Sunday evening marked the first night of Hanukkah, meaning it was also the opening night of Yo La Tengo’s traditional Hanukkah run, which returned to NYC’s Bowery Ballroom last night for the second year in a row after the band took a hiatus from the yearly run following the closure of original host venue Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, closed in 2013. As always, YLT brought along some surprise opening music and comedic acts, along with special guests throughout the performance, including a highlight sit in from iconic singer-songwriter Graham Nash, who joined in for the entire three-song encore.
The night opened up with comedians Bridey Elliott and Rebecca Robles, followed by the Sun Ra Arkestra, who have participated in YLT’s Hanukkah shows multiple times in the past. For the duration of their own headlining set, YLT were joined by drummer Jim White, and the collective kicked off the performance with a cover of The Beatles “From Me To You,” with a holiday-appropriate lyric alteration in the chorus (“from me to Jews”). Members of openers Sun Ra joined in on the set starting with their own “Dreaming” and wrapping up the main portion of the night with “Nuclear War,” a Sun Ra song that Yo La Tengo have also recorded.
As is their Hanukkah-run tradition, YLT used their encore to honor a Jewish songwriter, and last night’s focus was English musician Graham Gouldman, who penned a number of hits for pop and rock bands in the ’60s. The band welcomed out Nash, along with multi-instrumentalist Matt Clarke—before getting into the encore, then offered three Gouldman songs, starting with the Yardbirds hit “For Your Love” and continuing with two songs from Nash’s old band The Hollies, “Look Through Any Window” and “Bus Stop.”
See the full setlist below, along with fan-shot video from the night. Yo La Tengo return to Bowery Ballroom tonight and each night of Hanukkah 2018, with surprises set for every evening. Read more about YLT reviving their holiday tradition in this Relix feature from earlier this year.
Yo La Tengo
Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
full show w/ Jim White on drums
From Me To You, Here You Are> I Was the Fool Beside You For Too Long> Tears Are In Your Eyes, Out of the Pool> Upside Down, Dreaming*, My Heart’s Reflection*, Deeper Into Movies*, Emulsified*, All the Glitter is Gone*, Nuclear War*
Enc: For Your Love+, Look Through Any Window+, Bus Stop+
Notes: *w/ members of Sun Ra Arkestra
+w/ Graham Nash and Matt Clarke