I am envious of everyone who was able to attend this show – Booker T. Jones and the Black Keys!? Are you freaking kidding me!? – but we are fortunate enough to have this great review and fantastic photos from Jessi Smith. Thanks so much, Jessi.
As I type this The Black Keys are in the midst of their tour of Canada, where they seem to get a lot more recognition than around here. They get invited to perform at Canadian awards shows, unlike here where they have to accept their Grammy’s during the pre-show. America is coming around though. Less frequently am I met with blank stares and well meaning corrections of, “Do you mean the Black Eyed Peas?” when I mention their name. However, with shows like the one I went to in Indianapolis on June 10th under their belts, they’re going to be household names before you can say “That’s not how you say Auerbach”. Then all the hipsters can hate them for selling out, which I won’t mind because the fewer faux fan douchebags that like them the better.
A $5 skip the line pass and a GA ticket. That’s all it took to set in motion what would be the best concert I’d ever attended. The competition for that title isn’t light either, not only had I seen The Black Keys in 2010 but, Bob Dylan and B.B. King had also given me shows to remember. The weather was perfect, a nice breeze blew and I was pressed against the barrier directly in front of center stage, nothing between me and the band but a one foot patch of grass. The show opened up with Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea, who played a set that was lovely and was enjoyed. Next up legendary Booker T. Jones who charmed me and made me feel more than a little ashamed that I’d initially been a bit disappointed that Cage the Elephant wouldn’t be opening for this show. I was an ungrateful and uneducated fan who won’t ever make that mistake again.
With the backbeat of GZA’s “Liquid Swords” playing, Dan and Pat calmly walked out and took their places. After the customary “We are The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio” they proceeded to do what they do. “Thickfreakness” came first as the opener as expected. I hope that never changes. It’s a constant in the Black Keys shows that makes me feel like a ground floor fan. They did the “Stack Shot Billy” / “Busted” back-to-back that was beyond words. The energy they put into “Busted” exploded after well built tension and extended riffs.
We also got a special treat. About midway through the show Dan announced that they were going to do something a little different. With an almost giddy smile he told us that they’d be having Booker T. join them for a couple songs. As they played “Ten Cent Pistol” with Booker, the boys had us hanging onto every note. The smooth line, “…the couple screamed but it was far too late, a jealous heart did retaliate.” was followed by the sudden blackout of every light and complete silence from the band for what seemed like forever. The anticipation boiled over and at just the right moment they burst back and blew minds. Another little treat came during “Everlasting Light” when a giant disco ball rose from the stage and made the place positively twinkle. This isn’t a band where you expect that kind of thing and I’m not gonna lie, my fangirl came out and I loved it. It wouldn’t be the first appearance of my fangirl, what with my front and center position and Dan’s frequent trips to the edge of the stage (where I’m certain we made eye contact… just throwing that out there) All together they played nearly 20 songs and still I didn’t want it to end. They encored with “Sinister Kid” and “Your Touch”, then bade us goodnight.
And here I am, still talking about it.