Special Report: They Might Be Giants / Lake Trout / Juniper Lane / Spiraling - Free Show in Downtown DC - June 29th, 2002
Spiraling - This Is The Road / The "L" Word / The Connection / Girl On Top Of The Piano / (Get Your Own) Old Grail / Your New Boy / Your Excellent Body / Don't Want To Grow Up / Too Good To Be True / Lightning Twice / Take On Me
They Might Be Giants - Clap Your Hand / Birdhouse In Your Soul / Cyclops Rock / 4 of 2 / John Lee Supertaster / She's Actual Size / I Palindrome I / Boss Of Dial / Spin The Dial (Get Down Tonight - KC and the Sunshine Band / At Last - Ella Fitzgerald / American Pie - Don McLean) / Older / New York City / Why Does The Sun Shine? / Man, It's So Loud In Here / Robot Parade / Fingertips / Drink / Dr. Worm // Violin / James K. Polk // Istanbul (Not Constantinople) / Sleepwalkers
O, what a night. I'm bushed and my neck hurts. I love it.
One of the best front rows I've been a part of. This was taken before Spiraling went on.
Left my house at 9 AM as Rob, Laura, and Shana came up in their car. After hitting a couple of slow downs, we arrived at the venue at 1:15 PM. We scouted out the are and determined there were 2-3 entrances to the place, on the sides and in the front. The sides were the cloest, so we picked that one to stand at. But we were the only ones there for quite some time, so we all went our seperate ways, they got lunch, I went to the local library o use their restroom and to get food from a street vendor.
New Fruhead friends of mine Rob & Karen, attending what for them is a local show.
Coming back, I noticed there were 4 kids already inside at the barrier. I noticed they were fans because they rushed Danny Weinkauf. So I started to wander in when a security guard told a couple of other guys that they were not open until 4 PM. So I waited an extra 15 minutes and then as I finished my food, I wanted to throw out my garbage in the waste bin inside. I asked adifferent security guy if I could simply throw out my garbage, and he told me, "Come right on it, you can go inside!" So I did, and phoned my friends to tell them to come right on inside. So in this case, if you're wondering if you can go inside before 4 or not, it depends on who you ask.
I noticed that the kids who were at the front were now sitting on the curb. They were asked not to hang out the front while the Johns were doing soundcheck. Then Rob sat down in front of the stage so he could not be seen. The rest of us talked about where in the front to be, and we sat down as well. Also, Fruhead friends of mine, Rob and Karen showed up, and they joined us. And thank goodness for the mountain chair I brought with me, it was a real help.
So we listened to soundcheck from there. Mainly Linnell yelling, "HEY!" and noodling at various times Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said". But they did do a few complete songs, like Subliminal, Drink!, and one that made us very happy, The Who's "The Kids Are Alright". Lawrence mentioned that this was the mini-headline describing today's show in the Washington Post, and it was also fitting with the loss of John Entwhistle.
Also during soundcheck they played the backing track to "Man, It's So Loud In Here". We started singing along, and then they cut off the drum track. We finished out the chorus, in which after that, I said, "Thank you! We'll be here all night! Try the sushi!".
So Spiraling was one first, one of my fav TMBG openers. They did the current set of new tunes and a few old ones, and dedicated one of those old tunes to a fan on my right side. Paul Wells, with his sunglasses and bleached blonde short hair, looked strangely like TDK. They also finished their set with the crowd pleaser I was expecting, A-Ha's "Take On Me". The crowd really enjoyed them, but the crown was pretty sparse at this time, so it would have been nice if they were the 3rd opener so more people could see them.
After they played, they had many a female coming over to do a little bit of fawning. Also, this venue has a big screen showing the show for those people in the back. They put a big "Spiraling" sign on the screen, and it reminded me of when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan how they put each Beatle's name on screen. "John Lennon - Sorry girls, he's married.)
Juniper Lane was next. The singer was trying to be Gwen Stefani, and the guitarist was trying to be the Edge. Each time I made these observations to Karen, she kept saying, "Get out of my head!!!". Also, the singer didn't quite understand that she was not winning the crowd over. At least they didn't butcher their straight-forward cover of Radiohead's "Creep". Well, a couple of fans shouted their disapproval of it.
Next up was Lake Trout. They were a very original band, doing mainly instrumentals that were simple in structure and melody, but all of their music was about slow dynamics. Their songs would build up and come back down as slowly. They were hynoptic at times, and did actually start to win the crowd over. The unsung hero of the band was the keyboardist, who also played flute, soprano sax, and shouted a distorted scream at times that was blood curtling, but was low enough in the mix that it added to the ambience. They were actually a good opener in the fact they would get the crowd depressed before TMBG would come out are cheer them right back up.
