Yo La Tengo finally took the stage in a blaze of holiday fury. Well, ok, it was more of a good natured shuffle, including commentary on the Menorah (sitting proudly on the piano) which had the wrong candle lit the night before, according to them. Then as they picked up instruments there was a quip that non-earplug portion of the evening had about 3 minutes to go. Which minutes were spent on a loverly version of The Weakest Part, and then, true to their word they launched loudly into a fiery fast version of Big Day Coming.
That photo looks like total crap, but I actually love it because it represents how impossible it was to capture Ira in action on keys, vocals and maraccas on that song. Total action, as Steve would say.
The show was wholly rocking throughout - vintage YLT, with a Velvet Underground cover (Guess I'm Falling in Love), cashmere "hits" (does Yo La Tengo have "hits"? Anyway, they did Autumn Sweater), relative rarities old (Five Cornered Drone) and new (Watch Out for me Ronnie), and collaborations with their guests.
Gotta love that pink sparkly 12-string, right??
They brought it all home with an orgasmic Story of Yo La Tengo and then brought Stephin back up to do some Irving Berlin (Be Careful, It's My Heart - thank you Yo La Blog)
Then came Super Secret Guest #3: Doug Gillard, of the later years of Death of Samantha and some of the highest peak moments of Guided by Voices. They started with George Gershwin's Foggy Day in London Town - this being Hanukkah, a premium was placed on the Jewish American Songbook, to universal acclaim (the universe for the purposes of this discussion consisting of the collected contents of Maxwell's)
The encore set was low-key amazing - more covers, natch. Culminated in "Next Big Thing" which was a perfect lead in for the Super Secretest Guest of them all...
...Ira's mom, who sang "My Little Corner of the World" Fun was had, tears of joy were shed. My understanding is that she comes to sing this at one show every year, but I've never had the fortune to be there before.
Did someone say Hanukkah Miracle? Remember, we were this close to missing not only this show, but the whole series of benefits at Maxwell's (this is a good place to mention that the worthwhile causes for this night's show were Burma Border Projects, and Burmese Refugee Project) Maybe I need to bring a representative of the 12 Tribes to all their shows...