So you manage an independent record store in the suburbs and one day a major band calls up and offers to come to town and play a free concert.
Happens all the time, right?
Maybe not, but may not be just any record store, drawing vinyl aficionados near and far to the small shop on South Tulane Street in Princeton.
It was mid-December when They Might Be Giants called Princeton Record Exchange’s General Manager Jon Lambert.
Yes, THAT They Might Be Giants, the Grammy award-winning band known for “Ana Ng,” “Birdhouse in Your Soul” and “Instanbul (Not Constantinople)” and dozens of others over a 30-year career.
“They called and offered to play for free on Record Store Day,” Lambert said. “They had played at McCarter (Theater) over the years and unbeknownst to us they had shopped in the store and liked the spirit of the place.”
As he and TMBG founder John Flansburgh discussed concert logistics on the phone that day back in December, Lambert wasn’t convinced the call was for real.
“He was real nice, real down to earth, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking this is some elaborate hoax, some prank. I was still a bit nervous," Lambert said.
But Flansberg sent an email from an address that seemed legitimate and the band soon announced the Princeton concert on Facebook.
Anyone and everyone is invited to Princeton’s Hind’s Plaza next to the at 65 Witherspoon Street for a free concert. The courtyard can hold upwards of 1,000 people, Lambert said.
They Might Be Giants has recorded 15 studio albums including the platinum selling Flood and children’s music albums. The band also supports Record Store Day, Lambert said.
I'm delighted," Lambert said of the band's decision to play a concert in Princeton. "I'm exicited and kind of humbled that they would think of doing this for us."
The fifth annual Record Store Day is Saturday, April 21, a day that offers hundreds of limited edition albums and 7-inch singles to customers at more than 700 independent record stores across the U.S.- but not at chain or big box stores.
The band will perform from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and beginning at 7 p.m. they will be the Princeton Record Exhange on South Tulane Street- about two blocks away- for a meet and greet and in-store signing.
Lambert said he thought about hosting the concert in front of the Princeton Record Exchange, but the logistics didn’t pan out.
When he approached the library about hosting the concert in Hinds Plaza, the response was overwhelming, he said.
“They (the library staff) just flipped, they were so excited about it,” he said. “TMBG is like the number one band for librarians and I guess for the library’s 100th anniversary they tried to get them to play but it didn't work out.
“The library staff have been so kind and accommodating, they’re helping to set up the stage and the staff is helping out with the show. They’re considering it a fun partnership with an independent community member and we’re delighted,” Lambert said.
Lambert said not all limited editions may be available at each store. The Princeton Record Exhange will not accept holds or phone orders. Customers are limited to two of each title on Saturday.