Eddie Izzard

Went to see Eddie Izzard at the Orpheum in Boston last night.

We wanted to grab some food before hand, I didn’t expect it would be so hard to find in Boston. Most of the places were either boarded up or completely packed with people. We finally picked (and by “picked”, I mean “settled on out of desperation”) a generic place called the Hub Pub, which had decent but unremarkable food, but at least was relatively empty and quiet upstairs.

After food, we walked over to the Orpheum. It’s old, and not really in a good way. The paint is peeling, the sound system is not great, and the seats have zero legroom. Our seats were not very good, either – I spent the whole show on the edge of my seat, leaning forward and to one side to peer at Izzard between the heads of the people in front of me.

The show, however, was fantastic. The combination of not-stellar audio and Eddie Izzard’s delivery occasionally made me miss a line or two, but it was a great show nonetheless. He has a rambling, stream of consciousness style to his show, branching off into asides and then eventually jumping back to the main thread. Kinda like a funnier, British version of Robin Williams. But where Robin Williams sometimes seems out of control, Eddie Izzard’s mannerisms and delivery give him the feel of a very funny guy who is slightly drunk or slightly high, trying to tell you something at a party. My face hurt a little from all the laughing.

This morning, I made this quick sketch based on one of his jokes during the show. He has a complicated lead-up to a bad pun, and when the audience groans, he’s like “fuck off – you people are saying to yourselves, ‘oh: God, Creme-Brullee, Badgers – I’ve heard *that* one a thousand times!'” Brilliant stuff.

Perhaps tonight when I get home, I’ll make a proper version of the design, and put it on VistaPrint or CafePress as actual merchandise.


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:

The Cap’m
Damn Good Times
Upside Down Frown
Take out the Trash
I’m Impressed
Museum of Idiots
E Eats Everything
XTC vs. Adam Ant
Alphabet of Nations
Dr. Worm
Drink! (with audience substance abuse intervention)
It’s Not My Birthday
Don’t Let’s Start
Withered Hope
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.

Rush concert

Went to the Rush concert last night with Ray and his friend Ty (aka Farrah).

It was a great show, a very slick lighting setup, with lasers and pyrotechnics, even.
The high point of the show was Neil Peart’s extended drum solo, which is the best drumming I’ve ever seen. He has an amazing drum kit, the whole of which rotates and has another set of stuff on the other side, including a keyboard made out of little drum pads.

I haven’t seen that many live shows, and this one was pretty impressive. Probably partly wasted on me, though – I’m not a huge Rush fan, so only knew a few of the songs.

After the show, we had a bit of an adventure. The train we thought would take us back to the car instead stopped after a few stops, dropping us in the middle of nowhere in NJ (along with a bunch of other fellow show-goers). People slowly found rides or took the bus, Ray called his roommate Steph and she headed out to get us.

While we were waiting for her to arrive, we walked around the parking lot chatting. Then we noticed a guy and his girlfriend on the other side of the parking lot. He was yelling at her loudly, at it looked like he was hitting her and knocked her down. Ray called 911, and after the rude 911 operator finished swearing at him (seriously) he reported what was going on. Shortly a small fleet of cops drove up (guess there was nothing else going on that night). After a while it looked like the guy and the girl walked away, guess she said there was no problem or something. Then Steph drove up as the cops were driving away. Her car is very loud, the muffler being only partly attached.

During a harrowing drive home (Steph likes to take on ramps at full speed regardless of the sharpness of the turn) there was a large *clank* as a chunk of metal fell off the bottom of the car and onto the highway.

The car kept going fine though, we made it home ok, and I collapsed exhausted on the couch.