I went down to the Southgate House last night to see Yo La Tengo in concert. This was my second time seeing the band and first time since 2000. Here’s the setlist along with some of my notes and thoughts on the songs:
1. “…ba, ba, ba…ba, ba, ba, ba…” – Yes, the show started out with a catchy song that I can’t seem to place. It sounded familiar, but I’m having difficulty finding out what it could be. If you know of a Yo La Tengo song that goes “…ba, ba, ba…ba, ba, ba, ba…”, then please contact me. This is the kind of thing that’ll keep me up at night.
2. “The Room Got Heavy” – This was the first of nine songs that the band performed from their latest release, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. It was also the first of five that Georgia Hubley sang.
3. “Pass the Hatchet I Think I’m Goodkind” – This song lasted atleast 10-12 minutes. It featured some impressive guitarwork by Ira Kaplan, but I would’ve gladly traded it in for a few 3 minute pop songs.
4. “Stockholm Syndrome” – This song sounded incredibly refreshing after “Pass The Hatchet…”. James McNew sang this one. It was the first of three songs from 1997’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One.
5. “Madeline” – Georgia sang this song. It was originally released on 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-out.
6. “Beanbag Chair” – “Beanbag Chair” is one of my favorites from I Am Not Afraid of You.
7. “Mr. Tough” – This song featured a fake ending that had me clapping prematurely. I hate when I get tricked into clapping too soon. To make up for it, I withheld my applause at the song’s proper ending. “Mr. Tough” was dedicated to Bootsy Collins and another local whose name I didn’t catch.
8. “The Weakest Part” – This was Georgia’s third song of the night.
9. “Don’t Have to Be Sad” – This was the only song they played tonight from 2003’s Summer Sun.
10. “I Feel Like Going Home” – Another by Georgia.
11. “Sugarcube” – All I can say about “Sugarcube” is that it had one of the best music videos ever.
12. “I Should Have Known Better” – “I Should Have Known Better” is one of my favorites from the new CD, and it was good to hear it live. James sang most of it.
13. “Tom Courtenay” – No comment.
14. “Watch Out For Me Ronnie” – This was a fun rave-up, but it was also far too loud. It was actually painful in places. I’ve never been one to bring hearing protection to a concert, but this song makes me want to rethink that policy. I’ve still got a headache.
15. “The Story of Yo La Tango” – This song starts out with a lengthy instrumental and Ira finally starts singing a good 6-7 minutes in. Even then, it’s not halfway over. This, plus “Pass the Hatchet…”, probably took up at least 25-28 minutes of the show. Both are good songs, but I’m getting too old to stand in the middle of a crowd of people and listen to lengthy jams. I gave up. I left my spot and went to lean up against the wall while Ira tossed his guitar around the stage for another ten minutes.
“The Story of Yo La Tango” was the last song of the set. The band left the stage and went to hide for a few minutes in the closet over by the merch table; that’s as close to a “backstage” as the Southgate House gets. I honestly thought the show was over, as there were only about a couple dozen people clapping, but Yo La Tengo saw fit to come back out for an encore anyway.
16. “How She Boogalooed It” – The encore set started out with a Beach Boys cover sung by James. The Beach Boys have a lot of great songs, but “How She Boogalooed It” isn’t one of them. It was still fun to hear, though. “S-O-C-K I-T to me!”
17. “Autumn Sweater” – This is another classic from I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. It’s one of my favorite Yo La Tengo songs.
18. “…so I’ve been told…” – Yo La Tengo played this song with the opening act, a group called Times New Viking. They said it was a Half Japanese cover, but I haven’t been able to find any information about the song. If you’re a Half Japanese fan and recognize the song, please let me know. [UPDATE 2/24/12: “Or So I’ve Been Told” by Jason Willett and Jad Fair]
19. “Dreaming” – Georgia sang this Sun Ra cover. It’s a sweet little song and proved to be one of my personal favorites from the evening.
Yo La Tengo left the stage after this. Although much of the audience had left by now, the band got a much better crowd response this time. Those who stuck around seemed to be the most vocal fans. Half the people were making twice as much noise as before. The band came out for one more song.
20. “Can’t Forget” – The band stood on the stage for a few minutes trying to figure out how to end the show. Eventually they settled on “Can’t Forget”. Fakebook is still my favorite Yo La Tengo release (and one of my favorite albums by anyone in any genre), and hearing this Fakebook original was the highlight of my night. I’m glad I stuck it out to the end.