Black Keys performance exhilarates TD Garden
Walking into TD Garden on Sunday night, crowds rambled up the escalators, tickets in hand, eagerly awaiting the start of the performance. All this excitement was for the Black Keys, who would be accompanied by opening act Cage the Elephant. The concert fulfilled this the audience with two exemplary, yet different performances. The Black Keys’ lead singer Dan Auerbach mostly remained standing at the microphone at the front of the stage, while Cage the Elephant’s lead singer Matthew Shultz moved around while performing. The two groups embodied two very different types of rock music.
Cage the Elephant started playing promptly at 8 p.m. (the stated start time of the concert) and played for 45 minutes—a substantially-long performance for an opening act.
The band opened with “Spiderhead” off of their third studio album Melophobia, released in 2013. Though “Spiderhead” is less well known than some of their other songs, it was still a great way to start off the show. Immediately, the audience was introduced to Shultz’s energetic performance style—running, leaping and jumping around the stage while maintaining the vocal integrity of the music.
The set continued with “In One Ear” from their 2008 self-titled album, followed by “Aberdeen” from Thank You, Happy Birthday (2011). Both songs produced an excited response from the audience, as much of Cage the Elephant’s recognition is based in their first two albums. Of the 11 songs Cage the Elephant played, five were from their latest album: “Spiderhead,” “Take It or Leave It,” “Cigarette Dreams,” “It’s Just Forever” and “Teeth.” During “Teeth,” toward the end of their set, Shultz stepped off the stage and attempted some crowd surfing.
The rest of the set consisted of older favorites, such as “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Shake Me Down” and “Back Against The Wall,” but the show ended with another new song, “Come a Little Closer.” Cage the Elephant’s set was a perfect balance of old and new and excellently preceded the main act of the night.
After the Cage the Elephant cleared the stage, there was a thirty-minute set change during which the audience eagerly anticipated the next band. The Black Keys, a rock band from Akron, Ohio, started off their set with “Dead and Gone” from their 2011 album El Camino. A few songs into the performance, the curtain backdrop fell to reveal video screens and bright lights. Everyone stood up to dance for “Gold on the Ceiling,” as well as most of the set. Most of the songs that they played were from their second and third most recent albums, El Camino and Brothers (2010), which was great since their new album, Turning Blue (2014) is so recent, and many people aren’t as familiar with it.
Overall, the performance was more relaxed than Cage the Elephant, but it still had people up from their seats, dancing. “Tighten Up” was a crowd favorite, and they ended the set with “Lonely Boy,” a song that left the audience wanting more. After they exited the stage, everyone in the stadium was up on their feet clapping and yelling and flashing their phones to get an encore. This dragged on for a few minutes longer than would have been preferable, but soon enough the band came back on the stage to play three more songs.
The first two songs of the encore were off their newest album, which was both a little surprising and disappointing since they weren’t the most well-known songs of the album. Throughout the encore, everyone remained sitting down, and the songs had a slow and mellow vibe. The highlight of the performance was the very last song, “Little Black Submarines from El Camino.” The first half of the song was performed acoustically. There was then a pause and the song ended with an energetic bang.
The concert was worth staying out super late on a Sunday night. Both bands gave strong, lively performances that held true to their recorded sound and shows why they are both so popular.