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Saw Jeff Mangum last week...(Neutral Milk Hotel)


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Last Saturday I saw Jeff Mangum at the Redford Theatre in Detroit. (Anyone else there??) Anyway, I just thought if there are any NMH fans on the forum, I'd give ya a review/description of the show..

 

Setlist:

1. Two Headed Boy

2. King of Carrot Flowers Parts 1, 2, & 3

3. Gardenhead

4. Engine

5. Holland, 1945

6. Oh Comely

7. Oh Sister

8. Song Against Sex

9. Naomi

10. Ghost

11. Two Headed Boy Pt. 2

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12. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

 

Aside from the show, the venue was BEAUTIFUL. It was a night-sky ceiling and it felt like you were outside. Lots of abstract art, and odd things around. Definitely fitting for Jeff.

To start off, there were a few things I didn't expect. (Besides his incredibly large beard that he apparently has been growing...) But he actually encourged the crowd to sing along, and talk to him in between songs during tuning, water breaks, etc...

During the first song, everybody was silent. Listening to him spit the lyrics, and strum the guitar with more emotion than any of us had seen before, was incredible. After it ended and we were all in awe, we clapped and cheered, and he noted "Why don't you guys start singing along. You'll know this one.." and from that point on, everybody sang every song...witht the exception of some parts of Oh Comely. Not because we did not know the words, but because the song is so intimate, and eerie...seeing him sing and play it in complete silence was something nobody wanted to miss.

 

I definitely got the impression Jeff does NOT feel comfortable with the way people feel and think about him. He knows people worship him..and he doesn't want to be treated like the indie-folk messiah he is. So he talked to the crowd like a PERSON, told stories, swore like a sailor, and encourged the sing-a-long.

 

Right before Ghost, he made a half-serious joke about wanting to be closer to the crowd. Eventually after a few exchanges with individual crowd members, the entire crowd ended up on their feet, as close to the stage as possible, out of their seats. (I ended up getting about 8-10 feet away.)

 

It was a magical show and just seeing Jeff was so incredibly cool. I adore Aeroplane, and enjoy On Avery Island as well. This is apparently Jeff's last U.S. tour so I had to go.

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Oh, this is so exciting to hear! I'm going to see him on Feb. 4 in Charlottesville. It was really hard to get the ticket, because it's a tiny theater (Jefferson) and apparently it sold out almost immediately after it was announced. Finally found a ticket on Craigslist and will actually be driving the guy I got the ticket from to the show. (He's on the way.)

 

Anyway, I had no idea what to expect, and sometimes highly anticipated events like this don't live up to your expectations, so this just builds the anticipation. It sounds like an unmissable night, and right in my wheelhouse. Thanks so much for the report.

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Despite the fact that I have seen him twice before, with NMH, I am incredibly jealous. Would love to seed him again. Thanks for the report, RTJ!

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I saw him in Wilmington, DE last week and came away with the same impression as the original post. I was shocked about how engaging he was with the crowd after knowing that he was for all intent purposes retired from music until about a year or so ago. He also had great banter with the crowd and initiated all of the sing a longs to the songs.

 

The setlist was the same, which I am guessing is the case for every show. It wasn't until the encore of In the Aeroplane Over The Sea that everyone left their seats and went right up to the stage. Although the venue, Dupont Theater, was very small and intimate so it seemed like everyone was on top of the stage even while in their seats.

 

I have had tickets to see him a couple different times recently for his NY shows but something always unfortunately came up and I couldn't attend. I was extrememly happy that I finally got to see him before he stops playing shows again.

 

Really wish NMH would get together for a run a shows again though, I am not even asking for an album, just want to see the songs played in their original form one more time.

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I saw him in Wilmington, DE last week and came away with the same impression as the original post. I was shocked about how engaging he was with the crowd after knowing that he was for all intent purposes retired from music until about a year or so ago. He also had great banter with the crowd and initiated all of the sing a longs to the songs.

 

The setlist was the same, which I am guessing is the case for every show. It wasn't until the encore of In the Aeroplane Over The Sea that everyone left their seats and went right up to the stage. Although the venue, Dupont Theater, was very small and intimate so it seemed like everyone was on top of the stage even while in their seats.

 

I have had tickets to see him a couple different times recently for his NY shows but something always unfortunately came up and I couldn't attend. I was extrememly happy that I finally got to see him before he stops playing shows again.

 

Really wish NMH would get together for a run a shows again though, I am not even asking for an album, just want to see the songs played in their original form one more time.

His engagement with the crowd definitely catches you a bit off guard. Glad you had fun and had a chance to catch him!

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His engagement with the crowd definitely catches you a bit off guard. Glad you had fun and had a chance to catch him!

If you had heard the live Jeff Mangum at Jittery Joe's album, it wouldn't. He had a pretty good banter going there. 

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I saw him a couple of weeks back...It was awesome to see him play; it was...

 

But...Dear sweet Jesus, the hipster douche bags in the crowd was almost unbearable.  Too much pushing to try and get close to the stage and over-the-top fawning...blah.  I thought jam band fans, frat boys and their ilk were the worst, not so anymore: Hipster retards are the worst.  It was that unpleasant of an experience.  As much as I love the music, I just can't see myself ever wanting to go see him play again because of the crowd he attracts.  

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I saw him in Charlottesville last week, and I've held off commenting because I feel old and out of it, but I really have to echo what brianjeremy said. I'm a newcomer to Jeff Mangum and NMH, but I immersed myself in Aeroplane, Avery Island and even the Jittery Joe's CDs before going. As far as the performance, it was terrific--it felt very much like ripthisjoint described. Obviously, I don't have the soul-deep connection with the music that many people have, though, so I didn't expect to be overcome with emotion and I guess I shouldn't be judgmental about people who were, but damn, it was astonishing. I don't know that I'd characterize the audience as douchebags exactly, but they were totally enraptured. Some people around me were crying, and in between songs guys were yelling out "You saved my life, man" and You're the reason I make music, man." Sort of like the messiah come down to earth. . . or maybe like I would have been around Bob Dylan back in the day, after the motorcycle accident. I don't know, it's hard to draw comparisons, but it was really a bit much. Then, to top off the whole feeling of alienation, just before the show started some kid taps me on the shoulder and asks in wide-eyed astonishment if I was really here to see Jeff Mangum. Like, do you know his music? I said, yeah, I really like him. then he throws his arms around me and said "You're my hero, I wanna be just like you!" What can I say? All i could do was laugh it off and smile bemusedly. I mean, at my advanced age I'm used to feeling a bit out of the norm demographically at concerts, but this really made me feel like a relic. Of course, that's just one aspect of the experience, and there was nothing in the music or Jeff Mangum that was off-putting in the slightest. Still, if I have the opportunity to see him live again, I may just take a pass based on the audience. (By then, of course, I'll likely be toddling along with a walker and a respirator. . . )

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Man, I wish I could go but I have to work the next day.  I live close enough to go (2 hours) and I do go to Atlanta for shows sometimes...  Elf Power's playing too and I love me some Elf Power.

 

Asheville is closer for me (less than an hour) and they're playing the Oasis Music Festival thingy the same weekend but there is no guarantee that I get into see them that weekend.  I'm not fighting a bunch of hippies all weekend in cramped spaces just to not get let in; that's just not my idea of a good time.  It would be awesome if they sold individual tickets to the show in Asheville.  

 

Bummer...wish I could go.

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