March 14, 2012

Black Keys - March 12, 2012 - Verizon Center

Okay, I did my share of bellyaching about the Black Keys concert in DC in advance.  After all, tickets to an enormous venue - Verizon Center - sold out quickly, then immediately reappeared on secondary outlets.  The group also had quite the spotlight to fill, taking a stage that will see both Foo and Radiohead in a 12 month period; I wondered, will losing my Black Keys virginity at the Verizon Center really be everything I dreamed of?  Ultimately, Patrick and Dan satisfied, lighting up the arena with a true rock show.  

That night, I came to the realization that one of my new favorite places to see a show is from the floor of an arena, general admission style.  The "seating" capacity is so much smaller than the space itself, which allows for dancing, and helps one avoid the gross sweaty crush of clubs (yes, I'm getting older).  And the Black Keys provided a perfect soundtrack, showcasing their signature brand of sound against a giant backdrop of retro video - think polka dots and industrial and farm montages towering from forty to fifty feet above the stage.

It's hard to even select standouts, the songs bleeding from one hit to the next, but Gold on the Ceiling, I'll Be Your Man, and an encore of I Got Mine drove the crowd crazy.  Particularly marvelous was the giant disco ball lowered during an encore performance of Everlasting Light, which when paired with a smaller one at the soundboard, turned the arena into a ballroom on prom night.

My only complaint is that the Black Keys are beginning to feel more like a money making enterprise, and less like a music making one, with virtually no between-song banter.  For some reason, that makes this concertgoer feel unappreciated.  What if I went to a show and didn't clap?  After all, I only paid the price to watch and listen... 

It really bugged me too that they withheld the announcement of their Merriweather show until after the Verizon Center one. The show sold out so far in advance, that all withholding that information accomplished was lining the pockets of scalpers with extra bills.  

On musical performance alone, it was fantastic.  But it's a bad economy.  We've all earned the right to gripe.  Right...?

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