Special Report:

January 27th, 2001
Restless Records Signing Party at Irving Plaza, NY, NY

1st set: TMBG as Sapphire Bullets play the Flood album

2nd set: James K. Polk / She’s Actual Size / Boss Of Me / Fingertips / Your Mom’s Alright*/ I’ve Got A Fang / Ana Ng / Cyclops Rock / Older / Hypnotist Of Ladies / It’s Not My Birthday / Dr. Evil** / In The Middle** / Cowtown / The Ballad Of The Ims / She’s An Angel / Dr. Worm / Why Does The Sun Shine? // Robot Parade / The Guitar // Drink / New York City

* - M. Doughty on vocals
** - Robin Goldwassar on vocals

Did not make the cut: Lines Upon a Tranquil Brow / Mr. Tambourine Man

And oh what a party it was. Simply put, BEST SHOW EVER. A lot of people, including me, were sporting their new TMBG Unlimited fleeces for this show while we waited on line, but we had no idea about the fun in store for tonight.

As we were let in, Amanda and I noticed Danny Weinkauf wearing a TMBG shirt. We started chuckling about Danny being “that guy”. Later though, we saw other members of TMBG also wearing different TMBG shirts! It was funny, and fit in with the whole Sapphire Bullets gag. The first set was a Flood set performed by the only TMBG cover band that matters, Sapphire Bullets. Of course this was TMBG as Sapphire Bullets, and the whole set was almost a Sgt. Pepper type skit. They were talking about being from Syracuse, thrilled to be opening for TMBG, and not being their typical selves onstage.

Highlights from the Flood set

Istanbul: T.J. (Jim O’Conner) plays an extended trumpet solo. Later, Tyler (Flans) commented on how T.J. was so psyched about doing this set being of all the trumpet solos (Birdhouse and Racist). Oh, yes, they did play Racist after Dead, they weren’t going to do that twice.

We Want A Rock: Jared (Linnell) plays keyboard on this song this time, while Dylan (Miller) used a cheat sheet to fill out the chords better.

Someone Keeps Moving My Chair: Corey (Hickey) starts playing the opening drum line for Hearing Aid, and everyone called him on it. So they stopped that and fixed it. They also used this opportunity to play up the Sapphire Bullets gag as they weren’t really the greatest out there!

Minimum Wage: No whiplash from Linnell.

Letterbox: Tyler plays on the gag by announcing the next song as Hot Cha. Whoops, I mean Letterbox.

Whistling In The Dark. One of the arguments for this being the best TMBG show ever. This was a night for not only audience participation, but interaction. Flans always uses the marching bass drum for this song, but this time he did something special with it. During the soft coda section, he hands the bass drum mallet to Amanda to play the drum! She starts playing it song with the correct rhythm, and then loud!!!! After the song was finished she tried to give the mallet back, but Flans just told one of the stagehands, “Let her have it.” Now she has an amazing momento of this show, not to mention that Flans has NEVER let anyone play the bass drum for that song as far as I know. The Guitar and Famous Polka he’ll let people strum his guitar, but never the bass drum. She’s getting it framed and everything, and I’d love to see how much it would go on Ebay. (Sorry folks, it’s NOT for sale.)

Hot Cha: Linnell didn’t quite do the piano solo so well this time. I tried it myself the other night, it’s not easy.

Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love: Flans as Tyler says, “Yes! The song we named ourselves after!” Linnell played accordion on this song instead of keys the last time. I love the guitar work Dan Miller does on this song.

They Might Be Giants: No long solo filled coda here but the song seemed to keep going for a while.

Road Movie To Berlin: It was great to hear the crowd singing so nicely to this last tune. For the last section, Flans left the distorion on for the last verse.

And that was it for the Flood show portion. After this, they took a 15 minute break, and came right back out as their normal selves.

Highlights from the 2nd set:

She’s Actual Size: Linnell busts out the bari sax along with the velcro horns (Tim Newman on trombone and bass trombone)

Boss Of Me: Flans exclaims, “And this song is now being played on Top 40 radio! Music for the people! Ricki Martin, us….”

Fingertips: “And now, the follow-up.”

Your Mom’s Alright: M. Doughty from Soul Coughing on vocals. This is the first time he performed the song with them, so he had some lyric cheat sheets to help him out. He just flat out rocked with his performance. And when the song was done, Flans, Doughty, and Linnell all posed like Charlie’s Angels!

Cowtown: Flans asks for a very narrow spotlight on Linnell’s accordion. Linnell asks the spotlight to just focus on the keys. This was a show that more banter than most shows.

Older: Flans plays the song with distortion instead, and it screws Weinkauf up later! They kept the song moving. The “OLDER!” people made a return.

The Ballad of the Ims: The Battle of the Planet of the Apes makes a stellar return! This time it was the Dans, the Johns, and the Ims (Jim O’Conner and Tim Newman). The Ims won of course. And to the guy who refuses to hold his fist up, he says, “You will pout your fist up. This is the most fun you’ve had in months. You didn’t come here to be all glum at the rock show.” He just went off in typical Flansy style.

It’s Not My Birthday: Flans: “Who is celebrating a birthday today?” Few people: “WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” Flans: “This song is for everyone else!”

She’s An Angel: Linnell gets distracted by a guy calling his cell phone. At the end of the song, Linnell asks him to call him back. When he does, Linnell asks for the cell phone himself. Listening for the other party on the phone, no one is there. The audience asks him to leave a message. Linnell: “Hi, this is the audience” as he holds the cell phone out to the crowd, and the crowd screams! I’ve never seen this kind of interaction, and it made this show extra special.

Drink: Everyone is raising their glass to the music here.

New York City: Flansburgh thanks all the people for coming to the Bowery shows as well.

And that was it. 2 ½ hours of TMBG, the longest show ever. The best show ever. It’s going to be REALLY hard to top this one. To everyone who came out, and also to all my friends in the audience, thanks for making it really special for me. You guys really make these shows possible.