From This Might Be A Wiki

Fan Recaps and Comments:


This was my first time going to a show at this venue, which is to be expected since it was my first time being in Eugene at all. It was all right--smallish, which can be nice.

The initial banter when they first came on stage was also about the venue. Flans said that because they've been touring for 30+ years he always has trepidation when saying they've never played somewhere before, but he was pretty sure they'd never played here before. He said they had played in Eugene before, but the last time they did they were touring in an Econoline van. He said they did a college show and were "doing eightballs of cocaine and heroin."

They once again opened with "Pencil Rain," followed by "I Palindrome I," both of which were cool to see again. Then John picked up the contra-alto clarinet, and Flans said they wanted to remind people that the show was going to be featuring it. John: "'Remind' is a strong word. Notify." Then Flans informed us that it was not the contra-alto clarinet that could be seen on signs put up by the local high school saying one was missing.

JF: We don't even know that custodian!

JL: I did take one of the pull-tabs with the phone number to say that I don't know where it went.

Then Flans said the thing again about how they'd be playing two sets, and we should treat them like an opener and hold our applause till the second set. "Talk to your friends about how we're like They Might Be Giants but not as good."

Then he said the thing he also keeps saying that makes me so sad about how they'd be playing new songs and we should just pretend we like them. Then he said Joe Franklin had told them "It's all about sincerity, and if you can fake that, you can do anything." Then they played "All Time What" and then "Damn Good Times" (both fantastic as per usual).

Then they were starting to play "James K. Polk," and John was talking during the intro. He said that on the album he mispronounced the name of this state. "But I'm here to make amends. That's why we're here." He pronounced it correctly as he sang (like he normally does, so it was only notable because of him calling attention to it) and people cheered. Afterwards Flans said, "Well played. They were buying it." John said again that he said it wrong on the album, and then said it the incorrect way, and people booed. "Yes, let's let the dirty laundry air." Flans said that when people ask them how to get to Houston St. (pronouncing it like the name of my hometown and not the name of the street in Manhattan) they just tell them where it is, and John said they give them directions to Texas. Then Flans said that's a New York joke that doesn't really work here.

Flans asked John how his day was, and he said he went to a coffee shop that he couldn't remember the name of. Flans said he went to a bagel shop where the wifi password was "bagelbagelbagel," and John said he would've guessed only two "bagel"s. Then Flans said he'd tried to go to some shoe store called Shoeaholic but he got there just as they were closing, and that he'd wanted to beg them to let him in by telling them "I've hit my rock bottom." John: "I think you've bought enough shoes, John Flansburgh."

Then Flans said they were about to play two songs from their new album, and that before the show they'd been "doing shots of truth serum" and so he could tell us that it's "so much better than it has to be." Then he said this is their 20th album, and when they were making their 18th they'd looked at the list of other bands' 18th albums on Wikipedia and found a surprising number of good ones, but he thinks this one stand alone as the only quality 20th album.

The two new songs they played were "Mrs. Bluebeard" and "I Left My Body," both of which were great (I suppose at this point I don't even need to note the fact that John did mess up the lyrics on the former though).

After "Your Racist Friend," Flans said that he wants to "dedicate my performance to the people standing directly next to my amp. I have a lot of dreams, and one of my dreams is to never have to stand directly next to my amp. I don't want to leave a permanent memory on your left ear. And I noticed you were having a conversation, which seems impossible. I'm making a dedication to long-term hearing loss."

Then Flans was introducing Curt, who was standing at the back of the stage. John said it makes him feel self-conscious when people are standing behind him, cos it feels like they're looking at his hands as he plays his keyboard. "Am I folding my thumb under the right way? Is my total ignorance of technique that obvious? The answer is yes." (Awwwww John, I'm sure you're fine darling!)

Next they played "Turn Around," YES YES YES. There was some quality JL spazziness adding to the usual amazingness of the song.

Next they did "Spy." During the part where they were just playing the song normally (before the improv section I mean) John kept lifting one arm up into the air after he played something--I'm not really sure why, but it was cool. He played the "Here Comes Santa Claus" sample during the improv part when he was conducting again.

Afterwards, Flans was complimenting how well we did the part of the song where he directed us to cheer. "That was nimble. Sometimes it's like directing a dinosaur in hospice. That was delicious."

Flans introduced "When the Lights Come On" by saying it's "relentless," which is a good description. He also reminded us that "Dan Miller's fingers never leave his hands." The song was rockin' and terrific as usual.

Afterwards, people were smoking pot (annoying me as it always does, not because I have any problem with pot in itself but I just hate the smell). Flans: "The pot smell begins. And once the pot smell begins it will never end." He said it smelled like cheap pot, and "this is the HiFi. There are standards." Then he told that one story that's immortalized in the one TMBG Unlimited recording, about how there was a time when they kept smelling cheap pot at their shows but then one member of their crew left and they suddenly stopped smelling it.

Then he said that it reminded him of the next song, and he wanted John to introduce it. He asked John something about making a Laugh-In reference and John said he didn't want to. Then he said that they're older than the rest of the band and they've gotten into fights with them about whether Laugh-In was funny, and that it's like being a parent and defending something you don't really believe. Flans said that it was like saying George W. Bush wasn't really that bad, and that he was, it was just easy to forget, like a scar on your hand is easy to forget. Then John said that he did remember the Laugh-In reference he was supposed to make. Flans: "Jesus christ! Show business professional!" John said he was just confused from all the pot smoke, and he was struggling to find oxygen molecules. Then he said the next song was from a TV show that was on before Laugh-In. The song was "The Mesopotamians" (as expected, since I'd seen him do this joke before).

