The Closer I Get, The Further I Have To Go

I wrote about the Neutral Milk Hotel tour in this blog a while ago.  I was initially pretty bummed because it looked as though they were only touring the southeastern United States and then hitting some international locations.  I remember thinking, “Maybe, just maybe, they’ll stumble across this blog and see they have fans who really want them to come to the Midwest.”  (It sounds stupid and crazy, but the name of this blog was taken from a line in one of their songs … So it might not be that crazy if one of the band members was, for whatever reason, Googling that particular line.  I mean, it’s still kind of crazy … But stranger things have happened!)

Not long after that post, they added new tour dates on their website.  I like to think I had something to do with the fact that they were suddenly coming to Kansas City (a city I specifically mentioned in my previous post), but I probably didn’t.  Though, if I did, that would be so fucking awesome.

Anyway, Eric and I packed up and drove the 3 hours to Kansas City late Thursday afternoon to make the February 13th show.  And it was definitely worth the trip!


Unfortunately this is the only picture I have to remember the night.  The band very specifically asked that absolutely no video or pictures be taken during the show.  There were, of course, some assholes in the audience who apparently didn’t give a shit, but I was not one of those people.  That just … Really bothers me.  I mean, there were literally signs everywhere, and they made an announcement right before the band came on … Obviously they really didn’t want videos and pictures of the show floating around.  I don’t think it’s that hard to put down your phone for a few hours to enjoy the moment.  But whatever … Rant over!  Personal photo.

I’d never heard of the opening act, Elf Power, prior to purchasing tickets for the show.  (There was at least one diehard fan in the audience, though.  After they finished a song, he shouted, “That’s like my third favorite song of yours!”  It was kind of funny in a really weird way.)  I was pleasantly surprised by their set, which was mostly filled with high energy songs.  When I checked them out on Spotify, I was shocked to see that they’ve released 11 albums (or possibly more, if Spotify doesn’t have them all available) over the span of almost 20 years!  I don’t know how I’ve never heard of them, but I’m excited to start listening to their music on a regular basis.

After Elf Power’s set ended, I waited impatiently for more.  And then, after what felt like an eternity, Jeff Mangum appeared (barely recognizable, I might add, since he had an extremely full beard) and began playing “Two-Headed Boy” alone.  At the end of the song, the rest of the band stepped onstage and went straight into “The Fool.”  It was kind of awesome because that’s honestly how I hear the songs in my head when I think about them … The entire In the Aeroplane Over the Sea album just flows so well that certain songs just seem to fit.

I doubt I’ll remember every song that was played that night, but I do know that they played several non album tracks, including “Ferris Wheel on Fire” and the closing song, “Engine.”  They also covered the majority of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, including the title track (which made Eric happy since he actually really likes that song).  In addition, they played several songs from their debut album, On Avery Island.

I think that overall they played a great mix of songs.  If I could have changed one thing about the setlist, I would have added “Three Peaches” because I absolutely love that song.  Knowing the (supposed) backstory, though, I honestly wasn’t expecting them to play it.  If what I’ve read is true, it seems like it could potentially be too painful to play that for an audience.

My personal favorites that were played that night were as follows (in no particular order):

  • “Oh Comely”
  • “Holland, 1945”
  • “Song Against Sex”
  • “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”
  • “Two-Headed Boy”
  • “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2”
  • “The Fool”
  • “A Baby for Pree/Glow Into You”

The show was amazing, though, and I really enjoyed every song they played … Those are just a few of the songs I was most excited to hear live.  I even got a little teary during “Oh Comely.”  I used to play that song on repeat when I was dealing with some rough shit years ago.

I can’t wait to see them again next month here in Omaha (because once just isn’t enough, obviously)!


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