Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 15

Today's song is....

Hidden Track

The hidden track on Mono Puff's It's Fun to Steal to be more specific (though I guess technically, it is the only one actually called Hidden Track). This is rather appropriate since my boyfriend was just playing this for me in the car the other morning on the way to work. I can't remember if I had ever heard it before that. I don't think so. It is very odd and amusing. Flans sure does come up with some silly stuff when he's playing around with his computer. :-)

They Might Be Giants? Never Heard Of Them

It happens all the time. I'll be talking to some one and mention something about this band I follow. "Oh, what band?" they say. I answer, "They Might Be Giants." And nine times out of ten the person has never heard of them. Then I am faced with my inevitable dilemma. What TMBG song do I mention that this person might have heard but doesn't know is TMBG?

This is part one of Audience Participation. What do you use as your reference song for people who haven't heard of the band? Do you always use the same one? Do you tailor it to the person?

For my part, I usually start with Boss of Me. I figure even if somebody has never consciously heard TMBG, there is a pretty good chance they watched Malcolm in the Middle. Actually, and this had honestly never occurred to me until just now, I guess Boss of Me was almost (excepting Istanbul) the first TMBG song I heard, as I was certainly watching Malcolm in the Middle in college, several years before I met my boyfriend and began being introduced to the band.

If that doesn't ring any bells, I usually try Istanbul next. I guess I steer towards the songs I "knew" before I knew the band figuring if I knew them, then other people must too. If that still doesn't work, I'll typically try the Dunkin Donuts ads, or if I know the person has kids in the family, even Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Occasionally, I'll throw Birdhouse in their too, but I guess I generally figure if they don't know Istanbul, they wont know Birdhouse either. And if I haven't gotten them by that point, I tend to give up and accept that they have just not heard the band.

Now, part two of this Audience Participation. A friend expresses interest in hearing some of the band's music. They are either only familiar with one or two songs or have never heard them at all. What album (or collection) do you play them first?

I am often tempted to play a collection first, either homemade or the User's Guide or Dial A Song. But that, at least in my mind, always seems to reduce the band to their greatest hits which, especially in the case of TMBG, are not terribly representative of their entire body of work. There is just too much variety in the catalog. So instead, I always go with Flood. That may seem like the "easy" choice, but I have legitimate reasons for choosing it. First, if the listener has heard anything by the band before, it was probably Istanbul or Birdhouse and their presence on the album can help develop a pre-existing comfort level with the album. Second, it is TMBG's most popular album for a reason. It is really, really good. Over one million album purchasers agree. Third, it is a great showing of the range of They Might Be Giants songs. There is a little bit of everything on that album. Some great songs. Some weird songs. Fast songs. Slow songs. Songs with whips. There is really something for everybody. And lastly, whether the person likes the album is a great gage for whether they should delve further into the band. Because, while it is entirely possible to enjoy Flood, and then not enjoy much of the rest of the band's music, it is pretty unlikely that someone who dislikes Flood is suddenly going to like an entire different album. A song maybe, but probably not the whole album.

Agree? Disagree? What's your approach? And have you successfully developed any TMBG converts? I have one: my friend Marie. Though I suspect she enjoys the kids music better than the grown-up stuff which is handy since she is about to have a baby and I shall be converting him into a tiny TMBG rock fan at the first available opportunity.

P.S. Doesn't it feel good when you tell someone that your favorite band is They Might Be Giants and the person has actually heard of them? It happens so rarely for me, but is so very appreciated.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 14

Today's song is....

Garden of Eden

Despite having listened to McSweeney's multiple times, I have no actual memory of this song. And the McSweeney's disc is pretty much the only one I haven't loaded into my computer so I can't go back and listen to it at the moment. Oh well. Has anyone actually tried listening to the disc while reading the MccSweeney's book to see how they correspond? I am curious. I've only ever listened to the music.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 13

Today's song is...


I am never quite sure how I feel about this song. It is a perfect example of a song that was almost ruined for me by reading other people's interpretations. My instinct, as it usually is, is to take the lyrics quite literally (which I realize is probably pretty naïve on this song in particular). But I read several interpretations of it and suddenly that was all I could think about when I listened. I think it particularly bothers me on this song because I can't decide if I agree with any of the interpretations or not. Basically, the song kind of baffles me, I guess. But I like the music.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 12

Today's song is....

The Drinky Crow Show Theme

Here's one of the first (if not the first) song, I heard brand new when it was "released". I must have just started following the band regularly. And then I never heard it again until today when I hunted it down to listen to before posting this because I couldn't remember what it sounded like.  I never even watched the show. I guess the tune did not make that big an impression on me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 11

And today's song is....

Hot Cha

Most of my associations with this song have been with it live at Flood shows. I used to not like it that much but it's grown on me a little over time. Mostly, you say Hot Cha and I can immediately hear the buzzer coming out of Linnell's keyboard.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 10

Happy Thanksgiving all!

I suspect the random page button secretly wants me to advertise for Dunkin Donuts, as we've got another DD ditty today.

A Ton of Stuff

This is what car trips with my parents were always like as a kid which is particularly sad, since I am an only child and there was only ever stuff for three people in the car. But never the less, the car was always packed to the gills. I used to joke that I never saw anything on the left side of the car on vacations because I could never see out that window. I vividly remember one vacation in particular, where my parents had purchased a large wooden boat model as a souvenir and it was kept sliding down from it's spot in the back of the car and hitting me in the back of the head. I like to think that I am a bit better about packing for road trips but I suspect Megan might disagree as she's usually the one in the back with all of the stuff ;-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 11/24/10

This is my favorite of the most recent batch Jamie sent me. I've been saving it :-)


"Always busy cooking up an angle, working on the tiny blueprint of the angle, sketching out the burning autumn leaves" - No One Knows My Plan - They Might Be Giants

Please send submissions to theroommustlistentome@gmail.com

(If any of the newer readers are confused about what is going on here, go back and read this post which should explain everything.)

Song of the Day - Day 9

Today's song is.......

Boat of Car

Let's all just take a moment to ponder, exactly what is a boat of car? I always kind of have this vision of a duck boat like they do tours in.

I don't have much else to say about this one unless anyone would like to weigh in on the "Daddy'll sing" vs "Daddy sang" debate?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 8

I was excited to see this one pop up.

Today's Song of the Day is....

We Live in a Dump

I should make some sort of joke about this song being about my apartment, as I often feel like I live in a dump, but anyway. This is a song that I was initially ambivalent to and it grew on me over time. Now it's a song I adore but I don't think I ever remember to mention that fact. I think it's probably the most album worthy song on Cast Your Pod. For some reason, I particularly like the last few notes on the keyboard that end out the song. And it's a ton of fun live :-)

Hypothetical Live Album

They Might Be Giants are wonderful about indulging my love of the live concert experience, not just with their frequent and "reasonably" accessible touring schedule but also with the vast quantity of live shows they have made available for download (though I must admit I have not gotten to take advantage of those as much as I would like and now find that many of the ones I was interested in are no longer available. I frequently seem to be a little late to the party with these guys). They haven't, however, released a true live album since Severe Tire Damage.

So, your assignment for today's Audience Participation: what songs from the band's live show repertoire do you think should be included on a hypothetical future live album? What songs particularly shine in the live show setting or have something unique in their live performance?

Here are my suggestions:

The Guitar (with horns): This song is amazing live. You can't not dance and hop up and down while listening to this song at a show. The solos and the improv and the crackling energy this song creates are not to be missed.

Alphabet of Nations: The live version is practically a different song, what with the bridge and all and it very much needs to exist in an official recording as such.

Fingertips: This is going in so I can eternally enjoy Dan's guitar solo at the end and Megan can have Flans' ad-libbing during Heart Attack (which he will of course do in my hypothetical recording).

