of his improv part--this time it was "Here Comes Santa Claus," which was silly. I also managed to scream during the parts when Flans was trying to get everyone in the crowd to scream, even though I was feeling almost weak from excitedly singing along with every song and screaming after they played songs I particularly loved.
Then they played "I Left My Body," which was the last I Like Fun song of the night. I really loved all the new songs I got to see them play, but I just wish they'd played even more!
They closed out the main set with "Twisting," which was, as always, COMPLETELY KICKASS. For some reason Dan was singing the "she wants" backing vocals instead of John--I'm not sure what was up with that and I didn't like it.
They started the first encore with "Let Me Tell You About My Operation." This is my current favorite Flansong, so I love seeing it live.
Flans said that the next song was their new single, which I was confused by because they'd already played "I Left My Body" (which wasn't a single exactly, but the closest thing the album had). But he was just joking--it was actually "Why Does the Sun Shine?", which is of course very much not a new song. John informed us that things that are a gas on the sun included Fiestaware, which he held up his red mug when he said (holding tea instead of coffee this time, I noticed, as evidenced by the string and tag sticking over the edge). He paused for a long time before the list of things that the heat and light of the sun are caused by the nuclear reaction between, but finally it was "Stuff! Things! Items! And objects!" He is so silly!
The first song of the second encore was "Wicked Little Critta," and they closed the show the same way they did the night before: with "Birdhouse in Your Soul." A perfect close to a perfect night.
John continued on his "stripey shirts, nothing but stripey shirts" streak, so he was 3/3 on this particular show trip for me. This time it was a black and white stripey t-shirt that I don't think I've ever seen him wear before.