Friday, February 8, 2013

It's All True Except For The Parts That Aren't

January 28, 2012 - Royce Hall - Los Angeles - Family Show

Without question the farthest I have ever traveled for a TMBG show, but at least there were two of them the same day. My motivations for flying across the country to attend these shows were numerous and possibly questionable, given that I had another road trip planned just a couple of weeks later. But I really wanted to see another kids show since it had been over a year since I had seen one. And I didn't want to miss out on what was billed as their 30th Anniversary show. So I booked a flight, braved the LA freeways in a rental car and made my way to UCLA.

I was meeting my friend Rebecca at the show, but arrived at UCLA alone. After parking in a garage on campus, I was a little turned around when it came to finding the venue. But I figured I'd just follow the families with little kids and they would probably lead me there.

I found it a little awkward that the path out of the parking garage led right past where the tour bus was parked, but I went with a strategy of just walking quickly and looking straight ahead. I got about three quarters of the way across the parking area, when I hear someone shouting my name. I stop. Turn around. No one there. I think, "I am on the other side of the country. I do not know anyone in California. My friend I am meeting is a female and that was a male voice. WTF?" "Kelly!" I hear again. Now I've stopped and am looking all around trying to figure out who on earth is yelling at me when I can't see anyone around. Finally I was forced to yell back, "Who is calling my name?" "Over here!" I hear back. Finally, I look all the way across the lot to the building to see Danny waving his arm at me from the top of a staircase leading into a back door. "Oh, hi!" says I. I started to walk over, but he indicated he was in the midst of talking to someone on his cell phone. "What are you doing here?!" he asks in amazement. "Are you just on vacation?" "Just for the weekend," I said, rather sheepishly I think. Then I think he said something like "See you inside" as he needed to get back to the person on the phone and I waved and kept walking. Except I was so stunned by the interaction that I lost track of where I was going and went the wrong way and got totally turned around. I took me a good five minutes to actually find the front of the building. What can I say, I was a little giddy.

Once inside, I met up with Rebecca and recounted my tale while we waited to be admitted to the theater. The show was seated and our seats weren't together, but she was able to move over to an empty seat with me part way through the show. It was funny being a lone adult sitting in a sea of families and little kids and I felt slightly more awkward than I usually do being at a family show. But it mostly passed by the time the show started.

Setlist: Meet the Elements - E Eats Everything - No! - Nonagon - Boss of Me - I Am A Paleontologist - Pirate Girls Nine - Doctor Worm - Clap Your Hands - Battle for the Planet Of The Apes - Particle Man - Apartment Four - In The Middle - Four Of Two - Shoehorn With Teeth - Why Does The Sun Shine? - High Five - Birdhouse In Your Soul - I Never Go To Work  Encore - Fibber Island - Alphabet of Nations

It seemed like the guys were a little rusty on some of the kids songs, or at least the ones they don't play at rock shows, but the energy level was pretty high and the kids all very enthusiastic so I don't think anyone minded.

They used O We from ARNTQ for an intro which I thought worked very well. And I think I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy Meet The Elements. In one of the choruses of E Eats Everything, Flans sang "E eats everything... like children," which I thought was a funny double entendre. The Johns had an amusing discussion about what a Nonagon was prior to the song, which ended with Flans suggesting that they were not really there (Get it? Non-agon :-)). Linnell told him he was right. Flans said it was important to have a rich imagination in a rock band. And Linnell said it was important that they agree with each other. I got the impression that was a joke that the parents got and the kids didn't.

Flans made a comment about the songs getting shorter before Boss of Me. He said they had never played for so many show business insiders under the age of ten. Then after the song, he said he had a new song he had been working on called Meep. Which consisted entirely of him saying "Meep."Surprised that one hasn't made it to the wiki yet ;-)

TMBG 1/28 #4

We all had to stand up at Danny's request for Paleontologist so we could all properly rock out. I wish I could remember the dinosaur names Linnell used because I seem to recall them being funny but not what they were.