Withered Hope: I need this for the kick-ass bass part and the horn attack. But someone had better make sure the keyboard is turned up enough for me to hear my favorite riff without it being drowned out.

Seven: I love the adorable children on the recording but there NEEDS to be a recording of Dan saying "It's the green house at the end of the block."

Spy: Please, let Stan Harrison loose on that sax solo and then go nuts at the end. That it all.

West Virginia: I really think the TMBG version of this needs to be released into circulation. It's like the original x10.

Damn Good Times: This will give both Dan and Marty a chance to rock out.

Road Movie To Berlin: Odd choice, I know, but this is always one of my favorite parts of a Flood show. It's all quite and pretty, then the band explodes in with a surprise attack, only to retreat again into the background.

Why Does the Sun Shine? (Pirate Version): Not that this song needs another official recording, but this can't be helped. Let Linnell do any one of his ridiculous voices or just sing like a pirate with Flans, as long as the recorder is on, I'm happy.

Istanbul: Yes, we've all heard it a bazillion, million times, but I still think the current live version takes it to a whole other level. Let Dan go all Miller Time on the beginning and the horns take over the end. And if we could get Flans to scream "they say we have to go but we don't want to go" at the end too, it would make a perfect closer for my hypothetical album.

That's what I'm going with for now. I can think of a half dozen more that I'd include but I want to see what other people's ideas are. It has occurred to me before, to put together a sort of ultimate live show CD with live versions of my Dream Setlist culled from the various downloadable shows but I don't think I actually have shows with all the songs I would want to include. It's the problem of not having any shows post-'07 except for a couple of poor audio quality bootlegs. Maybe someday.

Have fun everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stage Announcements - 11/22/10

This one is just too bizarre, not to mention Thanksgiving themed, to wait until Friday. I'm not even going to try to describe. You need to see for yourselves.



Song of the Day - Day 7

Still a slightly obscure B-side but getting better.

Today's song is...

Become A Robot

This amuses me, as many things do. I've always enjoyed the humor of the "clang, clang, clang, whoops, too late" line. And then it gets kind of weird as many very early TMBG songs are wont to do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 6

Sorry, this one is so late. Another entry from the moderately obscure songs file. The random page generator is taking the word "random" to heart. But at least this one comes with a video :-)

Today's song is....


Ok, not my most favorite of the Dunkin Donuts run, but I am a fan of the series of songs in general. They entertain and amuse me (but do not, strangely, make me want to buy coffee). In other news, "pleather" is a rather strange word if you think about it too long.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 5

Ok, the random page thing is determined to pick obscure tracks to start thing off. Here's another one.

Best Of Spin The Dial

Ok, I actually had to go back and listen to it again in order to say anything about it because I'd only heard it once prior to this. I only acquired Unlimited earlier this year so there in a ton of stuff in there I have barely heard. I like this one. It's funny. Honestly, I like anything live, because, as you might suspect, live is how I prefer my TMBG. And since I missed Spin the Dial entirely as a feature, it's nice to have it documented. Flans' improv is pretty hilarious (I especially like the first one and Cultural Paradox) and it impresses me how fast the band picks up the songs.

P.S. If anyone is trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, I'll gladly accept any and all TMBG show bootlegs ;-P

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stage Announcements - 11/19/10

I guess I will keep doing this on Fridays until I come up with another idea I can make work.

Small news item today, that I thought was kind of cool. You may or may not be familiar with a series of books that has come out in recent years. There are a number of titles, all variations on 1001 ____ You Must ____ Before You Die: Books You Must Read, Video Games You Must Play, Movies You Must See, Albums You Must Listen To, etc.

The most recent volume in the series is 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die (link). And you know what song is included on page 646? That's right: Birdhouse In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants! The boys have officially been dubbed required listening, at least by the guy who wrote the book anyway. I thought that was kind of exciting.

Accompanying the listing is a short article about the song, mostly consisting of quotes from the Johns nabbed from various interviews, including the Rolling Stone retrosprective on Flood from last year. Probably not worth dozens of fans running out to buy the book unless you were interested in the other songs, but cool none the less.

Song of the Day - Day 4

I ran into a bit of a conundrum today when the song that came up was from House of Mayors rather than a TMBG track. I kind of forgot that was a possibility with my chosen method of song selection. So then I had to think about whether to include solo material in Song of the Day. I couldn't really get a consensus from the public. So I've decided to just go with it. It'll give me an excuse to include solo stuff I really love down the road when it comes up.

But for today your song is....

John Purroy Mitchel

Ok, not my favorite track from House of Mayors and there are some that I genuinely enjoy. This one is just a little too dissonant for my taste. Though I suppose it does have an impressive consistency in it's dissonance. Some of this record, I feel like, was just Linnell having fun making interesting sounding noise and recording it. I do remember, on first learning of it's existence, being very confused about why the songs weren't actually about the mayors if they were named after mayors. I got over it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 3

In an effort to keep selection completely random and not swayed by my own preferences at all, I have sworn to use the first song that comes up in my search, no matter what it is. Which I now realize is going to lead to some kind of silly songs being selected. Like this one.

Your They Might Be Giants Song of the Day is...

Goodnight My Friends

I <3 the puppets! The video of this is rather adorable.

Not the shortest song in the band's repertoire, but one of.

I can't say I have any particular feelings on the song, one way or another, but I did just learn from the wiki that Pat Dillett played keyboard on it, which I thought was interesting. That brings up something I have wondered before about the puppet videos. How did they go about recording them? I mean, I know AJ directed several of the ones on the DVD but did he do all the podcasts too and if not, who manned the camera on those? And in those instances where the puppets are singing with background music playing, was the music pre-recorded or was someone else sitting in the studio playing the music live while the puppets sang? The fact that Pat Dillett was drafted to play keys on this song, implies to me that he was perhaps playing live while they recorded, otherwise, why wouldn't Linnell just record the keyboard part and then play it back while they were doing the vocals? And, maybe I have considered this a little too much. But there is a part of me that sort of hopes that most of the music the puppets sang to was live, because I like the mental image of Dan sitting in the studio strumming on the guitar while the Johns put on a puppet show for the camera. It amuses me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Song of the Day - Day 2

And your They Might Be Giants song of the day is...

It's Not My Birthday

Last year, the day before my birthday my boyfriend posted a comment of my Facebook page that just said "lunge". I didn't get it at first, but apparently since it wasn't yet my birthday he was lunging out at me. Haha.

This is one of a very few songs that I heard live a couple of times at some of the very first shows I saw (back when I didn't know the material well enough to appreciate them) and have never heard again. I'd really like to. This is also one of my go-to birthday post songs for my friends.

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 11/17/10

Jamie is single-handedly keeping this feature in business :-)


"Fogging the view, cupping face to the window, in darkness you make out a spiraling shape" - Spiraling Shape - They Might Be Giants

Please send submissions to theroommustlistentome@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Song Of The Day - Day 1

I have decided to go forward with this Song of the Day idea. Here is my plan. To ensure complete randomness, I am going to click on the random page thing on the wiki until I get a song. That shall be the song of the day (unless I decide to pick something particular in honor of a holiday or something of that nature). I'll share a few of my thoughts in the post. You can post whatever thoughts come to mind in the comments. With any luck, some interesting discussions will emerge.

Here it goes. Today's song is.........

