From This Might Be A Wiki

Fan Recaps and Comments:

Review by scratchyfishy:

I saw TMBG tonight at the 9:30 club and it was so badass. Here, I will attempt to show you how: The opener was a guy named Peter Salett with a guitar, a scruffy bass player, and a scruffy drummer. It was completely not my cup of black-two-sugars. Between that business and the show proper, though, the incidental music was unusually (a) recognizable and (b) entertaining. We heard Hey Ya, You Shook Me All Night Long, and Groove is in the Heart (fuck yeah Casio sampler).
Clap Your Hands: An audience member wanted to know, "IS THIS A KIDS SHOW?" Linnell, well-timed: "I don't know. How old are you?" Also, a guy started yelling "PUPPET HEAD!" after this and wouldn't quit until a little later...) Bed Bed Bed: This song. Live. Rocks. So hard. They pretty much turn all the kid songs into rockandfuckingroll. So good. Dig My Grave: This was really good and loud. Like being transported to a hardcore show for about two and a half minutes. In a good way. Somewhere around Robot Parade: the cell phone chorus. Flansburgh said something about encouraging the audience to turn their cell phones on because it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference, whereupon both Johns were like, "Hmmm.... OK, everybody call the person next to you on your cell phone." Mine was in the coat check, but a goodly number turned on their ringers and held up their little glowing screens. Linnell: "This is like being in a tiny video arcade... Actually, it looks really cool from here!" Also, it was around this time that Flans very kindly talked the Puppet Head guy down: "We SO don't know how to play that song. But we understand and respect you, and we want to party with you. Only AFTER the show." Violin intro: The Johns explained carefully that we were to do the Wave in the middle of the next song; first they orchestrated it—stage to back balcony—and then we practiced. [The wave was] splendidly executed... ("One word: Jesusfuckinchrist. Yes, by the way, this is a kids' show.") Hypnotist of Ladies: a surprise for me Wicked Little Critta: true love. Somewhere in here, Flans said something about "sending this one out to all the five-foot-four women standing behind six-foot-tall men," and as one of those women (I'm five-three and was surrounded, but who's counting?), I felt it appropriate to let loose with a \m/ YEAH!! \m/. Just like that. John Lee Supertaster: again with the rock and the roll I Palindrome I: Flans: "This song was written by my mother." Why Does the Sun Shine: "The sun is so hot that everything on it is a gas. The Ford Expedition, the Ford Excursion, the Lincoln Navigator, and...what's the fourth one?" "The Honda Element." New York City: I sang " thing about New York City is TMBG" once or twice for old times' sake.
OK, I think that's everything. So: An amazing show. ARGH SO GOOD. So good that I have to sit here and finish telling you about it before I can go to bed (bed bed bed bed bed). Just as much as ever, they bring the rock. And the fans with the bad haircuts and the glasses and the dancing like idiots and the multiple generations. (Partner-in-rock jewymcjewjew and I discussed mean, median, and mode ages in attendance: mean around 30, median I forget, somewhere in the 20s? and mode quite possibly 16.) I'm convinced: there is no better show experience than They Might Be Giants, and possibly no better place for one south of where they hail from than the 9:30. They like it. It likes them. It has wood floors and not concrete, and now a little coffee bar staffed by Vance Gilbert's doppelganger! In line for the coat check post-show, I joined a couple's rendition of "King of Spain" at the ONE TWO THREE FOUR part—a little shared dork moment. Christy: Shortly thereafter, I'm half certain I caught sight of a certain opera singer standing on the first balcony. Dark hair down to her waist, dark eyes, leather jacket, smiling ingratiatingly at some boy I couldn't see—I don't know what reason she would have to be in the area, but if she were she'd have every reason to go see TMBG. I turned around after I picked up my coat, though, and she was gone. Post-departure: Arlington; becca5; red potatoes at what used to be the usual IHOP. Yay!