And boy did TMBG deliver. It started with Flansburgh getting the show to stop playing that DC 101 crap, that was playing songs for the 3rd or 4th time that day, and putting on his mix of old school funk that he loves. He then came out introducing Dan Hickey, which went right into what I knew was going to be a kick-ass live song, Clap Your Hands.
This song is as AWESOME TMBG opener. Crowd interaction, and it gets everyone jumping during the "Jump In The Air!" section. Right after that, the continued pogoing to Birdhouse.
Then Cyclops Rock, 4 of 2, and the ass-kicking guitar licks of Dan Miller during John Lee Supertaster.
The the MIDI Guitar stylings of Dan Miller during She's Actual Size. The MIDI guitar really fills out the song so much nicer now with Linnell playing tenor sax as well. It makes it sound like they have a brass section with them. Dan Hickey has REALLY grown his hair out, and was going wild during the Animal from the Muppet Show section. Also, he played part of the drum solo to "The End" when asked to playu like Ringo Starr. And Flansburgh was getting that huge crowd of 18,000 to scream at the top of their lungs, and it was just too for words. Then in the slow section, I could hear a lot of people behind me snapping along.
After that was I Plaindrome I. So at this point, I've got two songs I've never heard live before, and one I have only heard once before! I really feeling the awesome positive vibe of the crowd now.
Then we get to rock out completely to Boss Of Me. "We got a Grammy for this next song. Why, we still don't know."
Then what I would consider the best Spin The Dial ever. They were hitting gold as Shana put it. First they stopped on "Get Down Tonight" by KC and the Sunshine Band. Then they hit upon "At Last" by Ella Fitzgerald in which Flansburgh started going off on that song. Then, the real knock-out punch. They came right on right before the last chorus of a universally loved song, Don McLean's "American Pie". So Flansburgh got to lead 18,000 swaying people to a chorus of American Pie. He must have been loving it. What a special moment.
Older was next, although I culd barely remember it since I was still basking in the glow of American Pie.
NYC was next, and of course, now I ALWAYS rock out to this song. And they kept the energy up for Why Does The Sun Shune? in which the nuclear reactions were between Towson, Baltimore, Washington, and more Towson.
The energy stayed for Man, It's So Loud In Here as this huge outdoor space turned into a cramped nightclub.
Robot Parade quieted everything down, as there was more swaying. And Fingertips was just too good. The band seems to keep improving on this song suite more every time they play it, which has worn off the novelty of it, and made it more than what it was meant to be.
Drink had more swaying to this wonderful folky song, and just kept that happy vibe going. And Dr. Worm ended the regular set. Usually I don't scream for the encore, but they just put on such a tight, kick-ass show, I had too.
They came back and did one of the most ballsiest things I've ever seen Linnell do, Violin. Mind you, girls were screaming for Violin during the whole show, and they shouted it once more before they played it. In which Linnell said, "And now, here's another song." As he was going through the "song", the security guard in front of us lost it. He couldn't help but laugh at it and wondering, "What the f*** is this?" Rob assured it was okay to break his seriousness in front of the rest of us. I just can't believe Linnell had the balls to do Violin at these super large free shows. Old school TMBG in the house.
After that was the confetti cannon action of James Knox Polk. Lawrence and I sang the LA LA Las during the solo.
Then a 2nd encore to the tune of the old soccer chant of "Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!" started by some Brazilian revelers. (Congrats Brazil on winning the World Cup). Flansburgh had the biggest smile on his face when he came out. The 2nd encore was an if for them, but they did it because the crowd was so pumped right now. They did Istanbul with the always awesome acoustic guitar solo of Dan Miller. The camera was panned at the front row a long time during the song and throughout the show, so hopefully I'll see pictures of us on the website soon. Then they finished with what is one of the best TMBG show closers, Sleepwalkers.
My T-shirt was soaked, but fortunately I snapped a free T-shirt suring the show, so I put that on later. Rob led us to the hotel was parked at that night, and we stopped there for a quick siesta. I also changed here into the mentioned dry shirt, and drank a lot of water.
We stopped at the Paper Moon diner for a late snack and much needed coffee for the driver. Before we found the place though, we also ran into a misadventure. There was an ambulence blocking the road in a bad neighborhood and we saw a group of people hanging outside the building and a lot of screaming. Then one franctic woman starting screaming out onto the road to our car. I told Rob, "Get out of here NOW!" He obliged and we turned around just in time. She collasped on the road and we stayed away from that area. That could have put a real damper on the night, becoming eyewitnesses to something like that or even worse, involved.
We didn't get back until 4 AM that night, but that's alright. A nice sleep, and the rest of them were on their way well rested that Sunday morning. And the end of a perfect day and night. This is why I do road trips with friends to TMBG or Eddie From Ohio or Moxy Fruvous. Part of the fun is the trip, and shows are especially enjoyable with friends. And this could possibly be the best non-NY TMBG show I've attended.