You must be logged in to mark yourself for being at this show.
- I Left My Body
- Damn Good Times
- Why Does The Sun Shine?
- Mrs. Bluebeard
- Your Racist Friend
- The Statue Got Me High
- All Time What
- Hearing Aid
- The Mesopotamians
- When The Lights Come On
- Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes
- This Microphone
- Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal
- Particle Man
- Quiet Storm
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
- Bills, Bills, Bills
- New York City
- Birdhouse In Your Soul
- Wicked Little Critta
- Number Three
- Man, It's So Loud In Here
- The Guitar
Fan Recaps and Comments:
When they came out, Flans was using both hands to high five a bunch of people in the front.
Then John said "How the devil is everybody?" I always think it's so cute when he uses old-fashioned expressions like that. Then Flans said that this is the ninth time they've played this club and they really love it. Then he said that they have both new songs and old songs, including songs that are "so old they were written before we were born, by us! Music from beyond the grave! Call the cops!" (John said the "written before we were born, by us" thing at one of the Texas shows--I'm not sure which of them actually made it up.) Then he said that just before the show they'd had some really good strong coffee on the bus.
They opened the show with "I Left My Body," which is I think a good opener since it's basically the single from the album. John sang "Dr. Bronner's soap" instead of "bat-repellant soap," which he didn't do the first couple of times I saw them do the song (before the album was out) but ended up being one of those "live lyrical variations that are so frequent they become pretty much expected" somewhere along the course of the tour.
Next they played "Damn Good Times" (so fun, as always). This was when Flans mentioned the massive shark suspended from the venue's ceiling--in the middle of the song he said, "I'm sorry, I'm distracted by the gigantic shark. I feel like wherever I go on the stage it's looking at me."
Next they played "Why Does the Sun Shine?" I like that they're doing it with Flans signing and John doing the spoken parts right now, just cos John will be so adorably silly during his parts. This time he said that a million Earths could fit inside the sun "and be burned to death," and that the heat and light of the sun was caused by the nuclear reaction between "Paul Manafort, Hope Hicks, Steve Bannon (also known as Hulk), and Jared Kushner."
After the song was over Flans started riffing on John listing all the Trump-related people. He said that they were just giving facts and not being controversial. Then he said he was trying to think of "the guy who seems too dumb to be a spy." Someone yelled that he meant Gates. "No, not Gates, Gates is smart. He's a millionaire. The guy who looks like a worm...Carter Page. He's the Kato Kaelin of our time." Then he said we should send our emails about what he was saying to the shark.
Then they started talking about I Like Fun. Flans said, "It's better than it has to be," and John said, "It's really good, but it's also overrated." Flans said that when you have to start working on your 20th album it's "oh fuck o'clock." Then they talked about how they're jut now selling copies of it on vinyl, and it "turns any home into a showplace" and you can show it off to impress your friends.
JL: Unless your friend is a record collector. Then they'd be like, "That's just a record."
JF: "You have one record, I have three."
Next they played "Mrs. Bluebeard." John fucked up the lyrics all three times I saw it in Texas, but since he'd had a whole month since then to learn it I thought he'd have it down by now. But NOPE. He totally fucked it up again, including singing one line that was completely unintelligible. Come onnnnnnnnnnnn, John!
Next they played "Your Racist Friend." I'm not really too keen on this song, but Curt is back with them again now and so I enjoy it, because the one part I love is the trumpet party-break part--particularly exciting to witness at times when it's Curt's first appearance in the show and lots of people (presumably quite a few of whom had no idea they were even touring with a trumpet player) just squeal with joy.
After that they played "The Statue Got Me High," one of my absolute all-time favorite songs and this being only the fourth time I'd seen it, but I'm sorry to say I really couldn't get myself to properly enjoy it because I was too busy being extremely upset about it being played on keyboard rather than accordion siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
After that Flans was introducing the band. He said that Dan Miller had been Tabitha on Bewitched.
After that John got out the contra-alto clarinet. Flans said that he knew we were all using our phones to do a Google image search for "oversized paperclip," but that that wasn't what this was--it was actually a piece of drywall equipment. John said that you can get them at Home Depot, and Flans started listening the other stuff you have to go by to get to them, and John said that you'll find an aisle that says contra-alto clarinets.
So then they played "All Time What." This is probably my second-fav Flansong on the album and it's really fun live, so I'm glad it's one of the new ones they're doing consistently.
After that Flans said that was the contra-alto clarinet and it was "not affiliated with other contra groups."
Then John said that he'd just noticed there are people to the side on the right of the stage too, which he thinks he's noticed times they've played here before but then he always forgets. He said that "they have us surrounded" and it was intimidating, then that there were bleachers behind the wall on the back of the stage too. Flans said that it was like the movie Inception "only even more confusing," and that he stopped being able to understand that movie very quickly. John said, "I was one of the people asleep having a dream."