Disappointing Show

Ok, I laughed a little when that was the first song that came up. I think when I first heard this song, I was like "what the hell is this?" and dismissed it for quite a while afterward. Now, I have a lot more appreciation for it because I can so easily picture the circumstances under which it was performed. I love the humor and spontaneity of it, and even more so that such an off the cuff little tune made it into somewhat mainstream circulation. And while I certainly wasn't at that show, I have been at "that" show if you know what I mean and I can so recognize that moment of "oh wow, this show is so fucked" when the frustration devolves into lunacy. I especially love the band intros in the middle. And I only just noticed that the wiki page compares the song to the This American Life segment Fiasco which is pretty much my favorite TAL piece they have ever done. Good job, whoever made that connection :-)

First Things First

I was all set to write an entry on a completely different topic and I had even started writing it when I realized it wasn't going to work. I was going to do an entry called "This song always reminds me of..." about memories we associate with specific songs but I realized that, while I was looking forward to reading other people's entries, I had none to share myself. All of my memories associated with specific songs are of things directly related to the band: the first time I saw it live, some funny piece of banter associated with it, an interview quote about it, some bit of Gigantic, etc. And those don't seem like they would be very unique memories to share. I attribute this to the fact that, with very little exception, I only ever listen to music in my car, so the only associations I have are of driving. I actually do associate specific sections of road with certain songs because they would always play at the same point in my commute. And a list of intersections in Massachusetts roadways permanently linked to They Might Be Giants songs in my head does not seem like a worthy Audience Participation entry.

I also realized, since I've decided to go forward with the Song of the Day idea, that all of your "this song always reminds me of.." comments can be saved for when those songs come up in the cycle, so the idea wont be totally abandoned.

This does, of course, leave me needing to pick a new topic for the, now terribly delayed, Audience Participation. I've decided to go with TMBG Firsts. I thought this might be kind of a fun "getting to know you" exercise since I have so many newer readers. And while it may re-tread some previously covered ground, hopefully I'll think of some stuff I've never mentioned before. I'm just going to list a whole bunch of my own personal "firsts" related to the band, with some explanations where appropriate. You can use as many of my prompts as you like or make up your own unique ones.

First song I ever heard: If we are talking "heard and knew it was TMBG," On The Drag. It was the 2nd song on a mix CD I borrowed from my boyfriend, probably two years before we were dating. In terms of "heard and later realized it was TMBG," I'm pretty sure I heard Istanbul in middle school.

First album I listened to in it's entirety: Factory Showroom, though again, I had no idea it was TMBG. I was painting what was to be my bedroom, in the most ill advised housing decision of my life, with a friend from college. She had become enamored with James K. Polk at a TMBG concert a bunch of my friends had attended in Boston a few years earlier and had bought Factory Showroom just for that song. I know the album was among those we listened to while painting because I remember her talking about the Polk song. I honestly couldn't tell you which was the first album I heard and knew it was TMBG.

First song I loved: Doctor Worm. They played it at my first show. I've loved it ever since. To this day, it is one of my favorites.

First show I attended: February 21, 2005 at the Borders in Braintree, MA. It was an in-store promoting Here Come the ABCs. I was completely unfamiliar with the band (except for On the Drag and She Was a Hotel Detective, the 2 songs on the previously mentioned mix CD). I went with my boyfriend and his girlfriend at the time. I only remember four of the songs they played and the full setlist has never been entered into the wiki. But it was fun.

First thing I ever said to John Flansburgh: "Can I have some stickers?" Very eloquent. But I still have those stickers somewhere.

First album I ever bought: Miscellaneous T. Odd, I know.

First picture I ever took of the band: (This is assuming the undetermined blob in the photo prior to this one is not actually a person. I can't quite tell, but I don't think it is.)

First song I really identified with: Damn Good Times. I can not fully explain this but, the first time I heard this on the album I knew I had heard it before. I've never figured out where. Probably just in the background in my boyfriend's car or apartment or someplace. But from that moment and despite the fact that, I am by no means a "natural dancer," I have always felt this song was describing me somehow.

First TMBG T-shirt I bought: The Flood shirt. I was at a Flood show. It seemed fitting.

First member of the band I met: Not counting Flans and the exchange with the stickers (which I don't since I couldn't even tell the Johns apart at the time), it was Marty. I got him to sign our setlist after a show last fall.

First internet friend I made because of the band: A guy named Armando. He sent me a message because he liked a slogan I had submitted to a contest the band was having on MySpace. I haven't talked to him in forever, but he, unlike most of the rest of the world, is still on MySpace.

First real life friend I made because of the band: Stacy! We met in the parking garage going to Linnell's 50th birthday show in Portland, ME. She's awesome :-)

First TMBG inspired tattoo: The bird from the Nine Bowls of Soup video. He rides around on my shoulder begging for soup.

First show I wore the pigtails to: I think it was the Northampton show on 10/24/08. I'm not positive. I know it was a weekend we went to two shows so it was either that one or the Lupo's show in January. Either way, I haven't not worn them since. They are tradition. And if you don't know what I am talking about, go back and look at the picture of me in the post on the Boston concert in April.

Songs for which I was present for the first live performance: I'm Impressed, Take Out the Trash, Upside Down Frown, The Shadow Government, Countrecoup, Withered Hope, The Mesopotamians, Why Does the Sun Really Shine?, I Am A Paleontologist, Science is Real, Canajoharie, Duende, Nonagon and How Many Planets?

Those are the only ones I can think of at the moment. If I come up with others I'll add them in the comments. Sorry about the extremely late post. I hope it's still fun, even if it wasn't what I originally intended. I'll start Song of the Day tomorrow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seeking Advice From The Audience

Greetings fellow TMBG fans!

As we stare into the void of a touring gap of undetermined length, this blog and I once again face the prospect of several months without live They Might Be Giants to enjoy and report on. My solution this summer was the creation of several weekly features to make the time go by a little faster. I've been enjoying these a lot and I hope they've been fun for you as well.

Heading into this new lull, I'd like to change things up a bit. I want to change Stage Announcements into an "as it happens" sort of thing rather than a weekly round up, meaning I'll post news as I find it rather than waiting until the end of the week. By the time Friday rolls around I often feel like I am reporting on old news and I've also been struggling to make interesting posts on slow news weeks like the ones we've been having lately. Hopefully, sharing news and interviews and such immediately will alleviate both problems, though if anyone has any strong feelings about leaving it as is I am happy to hear them.

This would leave Fridays open for a new feature. I have an idea but it relies heavily on the involvement of you, the people, so I need to know if anyone is actually interested before proceeding. I'd like to give all of you an opportunity to share your TMBG story in a feature called TMBG And Me. Tell us how you became a fan, what the music means to you, how the lyrics to your favorite song explain your soul, how making eye contact with Linnell at a concert changed your life, how the band led you to your future spouse, basically anything that shares your passion for the band. You can write an essay, a poem, sing a song, make a video, a piece of art, pretty much sky's the limit. My idea is that you would each sign up for a specific week, send me what you'd like to post and I'll put them up every Friday. Is this something that anyone would be interested in participating in? You don't have to be a regular follower of my blog. I'll take entries from anyone, anywhere.

I am also completely open to suggestions for other features. Does anyone have any ideas for things they'd like to see? I am willing to add in features for other days of the week if anyone has suggestions. Would anyone be interested in a Song of the Day discussion?

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing any suggestions and seeing what people think of my idea. Don't be afraid to tell me you aren't interested. I'm a big girl. I can take it :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stage Announcements - 11/12/10

Flansburgh's been busy with iMovie again. Here are new slideshow videos for I Hear a New World and Words Are Like (the later of which I forgot to post last week).

And 7 seconds of silliness from Flans. "This is a whooooooooole lotta water." He cracks me up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 11/10/10

Another of Jamie's entries.


"No one knows these things but me and him, so I'm writing everything down in a spiral notebook" - Why Must I Be Sad? - They Might Be Giants

Please send submissions to theroommustlistentome@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

They Might Be Cake

As promised, this is a picture of the cake I made for my boyfriend's birthday yesterday.

