They Might Be Giants – A Concert Event 22 Years in the Making (for me)

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I have a lot of history with the quirky pop band They Might Be Giants. Their second and in my opinion most popular album Flood was the first cassette tape I went down to the mall specifically to buy (who remembers Musicland and Sam Goody?). They were also the first concert I went to see without a parent (this unfortunately rules out that fourth of July spectacular with Sheena Easton). It was 1989, the show was at the fairgrounds (I think) and the band was so broke they were touring with just the two front men, John Linnell and John Flansburgh, and prerecorded background music. It was awesome although my memory of the event is likely much better than show.

Fast forward 22 years and I am back at a They Might Be Giants show (I saw them again in the ’90s but they only played 45 minutes because one of them got sick, now that was a bad show), they were in town and I thought it would be fun for the wife and I to attend. I honestly haven’t kept up with the band and it showed, I only recognized half of the songs that they played. However, I did get to hear classics like Birdhouse in my Soul and Particle Man, they also played a number of songs from their kids album which were really fun. My wife loved hearing the Alphabet of Nations live.

They put on a great live show and even though I wasn’t up on any of their new stuff it was still a great time. They took the time to banter with the audience and and one point they show was taken over by John and John’s puppet alter egos the Avatars of They. The show also brought out a very diverse crowd, while most were my fellow 30-somethings you also had a group of hipster polyandrists, a five foot tall guy I kept thinking of as the Happy Little Bunny Rabbit because he spent the entire show hopping up and down (I assume it was the only way he could see the stage) and a whole lot of people who really loved this band.

Another positive, the opening act Jonathon Coulton was actually quite entertaining. He sang songs about zombies, mad scientists and Portal. This was also my first show at The Depot in downtown Salt Lake City, if I could get there early enough for a balcony seat this would probably be the best small venue in the state.

The only downside to the show was due to my unfamiliarity with some of the songs some of it felt a little long and standing for 3.5 hours is just not as easy for me as it once was (they played for a solid two hours). They also never played fan favorite Istanbul (not Constantinople). But overall it was a great show, if you’re familiar with the band or want an entertaining evening check them out. They are actively touring so just might be coming to a venue near you.


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