This year I didn’t have to drive for 2 hours – we were able to see They Might Be Giants right here in Northampton.

They performed 2 shows last month at the Iron Horse Music Hall. Specifically, there were 7pm and 10pm shows on Saturday, May 5. We had decided to get tickets to the early show, thinking it might be less crowded. As it turned out, the 7:00 show was the first to sell out (eventually both shows were sold out in advance).

We arrived only about 15 minutes before show time, hoping to get a relatively close spot. What we didn’t know about the Iron Horse from our limited experience there was that they have the dance floor full of tables and chairs for early evening shows. Most patrons were dining when we got there. We did manage to get a table on the dance floor, but the presence of all the furniture meant no dancing. Had we known this would be the case, we would most definitely have gone to the later show instead.

Nevertheless, it’s always fun to see Them. It was just TMBG – no opening band. As They came out on stage, I could see that the lineup was the same as a year ago – John, John, Dan, Danny, and Marty.

I did not do a good job of memorizing the set list this time, partly because they debuted a number of new songs from their upcoming album, so here is a list of those songs I remember, probably nowhere near the order in which they were played. Songs from the new album are marked with *.

  • Damn Good Times
  • Older
  • Ana Ng
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul
  • Take Out The Trash*
  • Upside Down Frown*
  • Experimental Film
  • Fingertips
  • Asbury Park
  • Particle Man
  • I’m Impressed*
  • We’re the Replacements
  • Why Does the Sun Shine?
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
  • James K. Polk
  • New York City
  • Drink
  • Careful What You Pack*
  • Alphabet of Nations
  • Dr. Worm
  • Drink
  • The Shadow Government*
  • The Cap’m*
  • Contrecoup*
  • The Mesopotamians*

Special features of the night included “Phone Calls from the Dead”, which involved John Flansburgh answering a “call” that was supposedly coming in over a direct fiber link to a local graveyard. The caller was none other than former president Calvin Coolidge. Silent Cal’s voice was a synthesized trumpet, so Flans had to translate what was being said. He also commented afterward that we might know Coolidge as the voice of the mother in Charlie Brown TV specials.

And I think that’s all I have to report.