Neutral Milk Hotel Reunion Setlist - Baltimore 10/11/13

Earlier tonight, Baltimore’s 2640 Space at St. John’s Church hosted the first U.S. Neutral Milk Hotel show in 15 years. Photography and video of the performance were not allowed, but tweets from some of the 500 or so fans in attendance relay that Jeff Mangum sported a beard and a sweater and opened with “Two Headed-Boy.” There was also a lamb-shaped lamp onstage and new merch (t-shirts and posters) was sold. Elf Power served as the opening act. Check out the setlist above, and some envy-inducing social media updates below.

Here’s the full tour schedule:

10/11 Baltimore, MD @ 2640 Space at St. John’s Church *
10/12 Richmond, VA @ The National *
10/14 Covington, KY @ Madison Theater *
10/15 Urbana, IL @ The Canopy Club *
10/16 Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note *
10/18 Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall *
10/19 Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29 *
10/20 Birmingham, AL @ Iron City *
10/22 Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club *
10/23 Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club #
10/24 Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club ^
10/25 Asheville, NC @ Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit # &
10/26 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle #
10/27 Atlanta, GA @ Tabernalce *$
11/12 Brisbane, AU @ The Tivoli !@
11/14 Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre !@
11/15 Melbourne, AU @ The Forum !@
11/20 Dunedin, NZ @ Sammy’s
11/22 Wellington, NZ @ James Cabaret
11/23 Auckland, NZ @ The Kings Arms Tavern
11/24 Auckland, NZ @ The Kings Arms Tavern
11/28 Taipei, TW @ Hostess Club Festival
11/30 Tokyo, JP @ Hostess Club Festival
01/16 Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
01/17 Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
01/18 Montreal, QC @ Olympia
01/19 Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
01/20 Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
01/22 Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre
01/24 Brooklyn, NY @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
01/25 Brooklyn, NY @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
01/27 New York, NY @ Webster Hall
01/28 New York, NY @ Webster Hall
01/29 Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
01/30 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
01/31 Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
02/01 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
02/02 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
02/04 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
02/05 St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
02/06 Chicago, IL @ The Riviera
02/07 Chicago, IL @ The Riviera
02/08 Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
02/10 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
02/11 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
02/13 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
02/14 Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
02/15 Dallas, TX @ Majestic Theatre
02/17 Austin, TX @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater
02/18 Austin, TX @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater
02/19 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
02/20 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
02/21 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
05/16 Dublin, IE @ Vicar Street
05/18 Manchester, UK @ Manchester Albert Hall
05/19 Glasgow, UK @ Barrowland
05/21 London, UK @ Roundhouse
05/25 Paris, FR @ Le Trianon
05/27 Toulouse, FR @ Metronum
05/29-31 Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
06/05-07 Porto, PT @ Optimus Primavera Sound

* = w/ Elf Power
# = w/ Half Japanese
^ = w/ Circulatory System
& = w/ Daniel Johnston
$ = w/ Robert Scneider
! = w/ Superchunk
@ = w/ M. Ward

[Img via @NoelleKendra.]

Comments (16)
  1. When Olivia Tremor Control played Arthurfest in LA back in 2006 they had the sheep lamp on stage. I can’t for the life of me find my photo of it, but there are some things that, once you see, cannot be unseen.

  2. This article is like the Voltron of technology. Very cool.

  3. I just got home from this show and it was amazing. The venue was an old church with all the pews taken out to make a small space that holds a few hundred standing. I saw Jeff Mangum play this stage last year, and I was a little worried that experience couldn’t be matched, what with the rain pounding on the roof and the whole audience stomping out the rhythm section and singing the horn parts, while Jeff sat up there alone selling the whole NMH concept by himself. But of course it was even better to see the whole band.

    Jeff came out and started singing “Two Headed Boy” alone and then the band crept in at the end and they all launched into “The Fool.” People went nuts. It sounded so good.

    They played almost everything, including every song from “Aeroplane” except “Communist Daughter,” a song from “Everything Is” and about half of “Avery Island.” The encore was “Naomi,” “Ferriswheel on Fire” and “Engine.”

    They played a medley that started with “A Baby for Pree/Glow” and then went into “Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone.” I loved that.

    The burners were all great. Everyone in the band seemed out of their heads excited to be playing together, especially Julian and Scott. Scott got applause almost every time he played the horn.

    I could say a lot more, but I have to sleep.

    • I was there too. How amazing was that show?

