It's been five years since Yo La Tengo last did a Hanukkah run (RIP Maxwell's as we knew it), and with the series' return, now at Bowery Ballroom, there was much anticipation. Who would the openers be? Who would make the night's mix-CD? Special guests? Striding onto the stage, Ira, Georgia and James began their set the only way you could, with KISS' "Back in the New York Groove," here sung as "Back with the New York Jews." Happy Hanukkah!

From there, the band were joined by Mary Halvorson on guitar and Zeena Parkins on harp. For their encore they brought out Miriam Linna and Bruce Bennett of The A-Bones which featured Linna's late husband (and partner at Norton Records), Billy Miller. Ira, who was also in A-Bones, spoke about the people the world has lost that have performed with Yo La Tengo at these shows over the years, specifically Billy. Miriam and Bruce were the night's openers as Miriam & Nobody's Babies.

Then out came Nick Lowe who stuck around for the rest of the extended encore, starting with his hit "Cruel to Be Kind," and then going on to Burt Bacharach classic "Baby's It's You" (made famous by the Shirelles and the Beatles), plus Them's "Here Comes the Night," and finishing with Nick's "Shake That Rat" and "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?"

As usual, there was also comedy, with Todd Barry and then Saul Goodman himself, Bob Odenkirk, who read to the crowd about the meaning of Christmas. Mike Watt made the night's mix CD, and the whole night benefited The New York Stem Cell Foundation and The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. You can check out pictures from the night by P Squared, Yo La Tengo's setlist (courtesy Jesse Jarnow), the tracklist for Mike Watt's mix CD, and a few fan-shot videos, below.

There are seven more nights of Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows -- who do you think will be be openers and guests for the rest of the run? Folks who are in town between now and Tuesday include Lee Fields, Guided by Voices, Wreckless Eric, and Jeff Tweedy. Tickets are still available for all nights except Friday (12/15) and Saturday (12/16).


SETLIST: Yo La Tengo Hanukkah @ Bowery Ballroom Night 1 (12/12/2107)
Back in the New York Groove (KISS) (sung “Back With the New York Jews”)
Before We Run >
From A Motel 6
Walking Away From You
Last Days of Disco
The Kid With the Replaceable Head (Richard Hell)
Moby Octopad
Artificial Heart
Tom Courtenay
I Heard You Looking

So Easy Baby (The Zantees) (with Miriam Linna on percussion/vocals & Bruce Bennett on guitar/vocals)
Cruel To Be Kind (with Nick Lowe on guitar/vocals)
Baby, It’s You (Burt Bacharach/Luther Dixon/Mack David) (with NL)
Here Comes the Night (Bert Berns) (with NL)
Shake That Rat (Nick Lowe) (NL on bass)
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding? (Nick Lowe) (with NL)

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