"They are simply THE best," my friend Elizabeth says. "They make me want to die inside, in a good way." I have to agree, because I spent the entire show simultaneously laughing and crying and wanting to dance. It had been a really rough day, following a semi-rough night, and I really needed that kind of emotional release. Afterwards, I felt really calm, as if everything was okay again. All of the laughing certainly helped.
The venue was nice--a symphony hall and I had decent seats, close enough to see everything, but far away enough that I still felt these weird pangs of sadness, possibly due to my musical religiosity when it comes to TMF. There was the usual witty banter, mostly with Claudia going on and on and on about nothing important while Stephin tuned his brand-new (apparently just purchased in Austin) bouzouki
. Stephin would respond shortly, shyly, and usually by making fun of her, which was basically the best thing ever. It is not entirely as if I don't like Claudia. I just don't like her as much as everyone else. Shirley Simms was fantastic. She sounded exactly like a studio recording. I didn't really understand why Claudia shared so many of her parts, but, luckily, Shirley's voice is much richer and the songs didn't suffer as a result. Sam Davol
was amazing on the cello, especially in songs in which he stood in for synth. I have always really liked him, because he is obviously this really intelligent guy, and his face is on the cover of 69LSv3, which is my favorite of the 3 volumes. John Woo was really quiet the whole time, as he has been other times I've seen TMF. I have a feeling that no one really knows anything about him. Stephin was pretty much the same as usual--quiet but with a quick wit. He did not look as gloomy as usual, despite the rain outside and it being the worst day in the universe for everyone else.
The opener, Michael Hearst
, was a troubadour of sorts, with a bunch of little short stories that he recited, some slides of pictures he drew, and a few songs from his project, Songs for Newsworthy News. He is a pretty interesting fellow--plays the theremin, has this band where he gets famous writers to write lyrics that he composes music to. I can see why TMF would choose him to tour with them. You can find some of his stories here
. My favorite one goes like this:
by Michael Hearst
When I was a child my mother would take me to the Virginia Beach public library. Not only were books available for check-out, but so were puzzles, board games, and small statues. On one particular visit, my mother let me check out a small ceramic statue of a cat. At home, I placed the cat above the television in the den. Two weeks later, we returned the ceramic cat to the library.
Anyways, on to the set list, which I tried to scribble down as accurately as possible:
1. When I'm Out of Town (6ths)
2. No One Will Ever Love You
3. California Girls
4. Walking my Gargoyle (Tragic Treasury)
5. Nun's Litany
6. All My Little Words
7. Old Fools
8. I Don't Believe You
9. Dreams Anymore
10. This Little Ukulele
11. All Dressed Up in Dreams (6ths)
12. Xavier Says
13. Zombie Boy
14. Papa Was a Rodeo
15. Lonely Highway (with cello subbing in for synth)
16. Take Ecstasy With Me
18. Crows (Tragic Treasury)
19. The Tiny Goat (Gothic Archies--this one was all Claudia)
20. Too Drunk To Dream
21. Book of Love (surprisingly, probably the worst sounding song of the night. something was very wrong here)
22. Give Me Back My Dreams (6ths)
23. Drive on Driver
24. What a F*cking Lovely Day (Orphan of Zhao)
25. Yeah, Oh Yeah
26. It's Only Time
27. Grand Canyon
Overall, a pretty good setlist. They were short on time, hence the one-song encore. I always get my hopes up that they will play "Busby Berkeley Dreams," "Sad Little Moon," "All the Umbrellas in London," or "Torn Green Velvet Eyes." There wasn't much in the way of Holiday or Get Lost going on, though they did say that Get Lost is coming out on vinyl in two weeks. The addition of so many songs from the 6ths, from the Tragic Treasury and the Gothic Archies was nice, though, because it isn't as if Stephin goes on tour for those projects, and if he does, never so widely.
I didn't end up taking any pictures, but I did get a sweet 3-D poster that I'm getting framed and putting up in my living room.