Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being you and making music and making everything just better. You don't know me, but I am a big fan. I hadn't heard of your band Neutral Milk Hotel
until about ten years ago. I was reading a Magnet Magazine article of the best albums of the last decade. Your wondrous opus "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" came in at number one, beating out such heavyweights as Radiohead, Pavement, Nirvana and Guided By Voices. With that recommendation I bought the record. It was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. From start to finish it was total perfection. Unlike anything I have ever heard before or since. But I then found out that not long after its release you went underground. The spotlight of success shone too brightly. For years there were rumours of your whereabouts. We all wondered if you were OK. Eventually we read about you making spasmodic appearances at friends' concerts. Then you announced some solo shows. The world went giddy with excitement. You were back. Seemingly in good shape and good spirit. But I had never really believed that I would see you perform live. Let alone your band. Then it was announced a few months ago that Neutral Milk Hotel was getting back together. Again it seemed too much to expect a visit to such a faraway country. But here we were. Thursday night at the Enmore Theatre
. A fifteen minute walk from our house. It's really hard to comprehend. I don't have any photos of your band. I do love your exception to cameras at your shows. It makes it a singular experience. And this was certainly one.
After Superchunk and M. Ward warmed us up with two outstanding sets we were ready. The anticipation was extraordinary. I was amazed at how young the crowd was. But I guess that's a legacy of your influence. I imagine your music has touched and reached generations of music fans. From the opening chord of "The King of Carrot Flower" you had us. That amazing song and it's delirious switch from major to minor key was a signal that this night would be like no other. When you launched into "Parts Two & Three" a moshpit broke out. I was a little shocked, but again I guess that is testament to the effect your music has on us all. Quite frankly the night was perfect. No song was a let down. Even lesser known songs like "Ferris Wheel on Fire" and "Engine" were shining gems. Of course it was the big numbers that sent us into a frenzy. The impossible beauty of "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea". The emotional honesty of "Oh Comely". The sledgehammer of "Two Headed Boy". I also loved the instrumental interludes. They were perfection too. I love your band. Julian Koster looks like your crazy cousin and Scott Spillane looks like your crazy uncle. But the music they play is eccentric and strange and beautiful. Saws and a banjo. Horns that don't quit. And a kazoo! But Jeff it is you that we thank the most. You were so generous and kind. I even saw you smile a couple of times. Your voice extends forever, reaching through all our hearts. I really don't know what the future holds. Are you writing new music. Will the band continue to tour. Are you enjoying this. But I know this. Your music and your passion touches us all. And I will never, ever forget this night.
The King of Carrot Flowers, Part One
The King of Carrot Flowers, Parts Two & Three
A Baby for Pree
Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Ferris Wheel on Fire
Song Against Sex
Snow Song, Part One
Two-Headed Boy, Part Two