The Black Keys brought a spectacular lighting show and hit-filled set to Oakland’s Oracle Arena in support of their latest release, Turn Blue.
People from all ages packed the arena to see the duo, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, who made the big stage look seemingly small. Backed by touring musicians Richard Swift and John Clement Wood, Carney played his drums alongside Auerbach at the front of the stage for all to see. As they took their positions, they wasted no time and showcased one of their new tunes, “Waiting on Words,” followed by the hit “Next Girl” from 2010’s album, Brothers.
Before starting their next song, the giant gold curtain behind them dropped, uncovering an impressive infrastructure that featured hundreds of displaced lights, including various robotic lights that moved and pulsed with every kick drum beat to the song “Right Right Back.”
Auerbach is the master of riffs, and his guitars were booming with licks that seamlessly mixed blues, southern rock and soul. His voice was immaculate, never singing even slightly out of tune, and was perfectly accompanied by Carney’s precise drumming. It was evident that there is no place too big for the Black Keys as Auerbach swiftly made his way from the stage to the top of the monitors during solos. The show was engaging and electric, with even the soundmen were caught dancing through most the show.
Throughout the set, the band played a variety of tracks from their eight-album repertoire, including the bluesy tune “Leavin’ Trunk” from their first album, The Big Come Up, which Auerbach admitted they didn’t play live “until a few weeks ago.” Newer songs like “Fever” and “Turn Blue” fit right in with a set that included popular hits “Psychotic Girl,” “Strange Times,” “Howlin’ For You,” “Money Maker,” “Tighten Up” and “Lonely Boy.”
They kept things fresh and exciting, mixing in a cover of Edwyn Collin’s “A Girl Like You,” embellishing it with their unique style, and showing Auerbach’s true guitar talents as his weaved in a lap steel slide guitar on the song “Gotta Get Away.”
During the encore, thousands of cell phone lit up the arena before the last purple curtain dropped, revealing yet another giant screen that twirled the mesmerizing emblem for the album, Turn Blue, as they played its title track. Just as the night seemed to peak, Auerbach picked up an acoustic guitar and started slowly playing the riff to “Little Black Submarines.” The crowd went wild, as if they forgot this song existed. Halfway through the song Auerbach was handed an electric guitar and finished out the tune in epic fashion.
Waiting on Words
Run Right Back
Gold on the Ceiling
Too Afraid to Love
Howlin’ For You
A Girl Like You (Edwyn Collins Cover) Ft. Dan Johnson
Gotta Get Away
She’s Long Gone
240 Years Before Your Time
Weight of Love
Little Black Submarines