They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and Jesse have been going to these shows and reporting on each one. Here is the sixth installment of our TMBG musical biography, which was a kids show. We usually don’t go to the kids’ shows, but the fact that Marisa is pregnant a) means that they’re trying to pack in every live concert they can before the baby makes them cut back on these kinds of outings, and b) makes them look like they’re less likely to be kidnappers.
Kid shows are a whole different jam. They’re more chaotic than punk shows, with an audience that truly does not give a fuck about how attendees are supposed to behave at a concert. If they’re bored, they will let you know about it. Here, the babies react to the TMBG set.
They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 6/26/15
1. Sammy Intro
I’ve been waiting for so long. First, I waited on a line outside. Then, I waited on a different line downstairs. Then, we rushed to find a spot upstairs, only to wait some more. I know this is what I’ve been waiting for, but I’m so tired from all of the waiting. When the music begins, I cry.
2. Fibber Island
Somewhere in the distance, there is music playing, but I’m focused on one thing: the stairs, especially the stairs on the risers in the back of the balcony. My parents usually carry me up the stairs at home, but here I’m allowed to do it myself. This is amazing. I go up. I go down. I can do this forever.
3. The Famous Polka
Marisa Commentary: This has been in the rotation a lot. I never thought I’d hear this one so many times in one year.
4. Apartment Four
5. Pirate Girls Nine
I brought my doll to the show. She wants to see, too, so I put her on the balcony ledge. Some adult behind me might be terrified that she’s going to drop onto the crowd below, but I know better.
6. Clap Your Hands
We are being told what to do. Since we’re kids, this happens to us all the time. We are good at following instructions. I don’t know why they want us to clap our hands, stomp our feet, or jump in the air, but we do as we’re told. It feels pretty good.
7. Meet the Elements
I am still amped from that last song. There is no controlling me now. I jump from my spot on the risers and hit the floor. My Elmo shirt looks amazing. I jump, I twirl, I run in place, I let go. No one here can keep up with me.
8. Alphabet Lost And Found
9. What Is a Shooting Star?
I don’t care much for the not-my-dads on stage, but there are puppets now, so they have my full attention.
10. Eight Hundred and Thirteen Mile Car Trip
I slowly begin to realize that this puppetry isn’t as polished as what I get on Sesame Street.
11. Where Do They Make Balloons?
Marisa Commentary: However many years later, it’s still dope that Bayard used a line/verse from this song as his senior quote in college (or at least put it on his graduation invitation).
12. I Am a Paleontologist
We are the babies. This is what we came to see. We know this song. We love this song. We rise up as one, dancing, clapping, and singing along. Our dinosaur tee shirts are on full display. We are the paleontologists. No other song at this concert can captivate us as fully.
13. Robot Parade
Marisa Commentary: I still wish they’d swap in “Sleepwalkers” for this more often.
14. Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
I am 10, and older than most of the other children here. I’ve been listening to They Might Be Giants with my dad for most of my life. I hear him tell the as-yet-childless couple next to him that he wished he could take me to an adult show, but they’re often 14+ so I can’t get in. I’ve been hoping to hear songs other than the ones on the children’s albums, so, when they play this, I get very excited and stand up on the risers.
I have been asleep since the third song. Though I’m far from an infant, my dad keeps my unconscious body in a carrier strapped to his back. He can’t leave, though, because my siblings are running around somewhere. So we sit there, motionless, trying not to disturb each other as the show goes on.
16. I Never Go To Work
Marisa Commentary: I don’t think I’ve heard this song before—pretty good!
17. Particle Man
I am so young that I can’t do much besides sit on my dad’s shoulders. Four adults who love me brought me here today. I am happy. My dad likes this song. As he bounces to the music, I do the only thing I’ve been able to master that communicates my happiness accordingly: I flap my arms like a bird. I do this the whole show, and I’m never cranky once.
18. In The Middle, In The Middle, In The Middle
Marisa Commentary: My dad legit does not like this song because he remembers it from PSAs.
19. Electric Car
20. Birdhouse In Your Soul
We are the parents. We’re psyched that we can head out to a rock club with our young kids. Our parents never did that for us when we were their age. We probably wouldn’t have wanted to see what they would have taken us to, anyway. But it’s going to be different for us. We all love “Birdhouse.”
Did somebody say cake?
It’s too loud. It’s too exciting. I look to see if my mom is watching. I take a step. So far, so good. I take another—deliberate, but a little faster. Then I run, as fast as I can, towards the door. I make it five steps before she grabs me by the elbow and spins me around in the other direction.
Alphabet Of Nations
The show is over. Everyone is leaving in a group. I don’t know why we’re all being so slow. I’m tired, and I want juice. If one more thing feels bad, I won’t know how to handle it.