TMBG 1/28 #17

We were given counting instructions for Pirate Girls Nine. Nothing like counting to nine enthusiastically with a bunch of little kids. Before Doctor Worm, Mark Pender joined the band on stage on the trumpet. I was both surprised and excited as I had never seen Pender play and I always love a horn representation. Flans joked that you didn't get a name like "Loveman" unless you really loved love. I thought hearing Pender do Doctor Worm was especially cool since he was on the original recording.

TMBG 1/28 #8

Danny didn't do a drum riser leap this time, but did do a little spread-legged jump in the air. Doctor Worm bled right into Clap Your Hands. There was a little kid in front of me who simply refused to participate which was both sad and funny.

We had a slightly non-traditional ape battle. Flans told the audience that the band wanted to get a pet but they couldn't decide what to get. He told the balcony that they were the kittens. And then told the floor that they were the apes. And then set out the traditional battle rules, except it was kittens versus apes, instead of people versus apes. The apes won, but Flans said he thought a kitten would make a better bet because they clean themselves, unlike an ape.

TMBG 1/28 #11

Robin came out to sing In The Middle, wearing a toy construction hat. She told the guys that she had been inspecting the building and that Safety Comes First was her middle name. And when Flans took her hat for her, after helping her with the mic, she thanked him for taking it safely. Awww.

Flansburgh on Four Of Two: "It's all true except for the parts that aren't."

TMBG 1/28 #18
This is Linnell doing the line "I rubbed my eyes and I checked the time."

The Avatars had a very entertaining set, more due to human intervention than themselves. Blue asked the kids if they knew that his eyes were made of buttons and then proceeded to do an extreme close up of them in the camera. Green said "All the better to see you with" but he used a really silly voice and then went "ewwwwwww" afterward. This caused Flans to laugh so hard he briefly couldn't hold up his puppet. And then they went to play Shoehorn With Teeth and Flans just could not get the words right. He sang the wrong verse and then kept skipping lines in the choruses. Linnell just kept going doing it right and Flans just kept screwing up. Afterward, Linnell said he loved the Avatars but they needed to rehearse more. Flans said they were feeling pretty chuffed. Linnell said smug. Flans asked what chuffed meant. Linnell said it was when puppets were too sure of themselves. That was one of my favorite lines of the show.

TMBG 1/28 #19

According to Flans, the nuclear reactions on the sun are caused by Silver Lake, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Burbank and UCLA.

Marty came down to do High Five and whispered something to Flans. Flans told the crowd: "Marty has informed me that he needs your help with this Grammy winning song. That is a humble brag if I ever heard one. I can't believe I am at this party with all of my money." Marty shrugged and said, "If you're not gonna vote for yourself, then don't vote at all." He then proceeded to show off his stellar dance skills and thrill a lot of little kids with high fives. His in-ear monitors fell out at one point and he had to pick them up because they were trailing behind him. I also have to say, and it pains be a little to say so, but he was badly out of tune. Almost painfully so at the beginning, though it got better. I guess he hadn't been practicing. During much of the song, Danny was playing while standing up on the drum riser, presumably to be out of Marty's way. But when it got to the "finger paints, learn to swim" section of the song, Marty jumped up on the riser and shoved Danny off onto the floor. Like actually pushed him. I laughed quite a bit. And then at the "celebrate with all your friends" line, Marty threw his arm around Flans, almost as an afterthought but pulled away so hard afterward the he knocked Flans off balance. The entire performance was hilarious. Flans declared it dazzling after it was over.

Flans did band intros after Birdhouse and each of the guys just played a short little riff. When it came to Dan he played some screechy noises by sliding his fingers on the guitar strings and then started to walk away. Flans called him back saying "do that again!" and then "How do you do that?" He appeared to be genuinely fascinated by the noise Dan was able to produce.

Flans gave out a few nicknames to the audience, including calling one lady Dottie because she was wearing a sweater and he had an aunt Dottie who used to wear sweaters. And he named all the people in the balcony kittens.

TMBG 1/28 #14

And I remember absolutely nothing about the encore. Sorry.

After the show we went and found tasty Mexican food before heading back for round two :-)

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