"We want cake! Where's our cake?! Oh, wait. We ARE cake!"

They Might Be Cake

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'll Scratch Your Record

I have a terrible confession to make. Until recently, I had barely ever listened to They Might Be Giants' albums in their entirety. Don't get me wrong, I listened to their music almost constantly, just not in the form of the individual albums. When I first got into the band, I borrowed all my boyfriend's albums one at a time in sequence, and listened to each one twice, almost ritualistically, in my car. Then I bought myself the Dial-A-Song collection and listened to nothing but that for several months. At some point after that I took my boyfriend's entire TMBG collection, uploaded it onto my computer and proceeded to make a series of mix CDs from them. The first was a two disc set of all my favorites that weren't on Dial-A-Song. The second was another two disc set of all the sort of next rung of songs that hadn't made the cut on the first set. And finally there was a three disc set of everything else I figured I'd care to listen to regularly.

I did gradually acquire a few albums of my own. My original intention was to get things my boyfriend didn't have on their own. I bought Misc T and Lincoln because he only had them on the Then collection. I bought the ABCs CD/DVD combo because he only had the individual discs without the bonus videos (at the time I was working on credits for the wiki and needed the bonus tracks in order to do their credits). I got the User's Guide solely to see the liner notes. I got Flood because a co-worker wanted to hear some of their music and I didn't have any with me. And for one reason or another, I bought Here Comes Science over and over and over again. Oh, and I got Factory Showroom for Christmas last year.

But just recently I have gone through a rash of album acquisition and have FINALLY started listening to the music in the order it was intended to be heard. Let me tell you, it was an eye opening experience (or rather ear opening) to realize the other day that I haven't heard the album version of She's Actual Size since my initial run through the albums two and a half years ago. I still don't have all of the records. I am missing No!, 123s, Severe Tire Damage and the Pink Album (gasp, I know). I've been rescuing poor abandoned used copies of the albums as I find them and haven't come across those yet. But I do finally feel like I am plugging up a gap in my fandom street cred that has been shaming me for years.

Of course this shameful admission is just the introduction to me talking about favorite albums for Audience Participation. I figured I'd use a nice traditional topic to get back into the swing of things on the participation entries since I have been so lax in doing them while I was writing beaucoup recaps.

So here follow my top five favorite They Might Be Giants albums.

5. Flood - How can you not love Flood? It's just a fantastic album. I've heard all the crap about how you're not a real fan if Flood is your favorite album but honestly, I think that's bullshit. Just because it is the most well known, doesn't make it any less brilliant an album. And it is a brilliant album. So many good songs. And I have a special fondness for it due to the number of times I've seen it performed live. Forward, backward, with pledge breaks, with puppet breaks, and hilariously mixed up the album if practically perfect anyway you arrange it.

4. Factory Showroom - For a long time, I thought this was my favorite album. In fact, I think my badly-in-need-of-updating wiki user page still says that it is. But I think that was because I hadn't listened to all of the albums enough. I love the album. It's just not my most favorite. I think I am more attached to individual songs on the album than the album as a whole. I believe I picked it originally because it had the greatest concentration of songs that I loved on it. And because it seemed like an underdog album that a lot of people didn't like as much. I am a sucker for underdogs.

3. TIE - Here Comes Science and Here Come the 123s - I know. I'm cheating. But I just can't chose between them. They are both wonderful. I will defend the awesomeness of the children's music to the death if I have to. There is a very good chance I would not have become a TMBG fan were it not for 123s. And I feel like HCS is the first album I saw to fruition as a fan. I think the albums would have made it onto this list for Seven, Nine Bowls of Soup, Meet the Elements and Paleontologist alone. Damn, those are some good tunes.

2. John Henry - Until I was about halfway through writing this post, this was going at the top of the list. But I was thinking about it and thinking about it and suddenly realized that just wasn't right. I love the bombasticness of John Henry and the sometimes jarring changes in tone between the songs. I love the full band sound and the horns and the way the album flows from Subliminal to End of the Tour. I love the shear quantity of fantastic songs on it. I love that it has so many songs on it, I regularly forget what's on the back half of the record. So guys? When are we getting our John Henry show?

1. The Else - I did not like this album the first few times I heard it. I actually liked the bonus disc better than the album. I came into the fandom with this album and I feel like we've matured together. Now I love it whole heartedly. It is more cohesive than any previous TMBG album, darker, grittier. I feel like this, even more than The Spine, is my band with my guys. And unlike any other album, there is not a single song on it that I don't care for. I love every single one. I put this in the stereo, crank up the volume and I am instantly in a better place. I am curious to see if the new album feels as much like my album as this one does. Who knows? Maybe I'll have to revise this list next year to include it ;-)

Before I sign off, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish a very Happy Birthday to my beloved boyfriend. You're older than you've ever been but getting better every day :-) Thank you for being you and for not giving up in trying to convince me that I really would like this band. I'll post a picture of the cake I made him after he sees it. I think you guys will enjoy it.

Participation commence!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Mysterious Disappearance of Dan Miller

October 30, 2010 - Quick Center for the Arts - Fairfield, CT - Rock Show

Let's see. Now where were we.... Oh right, we had just left to get pizza with Kathy. I had read on the website for the venue that only the main entrance to Fairfield University was going to be open during the evening show so I was a little hesitant to leave campus because I wasn't sure how to get back in, having come in the other way. But Kathy drove so I figured we didn't have to worry about it. Fortunately, we decided to head back to the theater early because when we arrived at the main gate there was traffic backed up in both directions waiting to enter. I think we were lucky because we weren't coming from the direction of the interstate so there weren't too many cars in front of us. I couldn't even see the back of the line of cars coming the other way.

We could not figure out what was taking so long until we realized they were stopping every car at the security booth and IDing all the passengers. But we couldn't tell why. We were speculating that there was some event going on on campus for Halloween but that still didn't explain why they were checking IDs. It took us about 15 or 20 minutes of sitting in the traffic to get through the gate. Then when we got there Kathy told them we were there for the show and they just let us through without checking our IDs or tickets or anything. Quality security, that. "Oh, you're TMBG fans? In that case, go right on through."

We got around to the theater about a half hour before doors to find the place nearly deserted. There was one other couple waiting in the lobby, talking with the TMBG merch guy and a few theater employees discussing the traffic. It was clear from the moment we walked in that the traffic at the gate was causing big problems. It was already obvious to the staff that they were going to have to delay the show because half the audience wasn't going to be able to get in by 8:00pm. They were discussing possibly needing to go general admission (the place had assigned seats) because they only had two ushers as the rest were stuck out in traffic.

We got to overhear an entertaining cell phone conversation between the obviously panicked director of the theater and someone in the security office where he was trying to explain that he had 800 people coming to the theater in the next 45 minutes for two different shows that were happening at the same time and it was taking 2 minutes to check every car into the campus. I had to give the guy a lot of credit for remaining calm and not yelling when he was obviously FREAKING OUT. Apparently the director of the other show was out in the traffic along with all the ushers, causing even more problems. The guy was desperately trying to convince them to open another gate to allow the traffic to enter faster, meanwhile the few people who were trickling in were reporting that traffic was backed up all the way to the interstate.

We also learned from some of the students in the building, that the increased security was do to threats of gang activity on campus that they felt were probably bogus but had to react to anyway just in case. Really? Gang activity at a TMBG show? Now that's a first.

I was listening to all of this with half an ear, with the other ear tuned to the chatty merch guy who was gleefully spilling promising info about the new album to the other couple in the lobby. I'm not going to repeat here because I don't want to feed the rumor mill on that large a scale but I'll gladly share with anyone privately who cares to ask.

