At last I am Freewheeling

Going through life as I do with a smile for an umbrella, I rarely give voice to a complaint.  That said, it does not go unnoticed that as we approach our 30th birthday, Yo La Tengo is rarely considered the new, young band.  But six years ago today, we were just that, opening a show in Sevilla, Spain for the New York Dolls (a mere six days later it happened again, as we went on just before the Happy Mondays).   And now that I think of it, in 2003, we toured with another group formed before us: the Clean.  June 7 is the our second show together, at the Vic in Chicago.  We encore with Robert Scott singing his “Before We Go Under,” and he and Hamish Kilgour help out on “Little Honda” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine.”  Not only that, but Dave Schramm‘s in town, playing nearby in Laura Cantrell‘s group, so he drops in mid-set for three songs.  Great memories, all of them, but I think a band secret ballot would choose our 2009 Freewheeling show in Hamburg as our favorite recollection of the day.  Held in a beautiful old theater with a narrow dressing area filled with costumes and props, when someone asked “What’s on your rider?” we left the stage for a moment and returned with a few samples.  As usual, we introduced the set by suggesting that the audience ask real questions, as opposed to, say, “Will you play ‘Sugarcube’?”  No sooner are the words out of my mouth than a gentleman on the stage right side of the room hollers, “My Heart’s Reflection!”  We reiterate that we’re really looking for questions, which quiets him, but not for long.  “Pablo and Andrea,” he yells out a bit later.  Once more explaining that we prefer that people don’t just shout out song titles, we perhaps send a mixed message by our conciliatory gesture of doing “My Heart’s Reflection.”  Late in the show, someone on stage left interrupts some story the three of us are telling, interjecting a song title that escapes me now, but I recall as tangentially related to our conversation.  Looking right, my thought is to ignore the voice, but then I see out of the corner of my eye a tilt of James’s head pointing me to the source of the request.  It’s the guy from earlier in the show, having switched seats,  I can only assume thinking a new location will result in better reactions to his contributions.