      Seeing Jeff solo there back in 2011 was amazing, with the crowd in hushed, reverent awe. Last night was completely different, people were jumping up and down, thrilled, and ecstatic. And the songs, live, with a full band, were just incredible.

      I so badly wish I had a recording of that version of “Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone”.

      • I don’t need to go to anymore live shows. I can be done now. I probably still will, and I’ll pretend to be excited, but I think this concert was the one I’ll be telling my (extremely weirded out and confused) grandchildren about. “Yeah, most of the songs were about a deformed fetus falling in love with Anne Frank, but we loved it. You should have heard the horns section!”

  4. I LIVE IN RICHMOND AND I CAN’T GO TOMORROW AND I THINK I JUST MIGHT KILL MYSELF

  5. They better not neglect the entire West Coast….

  6. That’s a show worth seeing. Wow. I have extended family in Baltimore. Would have loved to catch the show. New album, please? :)

  7. So is the West coast just getting left out of all of this, or are there more dates to be announced? I would hate it if they don’t make it to Colorado and I can’t really imagine them doing five nights in Georgia but not a single one in California.

  8. Went to the Richmond show last night, and I really wish I could analyze it in a critical way. But I can’t. And I won’t. They were absolutely wonderful. The slower songs like “Oh, Comely” had an electric energy to them just like Mangum’s solo performances but with all the extra bits the full band can provide, and the fast songs just slayed. Stunning.
    A few quick notes
    -Jeff Mangum has completed the homeless-chic transition and has a full beard and long hair that was so absurd I think it might’ve been a wig.
    -The audio was perfect, you could clearly hear the brass parts and the singing saw. That’s partially b/c The National tends to have good audio, but it sounds like they’ve taken the time to figure their shit out.
    -Their drummer is an absolute beast. I never really noticed before.
    -Elf Power was pretty meh, but they had some technical problems, I only caught the last parts of their set

    Overall this is a mandatory experience. If you can see them DO IT.

  9. As a serious fanboy for the better part of a decade, I have no ability to critically analyze this, but:
    I saw them in Richmond last night. I grew up not only on the music but the mythology: the E6 collective in Athens, the 33 and 1/3 book (which is one of the best in the series–really solid oral history and excellent narrative of the creation of the album), the endless search for bootleg live recordings and uploaded cassette demos (anyone else remember the Shannon Monroe House demos and how insane that moment was when new NMH hit the internet?). That record wove itself into my adolescence, soundtracking long drives with nothing to think about, homework, ill-advised makeouts, family vacations, my first time smoking weed, and the moments when I truly bonded with my little brother and best friend.

    I came to the show last night at a low point emotionally. I had been planning this for so long, and the intensity of what I felt leading up to it was so great, that I had no way of processing what I was supposed to be feeling. I felt like my lifetime of NMH enthusiasm couldn’t be consummated in a single night, and seeing them finally was almost too real, too tangible–the mystery and the mythology was evaporating in a regular ass show at the National, a venue I’ve been to a dozen times. I got my seven dollar cup of beer, chatted distractedly with my girlfriend, and waited to see a show that I knew would be enjoyable but would probably be just that.

    It’s not that my greatest hopes were validated; it’s not that the years of passionate, obnoxious love for the band found an outlet in ecstatic dancing and screaming; it’s not that it was everything I’d hoped it would be. It was something else entirely. It was the only people that loved the songs more than I did coming back together after 15 years, taking the stage in a whirlwind of instrument switching and pogo-ing. The noisy moments were as raucous and ass-kicking as they sounded on the bootlegs of the Carrboro and San Fran ’98 shows, the quiet moments simultaneously gentle and triumphant. The horns were note-for-note perfect during these quiet parts, straining only during the frantic energy of the sped-up versions of Song Against Sex and Gardenhead, but all the more emotive and authentic for that. Snow Song pt. 1 has never, in any demo or bootleg I’ve heard, sounded more anthemic or more uplifting than last night. During the singing saw interlude in In the Areoplane Over the Sea, I saw my girlfriend wipe away tears.

    All this to say: I went to the best show of my life. Not because it was Neutral Milk Hotel, but because I saw a group of people take 19 songs that they held dear and put everything they had into them. The band was having fun. Jeff was having fun. When he said thank you, which he did often, you could tell he meant it. And to Jeff I say, in return: thank you.

    • Yeah, there is really no reunion tour cynicism here. They’re not past their prime as performers or just going through the motions. The whole thing is so immediate and real. My high expectations were also met.

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