They let us into the theater about 10 minutes late and we slowly watched people trickle in every few minutes. I had had a horrible thought while standing in the lobby. "I hope the band didn't leave between the shows." Sure enough, we soon learned via Iggy that the Johns were in fact stuck out in the traffic with the rest of the fans. Guess there was no question about having to delay the show now. I have to admit, I was more amused by the whole situation at that point than anything else. There was a certain level of absurdity to it all.

When the theater was about half full and the show was about a half hour behind in starting, Scott and Iggy and Vince all appeared with arm loads of foam fingers. Because how to you appease a crowd of TMBG fans waiting for a delayed show? You give them free foam hands. Everybody got one. Even if you didn't want one you got one. Oh, and I fell out of my chair standing up to grab mine. Apparently those things collapse when you stand up. Actually went down on my ass on the floor. It was pretty embarrassing but I am reliving it here so my companions can have another good laugh about it at my expense :-P

They must have eventually opened that second gate the director was asking for because after about a half hour, there was a definite increase in the flow of people coming in. The show wasn't sold out but there were probably 200-300 people that had gotten held up by the security debacle.

Sitting in the theater, staring at the empty stage, I suddenly realized that Dan's keyboard was missing. Then I started looking around and realized his guitars were missing too. None of the guitars were on stage yet but even his stands weren't there and I could see the rack backstage and I couldn't see them on it. Then we started speculating wildly. Was Dan not going to be there? Why? He had been there earlier, where had he gone? How would they do a show without him? What would they play? Would Flans play his parts or would they play songs that they have alternate arrangements for without guitar? But most importantly, where was Dan?! I had actually worked myself into a pretty good panic about it by the time the show started. Somewhere in there I also realized that the electronic drums were gone too but that didn't phase me as much because I just assumed they weren't playing anything that used them. About the time the band took the stage, I was going through songs in my head that Dan doesn't play on ("Ok, they can do Don't Let's Start and Dead and James K. Polk...."), somehow still hoping that I was wrong and Dan would magically appear but actually knowing that he wasn't going to. By that point David had laid out the guitars and Dan's just weren't there.

Sure enough, when the lights went down and the intro music started, out popped Marty and Danny, then Flans and Linnell and that was it. Ok, says I, this is going to be interesting.

Flans started off with some jokes about the security issue. "Sorry about the delay folks. It wasn't your fault. Circumstances beyond our control. Everybody had their IDs checked? Everybody feel nice and safe?" Or something like that. I found it interesting that Flans thought that the audience might think they were at fault for the delay. I guess I can see thinking that people might believe they had held the show to allow time for the audience to get through traffic and thus people might blame themselves for the show being late because they were late. Anyway, interesting choice of words, Flansburgh.

They jumped into Meet the Elements. This wasn't so weird without Dan's guitar because they have so often done it with just the Johns and Marty on the radio and at in-stores and such. What was weird was hearing a mostly full band version without Dan's vocals. If there was ever any question of whether Dan's vocals are present on the recording you would only need to hear this version to say, "Oh hell yes, they are. That sounds totally different!" And I missed the funny face he makes while he sings.

They went straight from that into New York City. Jason yelled, "I love you John Flansburgh!" He replied, "I love you too dude. If there is time I want to tell every single person in the audience how much I love them over the course of the show."

TMBG 10/30/10b #3

Flans said there were a few songs off their upcoming album that they had learned to play but they were only going to do one of them for us tonight. Canajoharie, of course. I was very curious to see what they would do about the guitar solo. Linnell ended up making up something similar on the keyboard that wasn't too bad. He also either botched the first words of the song or purposefully changed them. Whatever he sang it wasn't what he has been singing. He changed another word here and there as he went through but he's been doing that every time. It hasn't been identical in any two performances. I have a pretty decent video of it and I can almost make out those last two missing lines but not quite. But damn, that is a good song.

Some general observations about the show before I go on. Thinking about it later, the band obviously knew that Dan wasn't going to be there for at least a little while before the show. All of his stuff had been packed up and either put away or taken with him before we ever even got in the theater. The setlist was obviously designed with the lack of Dan in mind so had been prepared knowing he wasn't there. Many of you have probably heard my theory on why Dan wasn't there but we will probably never actually know. They dealt with his absence in a variety of ways. They did play several songs that he doesn't play on anyway. Flans picked up the slack on some songs. They played a bunch that they have arrangements for with just the Johns and Marty for radio appearances and the like and just added the bass in. They covered up the lack of guitar with horns in a few cases. And on some songs they just played it like they always do, ignoring Dan's part and just letting it sound different. I do remember one moment in a song, something near the beginning, where there was a few bars of near silence where they had obviously forgotten to fill in something that Dan plays but other than that they did a really good job compensating.

I can't remember what it was in reference to, but at one point near the beginning Flansburgh said, "This show isn't just cursed, it's haunted." Aside from being a great quote, the fact that Flans was considering the show cursed leads me to believe that Dan's absence was being bundled in with the delay in his mind in the category of "Thing that have gone wrong with this show." Despite that, Flans seemed to be in pretty good spirits. I feared a Charlotte type scenario before they took the stage since Flans often does not react well to stuff going wrong, but he seemed to be finding the humor in the situation. And Linnell was being downright silly. Though he looks very tired in all of the pictures I took of him.

Whether he was trying to compensate for the missing man on stage, or just enjoying all the extra space to roam around in, Danny was rocking his butt off all night. I mean that pretty literally too. The man did not stand still all night long. He was jumping and bouncing and rocking back and forth from one side of the stage to the other and back again. I couldn't get a clear picture of him all night because he never, ever stopped moving. He certainly seems to have recovered from that leg injury that was plaguing him a month ago. And he definitely brought his A-game to the show. Withered Hope kind of blew my mind.

We were seated in the fourth row of the theater, left center. The seats were not bad at all because even right in front of the stage they were tiered. But I was still pretty bitter about not being in the front. I pre-ordered my tickets over the phone a month before they went on sale online and told them at the time that I wanted to be as close to the front as possible. Then the people who bought tickets later, when they did go on sale online, were able to select the front row seats. Tell me, how is that fair? There was no space between the front row and the stage for anyone to stand stage side except the people in those chairs so when we did stand up in was in our rows. All of that has no bearing on the show itself, but did serve to dampen my mood just a tiny bit.

Back to the actual setlist. Flans introduced Stan for Cowtown as Staniel Elliot Harrison, our 14th president who had returned from beyond the grave to play the clarinet (this very well may have been where the joke about the show being cursed and haunted came from). Flans asked Staniel to play a little and he played a short sequence of notes. Linnell leaned over and said something to him that I didn't catch but Stan replied that they had only had three notes back then. Flans then asked Linnell to play and he played one loud toot which Flans deemed perfect.

TMBG 10/30/10b #4

They breezed through We Live in a Dump (with Danny continuing to sing the ba-ba-bada-da part with no mic which amuses me to know end) and Birdhouse where Flans rocked as the solo guitar player.

TMBG 10/30/10b #7

Then Flans needed to stop and fix something on his guitar. He asked Linnell to talk about the next song. Linnell said there wasn't much to say about it. Flans said, "no really, what's the song about?" obviously trying to get Linnell to fill time. Linnell wasn't having it. "I think it's pretty self explanatory." Fortunately, someone in the audience saved him by yelling out, "Where's Dan Miller?" Linnell: "He's not here." Flans made some joke I didn't catch. Linnell: "He was throwing gang signs at the early show and they asked him to leave." They never did explain where he really was.

Flans said that this setlist was special because they were going to be playing one song off of each of their albums, including the new one, but that if we could figure out which album they skipped we would win a prize. He said something about all of us furiously thinking back on what they had already played. "Send us a message with the album we skipped to @kanyewest and you can win a brand new Sony iPad. Did I just make that up? I did, didn't I? Remember @kanyewest to win your fabulous Sony iPad." For the record, the album they skipped was 123s.

