Let us be very thankful for Yo La Tengo. It would be easy to take them for granted: A 22-year career of releasing consistently solid albums and playing wide-ranging venues, relatively drama-free, hype-free, and falter-free. And for the past 16 years, the same three talented people writing songs that are often shifting in style, shining a light on usually-obscure cover songs, all the while making everything they perform just so perfectly, well, "Yo La Tengo"-sounding.
If a visiting time-traveler had shown me each incredibly-varied setlist from the band's just finished "The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo" tour, and allowed me to pick just one show to attend, it would have been exactly the one I ended up at: The early installment of their two-show visit to the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston this past Thursday. So many personal YLT faves were performed, it was as if it was tailor-made for my ears, but really, I owe that mostly to fellow fans and their requests during the free-form Q&A sessions that happened between many of the songs. "Stockholm Syndrome", "Decora", "Big Day Coming", "One PM Again", "Today Is The Day", "Pablo and Andrea", "Deeper Into Movies", "Detouring American With Horns": all songs that would end up on my own "best of Yo La Tengo" mix. Throw in both a Bob Dylan and a Neil Young cover, and I honestly couldn't imagine a better YLT show.
I'm also pretty thankful that I was even able to be there in the first place, after missing out on tickets when I wasn't sure I'd be free that evening. Unsurprisingly, both shows sold out quickly, and there were more beggars than offerers on craigslist that day. I thought I'd struck a deal for a ticket that afternoon, but the impatient seller sold it out from under me after saying it was available and all mine. So in the end, I owe my attendance to a kind soul with an extra guestlist spot. Had I not made it in after coming so close, and then saw this setlist, well, I'll just say I'm thankful it worked out...
Photos: My Flickr-hosted shots are here. Check out the full Yo La Tengo Flickr tag search. And as the band mentions above (thanks to an informed audience member), they played on (an unbroadcasted) Saturday Night Live over the weekend, performing "Mr. Tough" and another song. There's visual confirmation of this happening right here, in the form of a New York Times photo.
Upcoming live dates:
Yo La Tengo is once again performing their series of Hanukkah shows this year at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ, starting on December 4th and ending on the 11th. All eight shows feature special surprise openers, and all are already sold out.
the fine print... If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav, edited for leveling, then converted to 192kbps Mp3s w/Lame. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.