So Friday night I went with Sarah to see They Might Be Giants. I was kinda nervous, because I haven’t seen them live before (if it was a bad show, would it taint my view of my favorite band?), and also because it was at a dance club in Boston (The Roxy) and I’m not much of a dance club kinda guy.
My fears about the dance club were allayed as we waited in line outside. The doors opened at 7, and we got there around 6:30, so we were standing around awhile. The other people in line were very nice and laid back. I heard people making programming jokes and a guy came up and gave us a CD of his band (“Fish Crackers: a Space Rock Opera”). I should have realized that a crowd of TMBG fans would be cool people.
Then the doors opened, the security guy looked at our IDs with extreme skepticism (Sarah’s ID is a NY driver’s license with a picture of her age 16, and my license is a picture of me with a fatter face, full beard, and giant cop sunglasses), begrudgingly stamped us with an “over 21” stamp, and we went upstairs.
For extra redundancy, everyone with an “over 21” stamp then gets a wristband once they get upstairs. As we got ours, we noticed John Flansburgh’s parents checking in. I remembered that John and John, despite being New Yorkers now, were originally from MA.
The Roxy is a pretty neat club, done up in a mixture of baroque and art deco styles.
Once inside, we waited around on the dance floor for the show to start. An eclectic mix of generic music played. Then, at 7:45, the curtains parted and the show began.
I was not disappointed.
They played songs from across the TMBG spectrum. There were conversations with the dead, horn players with backstories and experimental names, audience interventions, philosophical banter, confetti, and all-around fun.
Here are the songs they played, at least the ones I remember them playing. There are probably some I left out.
In not the correct order:
Damn Good Times
Upside Down Frown
Take out the Trash
Museum of Idiots
E Eats Everything
XTC vs. Adam Ant
Alphabet of Nations
Drink! (with audience substance abuse intervention)
It’s Not My Birthday
Don’t Let’s Start
Memo to Human Resources
Walk This Way (only the beginning, due to undead protests that it “wasn’t rocking hard enough”)
Istanbul (with an extended sax intro)
With the Dark
Particle Man (with a surprise twist ending)
Bee of the Bird of the Moth
Narrow Your Eyes
I glanced up a few times at the balcony where Flan’s family was, they looked like they were having a great time. I wonder if they go to shows often…
At the end, there was an encore, then after the encore, even as cleaning guys were coming out and the show was clearly over, there was still more cheering, so John and John came out one more time. They were actually being kicked out (a disco was starting in a few minutes) but they had time to do a quick song. It was cool to have one song with just the two Johns on stage.
The show was around 1 hour and 45 minutes, which seemed like just the right amount of time (since we were on our feet the whole time).
Sarah and I saw Neil Cicierega (Lemon Demon) standing a few feet from us in the audience, but we were too shy to go up and say hi. He looks even thinner in person than in photos.
Then on the way home there was torrential rain and we nearly died, but came out the other side intact.