They played Turn Around, a fabulously Halloweeny song. I kept seeing peoples comments afterwards about how excited they were to hear it because it was pretty rare and I kept thinking, "Really? I don't think it's that rare. I've heard it a bunch." But then I realized that two of the times I heard it were at Apollo 18 shows and the other three before tonight were all on the spring tour down south so I guess for most people it is pretty rare. Huh. Go figure.

Then Stan came forward and they busted into Spy, which I was psyched about since they skipped it from the setlist in Port Washington. And oh, was this a glorious performance. Stan blew the roof off the intro at the beginning. Then, at the end, Linnell started directing the band to take turns making crazy music noises and then came out front and directed the band and the audience in a glorious cacophony of "woos" and music while making some incredibly ridiculous faces and hand gestures. He turned it over to Flans who took turns conducting the band and twanging his own guitar with this crazed look on his face.  It was epic. There is a video of it linked from the wiki. You should go watch it. It's really funny.

TMBG 10/30/10b #12

TMBG 10/30/10b #13

They played Meet James Ensor, double dipping on the John Henry tracks. Older took care of Mink Car. Flans made some more silly faces and very weird noises playing the beginning. They dumped about two tons of confetti on our heads and of course we were in the direct path of the cannon on our side and got blanketed. For a good portion of the beginning of the show I was plagued with a coughing attack (I get these stupid tickles in my throat sometimes, usually when I have a cold, that make me cough until I can't breath and my eyes water and I turn purple until I get some water but I wasn't about to leave the show to go find some) and let me tell you, having compressed air and tiny bits of paper blown at your face while you are already having trouble breathing is a kind of scary experience. Thankfully it cleared up soon after. By the end of the song Linnell had a piece of confetti stuck behind his ear which you can see in the picture below.

TMBG 10/30/10b #14

TMBG 10/30/10b #15

The Avatars came out, still with their colors all messed up. Meg Ryan came out and chatted for a minute until Flans told her it was time for her to go away. Blue Avatar asked Green Avatar what he was going to be for Halloween. Green said he was going to be a blur. "Not the band, the thing." Blue said he was going to go as pulp. "Blur and pulp. Those are great costumes." Blue said they had done the kids show earlier in the day and the swearing hadn't gone over too well. (I think he was kidding, I don't remember them accidently swearing at all.) He said what did go over was when he told them he was going to be a skeleton, then Flans ripped off the puppet again to show his bare hand on the screen again. He made some kind of joke about the kids being too sensitive. (The implication was, I guess, that the kids were traumatized by seeing that Blue was just a puppet on a hand.) Green cried, "Stupid kids." Then Blue said they only had one song to sing for us and asked Green what song they were going to do. "We're going to do a song from another They Might Be Giants album. I think it was called Fumbling Towards Ecstasy by Sarah McLachlan. That's the name of the They Might Be Giants album." They did Stalk of Wheat with a very rough, off-key start that made one of them laugh while singing. I think they were thrown off by Dan's missing keyboard cue.

Then we finally got to stand up for Clap Your Hands. We whooped it up for Marty, the next Lieutenant Governor of New York State then clapped and stomped and jumped like champs. And we stayed standing for the rest of the show which was a major energy booster.

They busted into Withered Hope and pretty much blew me away. As I said before, Curt blew the roof off and Danny was on fire. Jaw. Floor.

TMBG 10/30/10b #18

Don't Let's Start was kind of a given, being one of the few songs Dan doesn't play on anyway. Flans went kind of crazy with the guitar and at one point took it off and was strumming on it with it face down a couple inches from the floor. And both he and Danny were doing these exaggerated arm movements on the twangs on letters (D-world destruction, O-ver and overture, etc). The whole song totally rocked.

They surprised me by doing Au Contraire again. I wasn't expecting that. Then The Guitar, which was kind of ironic without the guitar player. Stan and Curt did some excellent wailing but they didn't drag it out as long as they did in Port Washington where the song just lasted forever.

Stan did another excellent sax solo on James K. Polk. We got one of those somewhat rare occasions of a show with both Don't Let's Start and Ana Ng. Fine by me. I will listen to the bass part in Ana Ng forever. It is my favorite.

Curt got another turn in the spotlight on Your Racist Friend. I didn't realize until I was writing it out now, how very horn heavy the show was.

What is labeled as Graveyard on the wiki was really the new tune Marty has concocted, played on the regular kit in lieu of the electric. They really need a name for that thing. It's groovy. My favorite part of the intros was while Marty was wrecking his kit with the lights flashing all over the place and Flans yelled, "We would like to report that Marty's shit is on fire."

Flans: "Here's a song we like to call...(to Linnell) just do it."

Linnell: "It's called Doctor Worm."

I definitely noticed the lack of Dan's vocals on this song too which was odd. They fled the stage after the song and when they came back Linnell and Danny crawled back in through the back of the horn stand just for the hell of it.

They introduced Alphabet of Nations with Linnell standing at the keyboard and my first thought was, "Oh no! He can't play that on the keyboard. I just listened to him try to do it on that radio show last year and he was messing up all over the place." And sure enough, Linnell should really not try to play keyboard on Alphabet of Nations. He is incredibly out of practice on it and was messing up chords left and right and having a hard time singing it and playing it at the same time. He accidently came in on one of Flansburgh's countries at the beginning. It was pretty funny though. And he had left his clarinet lying on the crowd in front of the keyboard and needed to use the sustain pedal so was having to stand at a kind of awkward angle over it until Danny came over and rescued the clarinet by moving it to the side.

Flans had this funny introduction before Asbury Park about how the song was about a club that they really enjoy playing in but you wouldn't know it from the song and he didn't want us to get the wrong impression.

Linnell picked up his accordion for Particle Man and Flans started telling everyone to clap but wasn't demonstrating because he was indicating to Linnell that he wanted to do the silly I Love to Sing keyboard/Kaoss Pad thing on the bridge, which was obvious from his miming of a finger on the Kaoss Pad. Thus the clapping was kind of all over the place and I was standing in the center clapping over my head feeling like it was my obligation to demonstrate proper Particle Man clapping to those behind me since no one on stage was. Flans eventually said, "It's on the back beat, people. The two and the four." They all got it eventually.

They played the song normally until the bridge when Flans and Danny moved to their positions on either side of the keyboard to await Linnell's directions. Linnell started to sing I Love to Sing but then stopped to say "Watch the clarinet" to Flansburgh who was stepping precariously close to it. This got a really good laugh from the audience. Megan leaned over to ask me if "watch the clarinet" was going to be the new "wait for Scott" in our circle. Yes, Megan, I think it is. Linnell then proceeded to direct the guys on one of the most ridiculous "I'm crazy" interludes I have ever seen. Flans was banging the keyboard with his fist and Linnell was making noises that sounded like he was choking to death while making the silliest faces. The horn players were just laughing at them. When Linnell finally moved on to the next line of the song, Danny stepped back from the keyboard so that when Linnell wanted them to go again he turned to Danny and did this exaggerated mime of putting his finger back on the pad. Then Flans started clapping again at the end and then, in my very favorite part of the whole thing, Danny started making fun of either Flans' clapping or someone in the audience I couldn't see. But he kind of clapped once and then was just smacking his hands all together. This got such a good reaction from the audience that he turned to face us and did it again. And I laughed forever. Thankfully, you do not need to rely on my description of this. It was all caught on a video that I'll include at the end. I keep watching it and laughing out loud every single time.

