Finally, after years of waiting, I have seen They Might Be Giants in concert, and it was everything I ever hoped it would be: Great tunes, lots of laughs, and of course a puppet show.
The great thing about TMBG shows is that, love them or hate them, you are going to learn something. I still stand that I learned more about Astronomy from Here Comes Science than I retained from Professor Hiack’s 8:00 a.m. on Monday and Thursday of sophomore year.
The music is accessible by people of any age, especially children. John Linnell and John Flansburgh (The Johns) have continued what Raffi started back in 1975, but updated it. Kids these days are mentally more advanced and “The Wheels On The Bus” just will not cut it anymore. That’s where TMBG comes into play.
Apparently The Johns have been playing too many kids shows lately because they forgot just how beloved this band is. We packed into The Other Tent like dorky cattle awaiting a much needed feeding of nerd rock.
“We honestly were not expecting this,” said a bewildered John Flansburgh to the explosive mob of dweebs.
Let me paint a more vivid picture for you. With my black, thick framed glasses, I was the meet inside one of many nerd sandwiches. To my left was a guy with an extremely detailed Spiderman universe themed tattoo that ran the length of his arm, featuring such villains as Doc Octopus, Green Goblin, Rhino, Scorpion, and Venom entrenched in battle with none other than Spiderman. To my right was a Clerks-era Kevin Smith look-alike, minus the trench coat, for obvious reasons.
Anyway, want to know a country that starts with the letter “S?” TMBG notified us of one by opening up with “Alphabet of Nations,” and its called Suriname. Suriname, at 163,000 sq. km is the smallest sovereign state in terms of area in South America. The country is the only Dutch-speaking region in the world that is not a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands or Belgium, and is the only state outside Europe with Dutch as an official language. I just hit you with some knowledge.
The Spiderman guy and I traded verses on “Birdhouse In Your Soul,” just to prove that neither one of us was an imposter TMBG fan, a friendly test of our nerdhood. The tension eased when positive results came out of the exhibition.
John Linnell introduced us to his friends that call the periodic table home with “Meet The Elements.” Did you know carbon in its ordinary form is coal? True story.
“Particle Man,” “Boss of Me,” “Your Racist Friend,” and an electrically juiced up version of “Doctor Worm” in a row was absolute ecstasy.
I believe I mentioned a puppet show. This happened. And I feel like if any other band in the world tried to pull it off, the situation would be totally unacceptable. But when TMBG do it, it’s just right. The Johns donned gym socks on their arms. The socks had googly eyes and paper Gatorade cups for hats. The pair of socks performed a duet on “What Is A Shooting Star” and were banished back into their drawer.
TMBG closed the show with “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” at an exceptional speed shaving at least 45 seconds off the track that is originally only two and a half minutes long. Amazing.
The crowd cheered so loud that The Johns and friends graced us with “Ana Ng” as an encore.