Yo La Tengo wrapped up Hanukkah 2019 w/ Jon Spencer, Laurie Anderson, more (setlist, pics, video)
For the final evening of a great run of 2019 Hanukkah shows at The Bowery Ballroom, Yo La Tengo pulled all out the stops. The surprise opener for night 8 was Jon Spencer and his non-Blues Explosion solo project, The HITmakers, whose lineup includes Sam Coomes (Quasi), Bob Bert (Sonic Youth) and M. Sord. They played a quick-n-dirty set accented by crunchy riffs, howls and yelps, with Bert literally banging on trash cans with hammers.
Following the HITmakers’ set, Ira Kaplan came out with a list of people he neglected to thank during night 7, including behind-the-scenes personnel like security who helped make the show happen. He then introduced the next performer, Rob Zabrecky who her known simply as Zabrecky when he’s in magician/mentalist mode. (This was the second mentalist of the week, with The Amazing Kreskin appearing on Night 5.) Zabrecky, who fronted alt-rock band Possum Dixon (“Watch That Girl Destroy Me”) in the ’90s, had hilarious feats of illusion that included a number of audience members as participants.
Walking out to Rocky theme “Gonna Fly Now,” Ira, Georgia Hubley and James McNew kicked off their Night 8 set with a cover of a classic, “Seven Day Weekend,” reworked with a Hanukkah theme as “Eight Day Weekend.” Then surprise guest and guitar great Bill Frisell joined the band and stayed for the rest of the entire main set. It was sheer bliss to hear his guitar work in addition to Ira’s already great instrumentation and a wonder to see how perfectly Frisell wove in his additional notes. Rob Zabrecky came back out to join the band and Frisell to sing on a blistering cover of The Dream Syndicate’s “The Days Of Wine And Roses” and Zabrecky also brought a little magic (and confetti) to it as well. Tour manager Joe Puleo briefly played organ for an extended version of “I Heard You Looking,” and for the last song of the main set, Yo La Tengo chose “I Feel Like Going Home,” which seemed entirely appropriate as the band played close to 150 different songs over the eight-night stretch.
As usual, the encore included more special guests, and first up on Night 8 was the incredible Laurie Anderson and her special violin. They played a droney version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with Ira on vocals, followed by a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” with Georgia on lead. Lastly, as is the tradition, Ira’s mom, Marylin, came out to sing “My Little Corner of the World,” and thus ended another amazing bunch of Hanukkah shows with Yo La Tengo.
The band’s own Georgia Hubley created the mix CD for the eighth night. Jon Spencer pulled double duty and DJed the post-show party in the basement of The Bowery Ballroom. Proceeds from Sunday night’s show benefitted two organizations – the Center for Safety & Change and Equal Justice USA. Check out pictures from the night in the gallery above, and setlist (via Jesser Jarnow’s Frank & Earthy blog) and a few videos are below.
Check out recaps, setlists and pics of Yo La Tengo’s entire 2019 Hanukkah run which included appearances from Robyn Hitchcock, Sylvan Esso, Snail Mail, Sun Ra Arkestra, Lucinda Williams, Janet Weiss and more..
Yo La Tengo – Hanukkah Night 8 @ Bowery Ballroom 12/29/2019 (via Frank & Earthy)
Seven Day Weekend (Doc Pomus) (sung as “Eight Day Weekend”)
Return To Hot Chicken
More Stars Than There Are In Heaven
Barnaby, Hardly Working
Detouring America With Horns
The Days of Wine and Roses (Dream Syndicate) (with Rob Zebrecky on vocals)
We’re An American Band
I Heard You Looking (with Joe Puleo on organ)
I Feel Like Going Home
Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon) (drone) (with Laurie Anderson on violin)
Venus In Furs (Velvet Underground) (with LA)
My Little Corner of the World (Bob Hilliard & Lee Pockriss) (with Marilyn Kaplan on vocals)
photos by Ellen Qbertplaya