TMBG 10/30/10b #23

TMBG 10/30/10b #25

TMBG 10/30/10b #26

TMBG 10/30/10b #30

For the second encore they did Dead, other obligatory one as it's another one Dan doesn't play. And then they closed it all out with a pretty epic Istanbul with Stan on the intro, Curt on the outro, Flans on the "They say we have to go, but we don't want to go!" with the rest of the guys all shaking their heads, an ever so slightly botched beginning to the vocals and the confetti cannon drowning us forever so that there was confetti ankle deep on the left side of the room when they finished playing. Whee!

TMBG 10/30/10b #31

Total fail on getting the setlist again this time. David actually went so far as to "accidently" rip Linnell's in half before giving it to someone. Geez. But I got lots of confetti. Great show but I missed Dan. I actually kind of wish the last show of the year had been a little more familiar and routine so I'd feel a little better about the long gap between shows I'm about to have, but I can't really complain. The show rocked.

I'm including this fantastic video of highlights from the show taken by a couple I just connected with on YouTube and realized we have been to a ton of the same shows. Hi guys! There are a ton of great bits included but the Particle Man section is by far my favorite. It's towards the end.

If you go check out YouTube there is also another Particle Man video with more of the song but from the other side of the stage so you can't see the guys funny faces as well and a great Istanbul one from the same user.

I was not happy with the way any of my pictures from this day came out but there are a few additional ones on Flickr if you are interesting, including a few more in the Particle Man sequence.

Well, that's my last recap of the year. Who knows when the next show will be. I've pretty much decided at this point that I don't care where the next show is, I'm going even if it's in Alaska. I'm betting on March for the next tour but I still hope they might do something in January or February so I don't have to wait that long. We'll see. Until then I'll still be here doing my regular weekly entries whenever you need a TMBG fan fix. Cheers!

Stage Announcements - 11/5/10

I have absolutely nothing new to share today. Not even any pictures from last weekend's shows have turned up. Slow week in Giant land.

So reaching back into the vault, I am sharing this radio interview/performance on WAMC's Performance Place from last year. This is the same one I linked to recently but the link wasn't working at the time. Now I believe it is. I referenced this interview in a recent entry and I am about to do so again in the recap that will be appearing later today, so I want to make sure everyone knows what I'm talking about. It's a lovely little interview with some nice in studio performances. Fair warning though, it's pretty long.


And while you are there, you can also listen to their interview with Flansburgh from 2008. Haha, bifurcated. I had forgotten how attached to that word Flansburgh was that year.


All B-52s, all the time!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 11/3/10

Thought you guys might appreciate an easy one this week since last week was such a stumper.


"Ice is a solid, water is a liquid, steam is a gas" - Solid Liquid Gas - They Might Be Giants

Please send submissions to theroommustlistentome@gmail.com

Gang Activity Threatens TMBG Show

Fairfield, CT - Hundreds of music fans were left scratching their heads after threats of gang activity severely hampered a concert by alternative rock band They Might Be Giants at Fairfield University Saturday night. School officials increased security on campus Saturday night in response to unsubstantiated rumors of gang initiation rites that were to target Fairfield University students. All cars were restricted to entering campus through the main gates and drivers and passengers were required to show IDs. Hundreds of concert goers were delayed nearly an hour as traffic backed up onto the interstate.

The resulting traffic jam even caught band founders John Flansburgh and John Linnell, as well as many employees and volunteers for the Quick Center for the Arts where the concert was taking place. Joked Flansburgh, "We had to show the guards the clarinet in the back seat to prove we weren't gang members."

The concert organizer credited poor planning on the part of the University for the traffic and long delay. While he understood the need to protect students safety, he said the concert has been on the books for months and campus security should have been prepared for the increased traffic with additional gates open for concert goers to access the campus.

At the time the show was scheduled to begin, only 20-30 of the ticket holders in the 400 seat theater had made it through security. Many said they weren't even required to show ID when entering campus after stating that they were there for the concert, bringing into question the effectiveness of the additional security measures. The show was delayed about 45 minutes before the band and the majority of the audience finally made it through security. Free foam hands were passed out to everyone in the audience to apologize for the wait.

The majority of the crowd remained in good spirits despite the delay. Many fans said they were frustrated by the delay but most also seemed bemused. Said one fan, "They Might Be Giants is about the least likely band to get caught up in anything to do with gang activity. It seems like something someone would write for a comedy sketch. Most of the fans here are more likely to be members of their local library than a gang." Another fan joked that the audience looked more like a gang once they were in the theater all displaying identical foam fingers. Upon taking the stage Flansburgh asked the audience, "Do you all feel nice and safe? Everyone's IDs been checked? Good, good." He was obviously frustrated but  in surprisingly good spirits despite the setbacks.

When the band did take the stage it was without lead guitarist Dan Miller, who had reportedly been escorted from the premises for suspected gang associations. Said Linnell, "He was throwing gang signs at our earlier show." Another source stated that aggressive demands for cake may have also been a factor. Also missing was the band's electronic drum kit whose "boom car" sound effects were deemed a security risk.

After the concert, which was a success despite the delays and missing band members, Flansburgh said, "We've had a lot of weird stuff happen in almost 30 years on the road but I think this is the first time we've ever been delayed by a complete lack of gang activity."

(Please note: the above is a complete joke I concocted for your amusement. Though based on fact, I made most of it up. Hopefully, it made you laugh at least a little. Actual recap coming soon.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Staniel R. Harrison And The Skeleton Costume

October 30, 2010 - Quick Center for the Arts - Fairfield, CT - Family Show

Last family show recap of the year coming up.

We got to the Quick Center not quite knowing what to expect from this day before Halloween show. We were very curious to see if the band would be dressing up (the answer was no) or if any of the audience would be (mostly no). We were plenty early for the 1:30 doors and got to enjoy some of the nice fall weather outside while we waited. We did see a small boy dressed as a paleontologist with a little plastic pith helmet but he might have been wearing it to the show even if it wasn't Halloween. We also saw him after the show and he had had Danny sign his little helmet. Everybody say awwwwwwwwwww.

It was just Megan and the boyfriend and I at this show. We did meet up with our friend Kathy and some other friends of ours but they all had seats in other parts of the theater. The Quick Center is a nice little auditorium on the Fairfield University campus. Great stadium seating meant that our seats halfway back in the auditorium still had an excellent view and the acoustics were quite good.

We figured they had brought Stan with them given the saxophone on the stage and were thus surprised to see Curt pop on stage to set up his music. Pretty sure this is the only time I have seen Stan and Curt without Dan. Usually it's all three or just one. It was a nice surprise.

The band came on to Hot Dog! over the PA and Flans did a round of introductions. Linnell has cut his hair again but it's not that bad. Flans joked about it being very early in the morning for them before they started Bed Bed Bed. For some reason before he started the song Linnell said, "Gasp. Pant, pant." I can't remember if there was actually context but if there was it didn't make much sense. Just funny. Megan has dubbed Flans' single twang in front of the keyboard on "I practiced the guitar" as a "Flans drive-by solo" which is absolutely perfect and which he executed perfectly. We got a little bit of confetti back where we were sitting but not too much.

Curt came down from his ice cream castle to do I Never Go to Work. Flans seemed to make a big point of saying that Curt was from Connecticut. I guess he was trying to drum up home state support.

TMBG 10/30/10a #1

Flans asked Linnell to explain the next song. He said it was about a worm who wishes that the song was about a doctor. I don't think I need to tell you what the song is called.

TMBG 10/30/10a #3

At some early point in the show all the music blew off of Curt's music stand. The guys at the back were trying to collect it and Flans turned around and said, "What happened? Oh, it fell over. I'm going to turn this fan off so the the musician's music doesn't fall off the stands. The heartache, people."

