They Might Be Giants perform to a sold out crowd in Houston

Rock at Night, April 4, 2016
by Christi Lain Vest

The Ballroom at Warehouse Live in Houston was busting at the seams Friday night with excited fans waiting to spend An Evening With They Might Be Giants. For the last 30 years, John Flansburgh and John Linnell have walked to the beat of their own drum by creating their own form of alternative music – and by the looks of it, they have picked up a lot of friends and family along the way.

About two hours before TMBG took the stage, there were already ten to twelve people lined up at the door..with two or three more at a time joining sporadically. By the time doors opened at 8, the line went around the side of the building and almost reached the next block. This diverse crowd did not have a “concert” feel. It almost seemed like old friends and family coming together for a reunion. Young and old piled inside and quickly filled up the 1,650 person capacity ballroom. I overheard many “the last time I saw them”, and “remember whens”. One young lady told me about how TMBG used to make up songs about the city they were playing in and how she lost all their albums only to find out later that her mother, who was a teacher, took them to play for her students.

The stage in the ballroom took up one end of the room. After speaking to security, I was allowed, at what I thought was a good spot on a small balcony on the left side of the stage. I could easily climb down if I wanted to in order to get at the stage. Or if I wasn’t feeling that adventurous, I could take the short set of stairs not far from me. With my route to the stage planned, I stood in my spot enjoying the excited look on the faces and the endless chatter and laughter.

The old friend and family atmosphere never left and both Johns joked and laughed with the crowd during and in between songs. John Flansburgh moved about the stage while playing rhythm guitar and John Linnell had a spot at the center on keyboards with other instruments around him as well. It was easy to see that they both were having fun on the stage. Even with Linnell’s head down toward the keys and the quick flip of one of his hands – he’s done it many times before, but he shows no sign of being tired of it.