Anyone who read the saga of our Albuquerque debut will be less than bowled over to learn that it was four years before our return engagement, on this day in 1992. Even before arriving at the Golden West, things are going well: we’ve had carne adovada burritos at the M&J Sanitary Tortilla Factory, I’ve scored a Scholastic book about the Blues Project that will eventually provide us with liner notes for Electr-o-pura, and after a small tug o’ war, we’ve recovered the van’s removable tape deck from the housekeepers that tried to pocket it when we inadvertently left it in our hotel room. The show goes well, and we’re not the only ones who think so. An audience member tells me something to the effect of that we are as good as Television, to which I reply, “That’s quite a compliment.” “Here’s another compliment,” offers the eavesdropping frontman of the opening Ant Farmers, of indeterminate sobriety but unquestionable good intentions, “Fakebook is so much better than your new album.” Soon, we depart for some late-night green chile at the Frontier. On the short walk from our parking space, our attention is drawn to something we’ve never seen before. At the end of an alley, someone is urinating, and rather than doing so in the traditional manner, against the wall, back to possible onlookers, he is facing the street. “Hey, Yo La Tengo!” greets the singer of the Ant Farmers, lack of sobriety now confirmed.
Meanwhile, the mailbag is overflowing on April 13. Jason from Portsmouth, NH tells us: I booked Yo La Tengo at The University of New Hampshire (WUNH 91.3FM) in 1995–actually it was 1996– and only 26 people showed up, I was devastated, but it was on that day and ever since that they’ve become my most favorite band… why? Because they were honest, real human beings that played great music and performed an amazing show. I even had their song Autumn Sweater as a first dance in my Fall wedding of 2001. Chris and Linda from Columbus, OH write: We played your cover of “By the Time It Gets Dark” at our wedding in 2007. Michael from Yellow Springs, OH is not invited to the ceremony: April 13th, 2007 – you played Indianapolis at the Vogue Theatre. That show was the second show I saw with my wife Heather – of 11 shows to this day (her first was at Louisville’s Bomhard Theatre in January). Like a typical YLT show, Ira was musing about food, and in particular a sauce (mustard, horseradish – but no, it wasn’t one of those) that he could only find in Indianapolis. I’m sure you’ll recall which. The Vogue is a great old theater and we had a lovely time, and Heather got to see the your Kinks love for the first (but definitely not the last time) in the encore . . . was it “Days”?–it wasn’t, it was “There Is No Life Without Love.” But I can see into the future and I believe I know YLT’s This Day in History for July 7th, 2014 (or 8th, my future-viewing is fuzzy). After a spectacular show at Vida Festival, the band travels to Helsinki for a midnight sun concert (as compared to the previous time in that city, which was in November). Heather and I just happen to be in Finland for a conference. On this day, I actually screw up the nerve to talk to Ira, which I haven’t done since 2000, over a beverage at a nondescript Euro hotel. Later that evening, the band opens with “Green Arrow,” which I’ve only seen as an opening song – or perhaps ever in the setlist – one other time, that being the supremely captivating
Nelsonville Opera House show of September 24, 2009. In all seriousness, thanks Georgia, James and Ira for your music. I’ve been sustained in really bad times and in great times by what you’ve made – I won’t bore you with the specific details, but ever since that fateful day in December ’93 when I bought and listened to Painful, I’ve been grateful.