"This next song is about three things: pirates, girls and the number nine." Flans gave us some counting instructions and attempted to lead us in a round of counting but almost no one participated. He told us it stank. He said he could only hear the shy people and no one else, not even Linnell and he had a microphone. He told everyone he wanted to hear all the gregarious people and the emotionally unavailable people. I think we did better on the next round. Sometimes, if I am taking pictures like I was today, I forget to count during the song and then other times I realize I am unconsciously counting even while holding the camera. It's like my brain knows what it's supposed to do even when I'm not paying attention.

Flans got the clapping going for Particle Man and told us we couldn't stop even when the music stopped. There weren't any interesting bridge inserts at this show but Linnell more than made up for that at the later show.

Flans started talking about New Wave again as Marty settled himself at the electric drums. He was saying something about them acquiring the drums last Christmas when Marty was given them by himself or some such nonsense. And he of course talked about boom cars as Marty gave his demo. And Linnell sang about polygons.

Flans gave Marty a very brief introduction for High Five! and Marty was barely ready when they started playing. He did some spectacular dancing but didn't have much luck getting high fives from the audience because there was very little room between the front row and the front of the stage so he could only really reach the people on the edges of the front row and the four or five people sitting on each side. I love how Flans has gotten so used to Marty coming over to him to sling his arm around him on the "when it's time to celebrate with all your friends" line that he now holds out his arm in anticipation. I keep trying to get a picture of it but I keep flunking. At the end of the song as Marty was running around high fiving all the guys he was yelling "do it again" as he slapped each one of them and ended on a great whoop. God, I <3 that man. Flan managed to toss in the obligatory remark about boy bands after the song saying something like "we are all about the boy bands here" in a very obviously sarcastic tone.

TMBG 10/30/10a #5

Flans: "This song is about science." *Crowd cheers* "Oh, we've got a bunch of intellectuals here. Science eh? Let's see if you like this kind of science."And then they busted into Meet the Elements.

Flans made some fantastically weird noises with his guitar at the beginning of Older but did not have the kids play it, presumably after seeing the trouble Marty was having reaching anyone from the front of the stage. When Danny came down front to join him, Flans moved around in back of him rather than standing in their usual pose so it kind of looked like he was hiding behind him. It was weird. When it came time to launch the cannon Flans went over to help and they waved the thing all around the front of the stage until everyone was coated. Linnell commented after the song that for some people it was more about the confetti than it was about the music.

Dan picked up one of the big fans from the front of the stage and used it to blow all the confetti off the front of the stage and into the laps of the front row.

Flans started talking about their Grammy win for 123s but at first couldn't remember if it had been this February or last February. He eventually remembered that it was 2009 so must have been last year. I guess time flies when you're in a rock band. He and Linnell started talking about the huge weight of winning a Grammy and both were demonstrating being crushed under the weight of their Grammys, with Linnell looking very like Atlas trying to hold up the world. TDK got a great picture of this that he posted on @tmbgfanpics on Twitter the other day. Go check it out if you haven't seen it. It is epic.

This was one of the best performances of Seven I have ever seen. Linnell was getting especially kookie with the arm movements and Dan was in top form with his lines. His intonation on "It's the green house at the end of the block" was the best ever. Total win. I think my favorite part was this:

Flans: "I would like some cake."

Dan: "Me too."

Flans: "Me too." (imitating Dan's tone)

The Avatars did both their songs together today rather than having two appearances. I think they may be realizing that the puppets frequently go over better at the rock shows than the kids shows and they have been kind of loosing the kids when the puppets take over lately. Partly, because most of the puppet jokes lately have gone right over the kids heads. The puppets thanked They Might Be Giants for opening for them. There was something wrong with the colors on the screen and blue one looked green while the green one looked kind of purple. Introducing Shooting Star:

Blue Avatar: "This next song features Mr. Dan Miller. He's really tired. He's playing like he's disoriented."

Meg Ryan came by to say hi. Blue Avatar asked her what she was going to be for Halloween. She said a ladybug. Blue Avatar asked Green Avatar what he was going to be for Halloween. He said he was planning to go in the nude. Blue Avatar then announced that he was going as a skeleton and Flans pulled the puppet off to display his bare hand on the screen. I laughed forever. Then he was holding the puppet in front of his bare hand before saying "hold on, I need to get my costume back on"and dropping off the screen to redress. Somewhere in there he also showed off both his soul patch and his hat. And they sang Stalk of Wheat. I think there was a little bit of 3Ding too. I was probably still laughing at the skeleton.

We all stood up for the national anthem and finally got to shake off some of the confetti. Flans went straight from the last round of clapping into introducing Danny for Paleontologist but forgot to tell everyone to remain standing so most of the audience had sat down by about half way through the song. Linnell ad libbed a trilobite pronunciation joke into his part again which made me happy.

TMBG 10/30/10a #7

Linnell leaned over to Flans and said something too him then disappeared off back stage because he had forgotten to bring out his clarinet for Cowtown. He reappeared with it and Flans had Stan sound check his clarinet. He played a few little notes. Then Linnell went and played a quite impressive little sequence. which Flans dubbed perfect and they proceeded with the song. Linnell was holding his clarinet kind of like a machine gun while he sang. It was pretty silly.

TMBG 10/30/10a #8

I do not remember if it was before Cowtown or at some earlier point in the show but one of the times Stan came down to play Flans introduced him as Staniel R. Harrison the 14th president of the United States and he and Linnell riffed on that for a minute. I know after Cowtown, Linnell said "Staniel, everyone!" Perhaps one of my cohorts remembers more of the dialogue because we were quoting it for hours afterward.

TMBG 10/30/10a #11

Flans went into this thing about the importance of imagination especially in a rock band and how the next song was about an imaginary character called Roy G. Biv. It was wonderful and awkward and I'm not sure if Flans really knew where he was going with it but Marty started to play as soon as he said Roy. G. Biv so he never really got a chance to finish. I continue to be dazzled by the light show in the drums. It is my new favorite thing.

TMBG 10/30/10a #12

Flans asked Marty and Danny to play some music he could introduce the guys to. They played a version of the newer band intro they've been doing lately except with Marty on the regular drums. Flans just gave each of the guys a short solo and at first I thought he had skipped Dan but I think he did it on purpose because he then introduced Dan for the Istanbul solo so I guess he figured that counted as his introduction.

Dan was having a great time with the solo. Everybody started clapping and Dan kept stopping every 30 seconds or so to snap his fingers a few times. He looked like he was having a ball with it, really rocking as he played. Curt really kicked out his solo at the end of the song too. Flans did the "They say we have to go but we don't want to go" bit with the fake ending and they drowned us in buckets more confetti.

TMBG 10/30/10a #15

When they came back for Alphabet of Nations, Flans introduced Dan as Papa which I thought was cute. Linnell did pretty much the best Alphabet of Nations arm movements I have ever seen. He was basically impersonating a marionette puppet and it was fantastic.

TMBG 10/30/10a #16

He even did some more wacky arms stuff in 813 Mile Car Trip at the end including this move with the lightsaber.

TMBG 10/30/10a #17

Flans had mentioned stickers at some earlier point but didn't have to to show and then had to confirm with someone backstage that they actually had the stickers. He was told that they were on the they were on the other side. Flans said that seemed to be the story of the show. Danny eventually brought one out so Flans could show it off. Flans tried to get an organized flow across the front of the stage for sticker distribution but then he couldn't figure out where the exit was so he didn't know which was to move people. We just went out into the lobby to avoid the crowd but my boyfriend did eventually go back in and get us a setlist from Vince. And we could watch what was happening on stage because there was a video screen in the lobby.

We decided to go back to Kathy's place to get pizza between shows and getting back was an adventure itself. But that shall be the start of the next recap.

I took a bazillion pictures but most came out awful. The picture gods were not smiling on me today. The ones worth sharing are on Flickr but I included most of them above.

Last recap coming soon.