Review by Ray Thompson:

What a charming crowd of concert-goers with whom to mingle and cavort! This, my seventh TMBG show, reminded me why I'm committed to seeing their appearances whenever it can be arranged—the atmosphere is just the right combination of chaos and composure—perhaps that's a good summary of the music itself. And the crowd at these shows has never failed to impress me with their good-natured mania and nerd/chic stylistic sensibility. What's more, as a Christmas gift, my wife agreed to tag along with me (she's generally too much of a Stones/Bonnie/R&B devotee to truly appreciate "I Palindrome I," but she allowed last night as how she's "coming around"). For me, this added an extra bit of excitement to an evening I'd been anticipating since we got turned away from the sold-out 9:30 show back in March. Looking at the setlist from that show, I notice a lot of similarities. From the balcony, the sound was muddy at first, but improved appreciably through the first few songs until, by the time they got to the harmony and sparse instrumentation on "Dead," it was clean and clear. Linnell was in excellent voice, I thought, and performed with a lot of energy, thought it's hard to classify anyone as "energetic" when he's on stage next to a maniac like Flansburgh. The setlist was imaginative, but not exceptional. I'm usually more drawn to the melodic selection (Birdhouse, Worm, NYC, etc.) than the raving head-bang (Cyclops, Dig My Grave, Critta), but in the end I thought that (almost) every song was delivered with spirit and plenty of room for virtuosity from Linnell and the Dans. Au Contraire was excellent, NYC was inspired, Miller's soaring work on SEXXY was all that, Weinkauf and Hickey were delivering that deep, thumping rhythm that made my guts rumble, especially on Bed, which rocked and surged and degenerated at the end into a cacophony of noise. A later song started with a similar jumble of keyboard nonsense and Linnell?s staccato delivery, then developed into a rocking rendition of Ana Ng—a nice twist on a great song, I thought. Perhaps I'll be forgiven, perhaps not, if I make a brief observation. As clever as both these gentlemen are, and in spite of the fact that they pull off the banter-with-the-crowd-and-among-themselves with as much charm and aplomb as anyone could, I frequently find myself muttering under my breath, "Shut up and play." I offer this comment as a dedicated fan of the music and the personalities and a committed and satisfied consumer of TMBG merchandise of every kind. Judging from the audience's enthusiastic reaction to the sometimes extended dialog and diversions that take place on stage, I wonder if anyone else shares my modicum of impatience with the between-song stream-of-consciousness rambling and (bless my soul, dare I say it?) wave exercise. There, I've said it, and I'll mention it no more, except to note, ironically, that I did faithfully follow Flans' advice delivered during one of his commentaries: I regarded my fellow audience members with a heightened level of suspicion and caution as we filed out of the venue... especially the dude with the ear lobes... you know who you are. (Just kidding—TMBG crowds are the schnizel!) I hope someone else will post the set list... I'd get it wrong for sure; but I will offer this as my highlight among a night full of highlights: Linnell's delivery of the words, "All alone, all alone all by myself." Even my wife wiped away a small tear on that one. Thanks, fellas... see ya next time!

Review by Dave Woodruff:

G'day all. Twas the three of us in attendance to usher out 2003 with They Might Be Giants at what I feel is one of the strongest venues of the Mid Atlantic, the much vaunted 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. It never ceases to amaze the energy that pours from speakers and into your spine the seconds before the first chord, and to be treated with Birdhouse right out of the starting gate, what a trip. The start of the evening was marred by a gentleman who screamed out "Is this a kid's night?" or something to that effect while his partner shouted requests as if we had all showed up for his personal Karaoke. But this is a positive place, so I digress. It's taken me a few shows to really appreciate the fact that, for instance, while Birdhouse would be a great encore or somewhere in the backend, Johns are programming their shows with their looser songs up front, so by the time they hit the songs where they've got to be tight (Hypnotist of Ladies, Ana Ng, Drink, Dr Worm etc), they are firing on all cylinders and tight as a drum musically—which is precisely what happened this chilly evening. By Stalk of Wheat, I was in dreamland (which is why turned around and leveled my disgust at the "Kids Show?" and Karaoke idiots standing behind me—but my cooler head prevailed). The show felt as though it fell apart a little early as if, with New Year's approaching and a very busy, very productive TMBG 2003 in its waning moments, the Johns were just anxious to get home and toast themselves on 12 months well done—disappointed? Just a little, but not much, they earned it.