Where the Other Nightmare People Like to Go

Our friend Stephanie asked us if we wanted to go to the They Might Be Giants concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and while we hadn’t originally planned to, we decided to attend. Beth is supposed to get free tickets to a show, but when she tried to request them for this one, they said she had to give three weeks’ prior notice. Is that the case for every show, or just this one? The theme of this show was that they were playing the entire Lincoln album, minus one song. That one was “I’ve Got a Match,” which they haven’t played in years, and I’m not sure anyone outside the band knows why. I remember coming across a rumor that John Linnell looked visibly upset playing it years ago, but I have no idea whether that’s true. I know nothing about music, but it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to play. They DID play “The World’s Address,” which I believe they’ve left out at other Lincoln shows. They didn’t play the album songs in order, and there were other songs interspersed throughout.

The two Johns performed “Cage & Aquarium,” “Kiss Me, Son of God,” “Istanbul,” and “How Can I Sing Like a Girl?” as a duo. The other songs used the full band, with drummer Marty Beller playing woodblocks on “Piece of Dirt” and a handheld bell in place of the glockenspiel note on “Shoehorn with Teeth.” I guess that’s an appropriate instrument for someone with his surname. Linnell played bass clarinet on “Lie Still, Litltle Bottle” and “You’ll Miss Me,” and John Flansburgh used a rhythm pad on the former.

The sock puppets known as the Avatars of They showed up for the bridge in “Snowball in Hell,” adding in some stuff about Bitcoin. There was no opener, but there was an intermission in the middle. That’s pretty much it, although I have to give jeers to at least two attendees: the person who had both TMBG and Ron and Rand Paul bumper stickers, and the guy who kept yelling out requests. Have you EVER known TMBG to take requests, at least since they stopped doing Stump the Band? And that ended before I became a fan, and I was probably one of the older people there.

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