As to be expected, the They Might Be Giants show in Portland, OR on November 10th was an über nerd fest. But there is something endearing about 1500 rabid fans bouncing on the floating floor of the Crystal Ballroom singing, “The sun is a mass of incandescent gas,” and every word of “Alphabet of Nations”. It was a sold out show and the crowd was amped up before the band even took the stage.
TMBG started off the set with a few songs from their new album Join Us including “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” and “Celebration”, but quickly broke into fan favorites that included plenty of hits from the past like “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, “Particle Man”, and the sing-a-long song “Birdhouse In Your Soul”. They also played “Fingertips”, the last song on Apollo 18, which is made up of twenty song snippets.
Several times during the set the band took long breaks and talked to the crowd. At one point they pitched their new album and monstrous 6′ x 6′ posters depicting its cover art. Later they brought out puppet “avatars” of themselves and performed a comedy sketch. This dry comedic skit could have entertained only true TMBG fans, but luckily the house was packed with die-hard TMBG fanatics who laughed heartily at every word and were rewarded by being told that they were the best crowd on the tour.
The band ended the two-hour set with “Mesopotamia” before being called back to the stage by the chanting crowd. They playing two encores, which included a mix of new songs as well as crowd pleaser “Don’t Lets Stop” and ending with Flood song “Dead”. After the show was over, the band came down into the crowd and passed out stickers and other band paraphernalia. The crowd didn’t disperse until TMBG had passed out over 1000 stickers, making sure no one left empty handed. One fan remarked after the show, “I’ve been to 17 They Might Be Giants shows and this one was different than any I’ve been too, but so much fun!”