Yo La Tengo - Live at the Theatre of the Living Arts - 123 min.

Recorded live in Philadelphia, PA, 12/31/98

Setlist information courtesy of Rob


A fine show that I was lucky enough to see in person. Cool little opening instrumental bit preceding "Center of Gravity". Nice "Circus Strongman". Jad Fair sings several numbers; his "You Turn Me On" is hilarious, as are Ira's flow-of-consciousness lyrics in the middle of "Love Power" (especially in regards to Prince's "1999"). Ira plays a little bit of "The Simpsons" theme in the middle of the monster post-"Motel 6" jam preceding the countdown to midnight. James sings "New Day Rising", and Georgia sings a quiet version of "Double Dare".

Sound is clean, but echoes of drunken yahoos can be heard on the perimeter (oh well, it was a long night). Contains a great little exchange between Ira and a guy in the crowd who thought they were going to play a different request:

  Ira: We're going to play a request...
  Guy: "Speeding Motorcycle"!
  Ira: No, it's not "Speeding Motorcycle", that's...
  Guy: [belligerent] Why not?!
  Ira: Because we do that one all the time, this one we don't do very much...
  Guy: [defiantly] I never heard it!
  Ira: [suddenly stops tuning his guitar to lay down the law] Oh yes you did!
       [crowd: "Wooooo!"]
The TLA's New Year's decorations were pretty pathetic...they had two small bunches of balloons netted to the ceiling, and when midnight came, they pulled the strings to release them, but only one of the nets opened. The other bunch just kind of hung there, looking very forlorn. Ira's comment: "Y'know, some of your balloons are stuck up there...I don't wanna, y'know, criticize the way you throw a New Year's party here, but..."

Bonus tracks at the end of disc 2 include obscure vinyl sides as well as the tracks from the freebie 7" they handed out at the door (which I can't believe I missed): "Run Run Run" b/w "Urban Crusher".

Digital editing: fixed a few pops: "Demons", "Heart's Reflection". Faded out applause at the end of the first disc, which ended rather abruptly.

Michael Edmonson (edmonson@sdf.lonestar.org)