Live Toast

We spread the jam.

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For many it was a long awaited moment, the equivalent of the arrival of Warhol, Godot or the Dalai Lama, the Return of the King (of Carrot Flowers) after years in exile. It was the first time many of us had ever seen him in person. The sheer anticipation of seeing the man whose wailing, disembodied voice and Byzantine lyrics defined Neutral Milk Hotel’s two seminal albums evaporated when Jeff Magnum shambled out onstage and took his seat.

The moment seemed like it was never going to happen after the show was postponed twice due to the crippling amount of snow dumped around the concert venue by #Nemo. Despite the delay, the Great Hall at Hartford’s Union Station was packed with a motley assortment of fans of all ages including a surprising number of minors, which was strange considering that Neutral Milk Hotel disbanded in 1998. The number of young faces in the crowd spoke to the enduring quality of the music.

Wearing a cabbie hat with his long hair spilling out the sides, Mangum picked one of the guitars up off the rack next to him, mumbled something to the first row and without much fanfare began playing Two Headed Boy.

With that, the crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief. For anyone who has spent time with his albums, they hold a special place if only for their pure animal magnetism. Up until only a few years ago the prospect of actually hearing the music performed live was nil, as much a figment of the imagination as having a drink with J.D. Salinger prior to his death. Yet there we all were, in the same room, in the flesh, one degree of separation from the source. Like a benevolent pied piper, Mangum led us all in one great, cathartic sing-a-long, and if the words of his record label are to be believed, maybe his last in Hartford.

dear friends,

with mouth music the meaning seems to say that there are rumors going round that that this is to be jeff's final tour. it is not, although to be clear his solo acoustic show will not be returning to any city he has already visited anytime in the foreseeable future. as for the waterfalling woman, we deeply and humbly paralogize for any inconfusion her face of fireworks may have formed while you were falling asleep.

from a thoracopagus dovecote of comets,
artoria gibbons
nmh records

Setlist:
Two-Headed Boy (Pts 1 & 2)
Gardenhead / Leave Me Alone
Song Against Sex
King Of Carrot Flowers (Pt 1, Pts 2 & 3)
Oh Comely
A Baby for Pree
Oh Sister
Holland, 1945
Animal
Ghost

Encore:
Engine
In the Aeroplane Over The Sea

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