Night five of Yo La Tengo’s New York Hanukkah celebration brought some very special guests out, including comedian John Oliver and Big Star vocalist Jody Stephens.
First, comedic duo Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser reprised their characters of Dave Franz and Dave Farina, the fictitious sons of actors Dennis Franz and Dennis Farina who debuted on night one of Yo La Tengo’s 2007 Hanukkah celebration.
Afterwards, John Oliver emerged to uproarious applause. And since the Last Week Tonight host was not featured on the marquee outside, the Bowery Ballroom crowd was truly surprised to see the British comedian.
Yo La Tengo also opened their set with a bang, covering Paul Simon’s “Noise,” and feeding into speculation that perhaps the iconic songwriter, who happens to be both Jewish and a New York local, may appear at one of YLT’s remaining Hanukkah shows.
A nice “Forever”> “Stupid Things”> “She May, She Might” segment followed and, later, the band gave a mid-set nod to another member of the tribe, Lou Reed, with a cover of Velvet Underground’s “I Found A Reason.”
Other highlights included a sit in by Joe Puleo on the band’s Painful cut “I Heard You Looking,” before YLT closed the show with “Our Way To Fall.”
The band encored with a rendition of Carly Simon’s “Touched By The Sun” featuring Bill Callahan of Smog on guitar and vocals. However, the show reached new heights with the final guest of the evening, Jody Stephens. The Big Star frontman led the band on vocals for “Way Out West” and stepped behind the drumkit for the following “Baby Strange” and “September Gurls.”
YLT closed the evening with Stephens singing on “Blue Moon.”
Check out the full setlist below:
Yo La Tengo
Dec. 7, 2018
Bowery Ballroom, New York City
Noise, Forever> Stupid Things> She May, She Might, Season of the Shark, I Found A Reason, I Feel Like Going Home, I’ll Be Around, Shaker> Styles of the Times, From A Motel 6> Drug Test, I Heard You Looking^, Our Way To Fall
Enc: Touched By The Sun*, Way Out West%, Baby Strange%, September Gurls%, Blue Moon%
^ with Joe Puleo on organ
* with Bill Callahan on guitar/vocals
% with Jody Stephens of Big Star