Beth and I headed off to the University District for the first of two nights of Yo La Tengo concerts at the Neptune Theatre. We got in a traffic jam on the way, but still ended up arriving just as the doors opened. We rushed upstairs and staked out the two best seats still available in the front row of the balcony.
I went to the merch table and bought us each a t-shirt designed by James McNew. In doing so, I said something I never thought I’d say outloud.
I’d like an extra-large octopus and a large turtle.
I got a chuckle out of that.
We sat for about an hour and fifteen minutes until James, Georgia Hubley, and Ira Kaplan came on out. They started in on “You Are Here,” the opener off their latest album, There’s a Riot Going On. The first five minutes were nothing but jingle bells. Then Georgia and James both started playing the drums. Ira joined on guitar. It went on a long time and was loud, trippy, and a lot of fun. The same could be said for just about the entire show. Especially the loud part. I’d forgotten how loud Yo La Tengo can be having last seen them a couple years ago on their largely acoustic Stuff Like That There tour.
Here’s the setlist:
First set: You Are Here / Forever / The Ballad of Red Buckets / Ashes* / She May, She Might / The Crying of Lot G / Black Flowers^ / Nowhere Near* / Here You Are
Second set: (Out of the Pool) / Before We Run* / Moby Octopad / For You Too / Shades of Blue* / Autumn Sweater / The Story of Jazz / Nothing to Hide / Tom Courtenay / (I Heard You Looking)
Encore: Accident^ (Electric Eels) / The River of Water / I Still Miss Someone* (Johnny Cash)
It was really a wonderful show. Perhaps the best part is that we’ll get to do it all over again on Friday night. I’ll bring earplugs for that one.
[NOTE: Songs marked with an asterick were sung by Georgia Hubley. Songs marked with a little pointy thing were sung by James McNew. I haven’t officially confirmed the two songs in parentheses. Those are best guesses for now.]