This weekend, hundreds of people crammed themselves into the United Center to experience two of the best rock bands in music today. The Black Keys made a stop in Chicago as part of their Turn Blue world tour with Cage the Elephant as the opener. Fronted by the oh-so-charming Matt Shultz, this group can usually plays club shows, which is where they truly come alive. Though they managed to get the crowd on their feet with energetic songs like “In One Ear,” It’s Just Forever,” and “Teeth,” it was hard for them to connect with fans. They tried their damndest to start a sing a-along during “Come a Little Closer,” but you could just barely make out the fans screaming their hearts out. No matter, it didn’t bother the guys one bit. They were every bit as charismatic, exciting, spontaneous, and humble as they usually are on stage. Shultz, known for his crowd surfing, wasted no time getting down and dirty with those in the pit showing that he wasn’t going to let a bigger venue stop his fun. “I feel like a lot of the special moments that happened in our musical lives have been right here in Chicago, so thank you for that. You guys are beautiful,” said a winded Shultz before the end of their set. As he gyrated and wriggled around the stage, more and more people stood up and began to understand why the band are great performers. Everyone there may not have known who they were when they first sat down, but they were fans by the end of their set.
The Black Keys got an overwhelming response of cheers, yells, and applause when they hit the stage. As they powered through fan favorites “Next Girl,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Howlin’ For You,” and “Your Touch,” it was easy to forget the hard-hitting drums and spiraling guitar solos are the work of two people for the most part. The live setting gave singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach a chance to show just how skilled he is with a guitar. He often elaborated and elongated solos during songs much to the thrill of fans. The setlist boasted tracks from their latest LP, “Turn Blue,” such as “Fever” and the title track, along with their biggest hits “Lonely Boy” and “Run Right Back.” There was also an unexpected, yet sensual cover of Edwyin Collin’s “A Girl Like You,” which turned out to be better than the original. The duo closed the night with the epic “Little Submarines,” which prompted many sing-a-longs and lit cell phones replacing lighters. Though the Keys have moved on to their next tour spot, it’s clear they left a long lasting effect on those lucky enough to see them.
The Black Keys are on the road in support of their new album “Turn Blue,” available now. Their next stop is Minneapolis on October 24 with Jake Bugg as the opener. Cage the Elephant have a short break before playing their next show October 16 in Highland, CA. Earlier this month, they released the video for “Cigarette Daydreams,” the latest single from their third album “Melophobia.” To watch the clip and for more on the band, visit Cage the Elephant’s website.