After that they played "Bangs," and then the song that was the biggest surprise of the night for me: "Hearing Aid." Normally I can recognize songs immediately, but for some reason it took me a minute with this one, and when I realized what it was I was like, "Wait, seriously??" I don't think I've ever seen that song outside of the couple of Flood shows I've been to.
After that Flans said they wanted everybody to take lots of pictures, and he said that there's a filter we should all use that will make him look thinner (awww Flansy).
Then he held up three fingers and said that they're playing two sets, and that the third finger he was holding up was to remind himself to tell us that they're playing two sets. "The second set is all blues jams. No, it's all hits, other people's. We're turning into a really strange version of a cover band." Someone yelled out "Frankenstein," which led to The Johns discussing whether that song was in fact a hit or not--Flans said he thought it was, that it was the last instrumental to chart at #1.
Then John said that they had a new lighting guy, it was only his third day, and he was "crushing it." They discussed the sort of people who use that expression, and John said it was different for him cos he was "using it in quotes." Meanwhile, I was thinking that the lighting guy was definitely not "crushing it"--I thought the lighting setup was completely awful, first of all because everything was backlit, which made it impossible to get even halfway decent pictures. And besides that, the lights were blinding us half the time, and they knew that because John said something about how he'd seen a guy holding one finger up over his eye and he couldn't figure out why at first, and then he realized he was trying to have the shadow from his finger protect his eye from the lights. And I was thinking, "If your audience has to do that, shouldn't that maybe be an indication to you that the lighting setup you're using isn't very good?"
After that, Flans said that earlier that day they'd recorded an appearance on the Marc Maron podcast, and both he and they drank too much coffee, so they were all talking too fast. John said when we listen we should slow down the speed to make it sound normal.
John introduced "The Mesopotamians" by saying it was "from the album with the song 'The Mesopotamians' on it."
After that they did a back-to-back thing that was TOO MUCH: "When the Lights Come On" into "Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes." I LOVE LOVE LOVE both those songs and haven't seen either much, so to see them together like that, mannnnnnnnnn.
Afterwards, Flans said they were about to take the break between sets and if we want them to come back sooner we should remember that it's "National Overtip Your Bartenders Day," which is the same thing he said in Austin. He said if we do that then the bartenders will remember and suggest them if the club is looking to book a band for an entire year. He said it "works like the government."
After that they played "This Microphone," and then the song I'd most been looking forward to as far as Curt being back: "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal." I love him on all the songs he plays on, but this one particularly he adds so, so, so much to it. I did plenty of bopping around on this one!
They closed out the first set with "Particle Man," so that was the only accordion song in the whole first set, which is not ok. Before they started playing it John was doing his usual thing with telling everybody to clap on the backbeat, and "don't stop clapping, no matter how much I beg."
After the break and the "Last Wave" video, it was time for the Quiet Storm. This has been the part of the show I've been most looking forward to, both because John plays accordion for so much of it and because that's when they do "A Self Called Nowhere," my song.
They started it with "Older" like they always do. Katie, my friend I was at the show with, said later that she thought it sounded medieval with the contra-alto clarinet--I hadn't thought of it that way, but she was actually right.
After that, Flans thanked us for coming to the show, and then said that "we want to thank those other guys for opening for us." Then he informed us again that the instrument John was playing was the contra-alto clarinet, which had been "stolen from a high school marching band."
They played "I Like Fun," and then Flans started introducing "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." He said that we might remember that phrase from "just before you passed out in 8th grade history class." He said that it's from the next song, which is an old campaign song. "This is the song that was being played when your 11th-great-grandfather was being punched in the nose. But we like to do it our way, with no punching in the nose."
Then John informed us that we would now be moving from that song (1840), into the future, all the way to 1844, and that in the future there are "tin-foil beards and flying buggy whips." Flans added that in the future there are also "driverless beards." John then said that the next song was supposed to be completely neutral, like an encyclopedia article, and it didn't let on their true feelings about the person the song was about, which was that "he was a dick."
So then some idiot who apparently doesn't know anything about their songs yelled "HARRISON WAS A DICK."
JL: No, not Harrison. I'm talking about Polk. I mean, Harrison could have been a dick. I don't know.
JF: If he weren't a dick he wouldn't have died in two months.
JL: Sure, Harrison was a dick. I'll give you that.
JF: If he had been a patriot.
So then after the expected "James K. Polk" they played "The Famous Polka." When they started it I wasn't sure how well it was gonna work in this stripped-down setup cos it's such a high-energy song, but I actually really liked it.
After that Flans asked Marty to play something that would "put us in a Phil Collins k-hole." So Marty played something on his electronic drums and then Flans said there's something great about hearing the best part of a song over and over, and then said "while my DJ revolves it" over and over a bunch of times.
After that Flans said that the next song they played would be from 1848, and would be about Zachary Taylor. Then they did a little improv song about him--the part John sang was "Zachary Taylor/He's not Norman Mailer/That's a reference I don't get myself" and then Flans's part was "Zachary Taylor has a tail." Flans said they'll have finished the song by the end of the tour, and that he thinks they can license it to a car company. Then John said that he thought Zachary Taylor was not a dick and if you look at the Mexican War he's one of the "less aggressive assholes." Then he said, "Dig him up. Who's got a shovel?"
