'They Might Be' In My Gym
Saturday, Apr 12, 2003
Back in Pittsburgh, after three weeks away in various corners in and outside of our nation.

In a meeting with my project team yesterday, Liya told us she had a hard out at 6:30 because she needed to get a good spot for the They Might Be Giants concert.

"Oh, where are they playing?" I asked, miffed that I wasn't aware back when tickets must have gone on sale.

"They're playing on the Cut [one of the two lawns that form the backbone of the CMU campus]. It's free. Why, do you know them?"

Hah. Know them... Am I living in a bubble? In Kevinland, everybody knows TMBG.

So off I went. Rachel had a play to go to at 8, but was going to try and come for the beginning of the 7pm concert. As it turned out, they moved the stage indoors, into the gym, for fear of rain, so there were lines and such, with enrolled students getting priority, though I think everyone got in. As it turned out, Rachel didn't go because by the time all was said and done it was almost time for her to leave for the play anyhow, and as it turned out there was a warm-up band that played for an hour first, so TMBG didn't hit the stage until 8:30 anyhow.

Oh, and when I say gym, I don't mean Pauley Pavilion or Haas Stadium, with seating for 12,000. I mean three basketball courts side by side. No bleachers, no terraces, just a big honkin' stage that took up one corner of a building where acoustics, if they were considered at all during the design process, were made extra-echoey, as if to pump up the spirits of a practicing basketball team by making them sound like five teams.

TMBG was the perfect band to play this gig. And we were the perfect crowd to see it. People in front of me and in back of me, waiting in line to get in, were practicing their bouncing. If you love TMBG, then you know what I mean.

Okay, so I was bad and bootlegged a little. First off, so you know I'm not kidding about the acoustics (though admittedly I was using my camera's audio record, so high fidelity isn't its primary feature either).

The show was a lot of fun, though I had to leave about 2/3rds of the way through. I was about 40 feet from the band, which I had to remind myself would be absolutely amazing if they were playing, for example, at Shoreline, or any mainstream venue. At 40 feet they're just some talented guys from New York, which is exactly the kind of image they want to express, so that all works.

Nostalgia pang, wishing I was in San Francisco, when they burst in to their first song: Istanbul (not Constantinople). Oh how I wished I had seven of my Irish friends in the room. There was plenty of room in the back for a polka (oh, a whole 200 feet from the stage) and it was all I could do to not ghost seven partners right then and there. Considering the aforementioned bouncing audience, I don't think anyone would have noticed. Ammy, you were missed.

Oh, set list... I don't remember the order, except for the first song, but they played:

  • Istanbul
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul
  • Older
  • Doctor Worm
  • Particle Man (yay!!)
  • Cyclops Rock
  • Why Does The Sun Shine?
  • Bangs
  • James K. Polk
  • Fingertips (yay!)
  • She's Actual Size (thought of Benjy)
  • SuperTaster (hadn't heard that one before)
  • Obligatory Drum Solo Requests
  • ...and more

Which reminds me... while waiting in line for the show, I was IMing Benjy (from the sidekick), telling him (the biggest TMBG fan I know) about the surprise free concert. He told me about how TBMG was coming to the Bay Area and he bought three tickets for $90 and change. Then he told me about how TMBG promised that each of their bay area concerts would be different. It didn't dawn in me for a few minutes that he bought three tickets for himself for the three different shows. Truly a big fan. I'm sure he won't be disappointed.

Anyhow, I've got work to keep my up all night for the next four days, so I should get back to it. So much for a 'micro-review.'

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Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
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