Before they played "This Microphone," Flans was talking about the percussion thing Marty plays during it that looks like an orange. He said that it was a real orange, and Marty had lanced it with a drumstick and replaced the pulp with magic beads.

Afterwards Flans said that for being a sold-out show in a small venue it was surprisingly comfortable, and that usually at this point in such a show they were puddles on the floor begging for the A/C. John said some people want to see that, and Flans said they were trying to change their reputation of just being puddles.

They once again closed out the first set with "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal" into "Birdhouse in Your Soul." TOO MUCH ROCKIN'. I CAN'T HANDLE IT. No seriously it is an amazing way for them to end the set, but I'm not kidding about all the excited boppin' around and really really enthusiastic singing along I can't stop myself from doing on both those songs having an intense physical effect on me. I guess I should just be grateful I then got the whole between-sets break to recover.

So then after the break they came back for the Quiet Storm, opening with the contra-alto version of "Older" as per usual. Afterwards, Flans said that even though this was an acoustic set Marty had "opted in with the limitless noise potential of the electronic drums." Then he made him play whatever that bit of that Phil Collins song he keeps making him play is.

After that they played "I Like Fun," then Flans started to introduce "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." He said the hostility of the song is "comforting," because it means people being that way now isn't new, and that things suck right now, but they will get better.

Before "Shoehorn with Teeth," Flans said that Marty was "abandoning his electronic drums manifesto of the last five minutes and returning to his vaudeville roots." He also said that the bell Marty was playing came from the same high school that had put up the signs for the missing contra-alto clarinet.

Then something really funny happened. Flans said John should move over cos he wasn't in the light enough (which he wasn't). John said it's hard to light him when he has his accordion on, because it creates shadows on him. Flans: "The accordion is like Dracula." Then some girl (not me, I swear!) yelled "IT'S SEXY" and John said "No it isn't," which was the part that amused the hell out of me because of course he was DEAD WRONG. Then he said "But thank you for saying that" but did not exactly seem sincere--I think he was rather uncomfortable honestly so that made me feel bad for him, but yeh I was still really amused. But I did also have this feeling of wishing it hadn't happened at a show I was at because I figured anyone who knew about it and knew I was there would figure it was me and I would never do that (I had the same feeling a time I was at a different show and some girl threw her bra at him).

So then they played "A Self Called Nowhere" and y'know, the usual--really really intense and emotional for me, the best part of the show, etc etc.

Flans introduced "How Can I Sing Like a Girl?" by saying it was "about being in chorus."

Next they did "Istanbul." During the crazy jam part at the end, John spent some time playing (using the word "playing" loosely here) his keyboard with both his fists and also with both his hands entirely vertical.

Flans introduced "Bills, Bills, Bills" by explaining how the AV Club Undercover thing works. He said that they'd given them a list of songs "that should never be recorded or even talked about again." He said they'd first done "Tubthumping" but they weren't going to play that tonight. "It's too exciting. It's too exciting for our crew. It makes them burst into tears." Then he said after that they'd covered a Destiny's Child song, which forced them to grapple with the fact that Destiny's Child is a much more popular band than they are. He said they'd considered becoming a band whose entire act was just performing this one single Destiny's Child cover. Then he said they were going to keep performing this song both cos they'd taken the trouble to memorize it and cos it always spreads joy.

So they played that one and then "Particle Man." Then:

JL: We spent our formative years in the greater Boston area.

JF: I don't know if you've ever played lacrosse. I've had lacrosse played at me.

JL: You've been played by lacrosse.

JF: Lacrosse is like it's the end of days and civilization has broken down, and there's still an organized way of killing people. That's basically what lacrosse is like.

JL: That's basically what the greater Boston area is like.

So then they of course played "Wicked Little Critta" [insert swooning over all the video closeups of John's hands on the Kaoss Pad and his keyboard here], then "New York City." Afterwards, some guy yelled "THEY MUST BE GIANTS!" Flans was amused--he repeated it and thanked him for saying it. Then he said that sometimes when shows are ending they're getting ready to leave and they'll hear the owner of the club come over the PA and ask everyone to give another hand for "Ain't They Giants," and they realize he cares less than anyone else there.

They closed the main set with a run of familiar but still always very fun songs: "Number Three," "Twisting," and "Doctor Worm."

When they came back for the first encore, John said they'd come back sooner than it had taken them this time. Then he said that next they were going to play a quiet song, and it was "inappropriate because everyone is all hopped up." The song they played was "Dead," which I was most certainly not going to complain about seeing, quiet or not!

I was hoping they were going to play "Don't Let's Start" next since that was the second encore song for almost all the shows I'd seen so far, but instead it was "Fingertips," which I know is always a big hit live, I've just seen it many, many more times than I've seen "Don't Let's Start" so yeh not as exciting for me at this point.

They closed the show with "The Guitar," which is definitely one of the all-time best show closers!

So yeh great show overall, and I had some personal excitement afterwards too--Marty gave me a setlist!!! This was my first time managing to snag one in an exceptionally long time. I also managed to get the show poster that had been hanging in the venue's front window, which also rarely happens and featured one of the new promo pictures I'm quite fond of, so that was also thrilling!

The all-important JL wardrobe report: For the first set he was wearing the same black long-sleeved shirt he wore the previous two nights (he always wears the same things over and over, but the same shirt three nights in a row is a bit much even for him), and then for the second set he was wearing that red-and-blue stripey t-shirt he really loves, which made me happy because I really love it too and think it looks fantastic on him.