After that they started to play MY SONG, but they had to stop--after they'd been playing for just a minute John said it was too fast, and then Flans just stopped playing and said, "I fucked it up. I was distracted by the beauty."
Then they started playing it again, and I was once again in awe of hearing this song that means so much to me live. John has been changing a few of the lyrics, and I think he's doing it intentionally cos he's doing it this way every time. Instead of "thinking of a wooden chair" it's "sitting in a wooden chair" and instead of "on the map of the spot" it's "on the back of the spot." I keep forgetting that he's doing it this way and trying to sing it how it is on the album--it's really throwing me off.
That was the end of the Quiet Storm--next they did "Istanbul," with the full band rather than still Quiet Storm duo like I'd seen it a couple of times earlier on the tour.
After that Flans started to say that they knew we had our choice of bands that do Destiny's Child covers, but then he interrupted himself to say that there were pieces of the ceiling coming off and they were "looking forward to the renovations." John said it meant that they'll always carry part of the club with them.
So then they of course did "Bills, Bills, Bills," and as per usual I became a Flansgirl for the length of the song--I usually do on songs where he sings but doesn't play anything and is just struttin' around the stage being all cool, but he gets particularly diva-y on this one and I love it.
"New York City" was next, and then Flans introduced "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by saying "All right, time for the dance contest." And it's true--there's always a lot of dancing during that song. It's one of the reasons I love it so much live--there's just so much energy when they play it.
After that Flans was thanking us, and John said there are "two ways to be manly on stage" and demonstrated by saying "thank you" twice, first in a really gruff voice and then in a really high-pitched ones, and said that there's no other option. Flans said they were looking for "the metrosexual thank you" that's in the middle, but then he said if it's too in the middle it doesn't sound convincing. Then he said that instead of saying "thank you" when people applaud they could say "you're welcome." John: "Hi, we're The Douchebags. We'll be here every Tuesday."
Flans introduced "Wicked Little Critta" by saying it's "just like all our other songs, but it's super-fucked up."
After that Flans was going back to the thank you/you're welcome thing, and then talking about waitstaff at restaurants asking "Are you all done here or are you still working on it?" He said he doesn't like it when they say that because he doesn't want eating to be described as "work." Then he went back to the weird joke about Dan Miller being Tabitha on Bewitched, and said that when they switched between the two Darrens "the whole casting department was scrambling." He said you can only see Dan from the back, but if you look at the credits you'll see him listed. Then John played something on his keyboard that sounded like the sound effect when Samantha twitched her nose to do something magical on the show.
After that John said that in addition to "thank you" and "you're welcome" the other option was "please." Flans said that would actually work, cos it would be like you're begging the audience to stop applauding cos they're flattering you too much, and he made us applaud so he could demonstrate.
After "Number Three" (lots of fun but mysteriously placed not third in the set, as always), Flans said that he thinks at the show in LA tomorrow they'd most appreciate "you're welcome." Then John said that now instead of "you're welcome" everyone says "no worries."
After "Twisting" (one of my absolute fav Flansongs to see live, so I'm really glad it's currently in the set), and then "Man, It's So Loud in Here," they closed out the main set with "The Guitar." Another one of my absolute fav live Flansongs, and this was a particularly good version--there was a mirrorball being deployed for some of it which was great, John was hopping which is THE CUTEST, Flans said "And you don't stop," which I always really love, and Curt was an exciting addition to the Future of Sound segment.
When they came back for the first encore, everyone was applauding and Flans was saying "please."
JL: You're welcome, John Flansburgh. You are welcome.
JF: I'm still working on it.
JL: They say that with manners creativity is not rewarded.
The first encore was KILLER. It was the second time in the show they played two songs I adore back-to-back. First they played "Dead," which had more cool mirrorball effects.
And then next was "Don't Let's Start," YES YES YES. I was rocking out so hard. I couldn't help also thinking it was rather funny to be in a room full of other people rocking out really hard, quite a few of whom were, like me, singing along enthusiastically and ecstatically to lyrics like "Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful." Probably if one were to try to explain to a non-fan exactly how joyous such an experience could be they would be baffled, but within the context of a TMBG show it made perfect sense.
The second encore was "Doctor Worm"--always still fun in spite of the millions of times I've seen it, but also in this case I was just thrilled to see some more accordion, as there was way too little of it during the show.
Really great set for this show! Final obligatory comments regarding John's appearance: He was wearing a pink t-shirt with white pinstripes. He's seriously been doing practically nothing but stripey shirts this year. He's always really loved them, but he's seemingly gotten even more into them than he already was this year. He also got a really stupid haircut in between when when they ended the first leg of the tour and this leg. Needless to say I was quite upset about this as his hair is such a huge part of his attractiveness for me, but whatever, such things must be dealt with.