Living the Dream with The Black Keys

I realize that I’m not as young as I used to be, but sometimes the music of today just makes me wonder. Now, granted, I once paid $10.50 to see Bruce Springsteen (it was The River tour, and that price included a $1.50 service charge), and I would be the first to admit that my musical taste died with Kurt Cobain. But, once every decade or so since then, a band has come along to tickle my tympanic membranes. This year, it’s The Black Keys, a rock-bluesy duo with a garage-band flavor that’s bigger than a Doritos Locos Taco, only you know, good.

The photo on Pinterest looks like this:

On a recent trip near the Garden State, I saw a few signs advertising a concert venue at the new Revel Resorts Casino on the boardwalk in Atlantic City called Ovation Hall. The venue is quite intimate, accommodating around 5,500 lucky individuals per show.

The casino itself is quite a spectacle. Decked out for the Millenial Generation in sleek electro-magnetic colors and patterns. There’s a DJ on the casino floor, who’s surrounded by a runway on which burlesque dancers parade to the music. Everybody’s young (except for the folks playing the slots) and the energy is a hip vibe that’s pumped in like oxygen through the ventilation system.

The concert itself was great. There’s a large general admission section in front of the stage, and above that is stadium seating. We were in the second section to the right of the stage, in the second row.

Before the show

There’s no opening act touring with The Black Keys, so they got right down to business, taking the stage at around 9:15 and blowing the doors off with “Howlin’ For You”, complete with a wild, colorful background show to go along with the music.

They played as a foursome through the first half-dozen songs, and after “Gold on The Ceiling”, the bass and keyboard players left the stage. From there, Dan Auerbach (vocals and guitars) and Patrick Carney (drummer) created such an amazing wall of sound that it was hard to believe that there were only two guys making it.

Carney says nothing throughout the show, while Auerbach occasionally addresses the audience in a jovial manner. The rest of the time though, they were rocking as if they were alone in a garage and the effect is a power-driven, pulse pounding show.

The bass and keyboard players return to the stage for “Money Maker” and stay on through the rest of the set. Overall, the energy of the show is thunderous, and Auerbach’s voice never wavers for a second, not even when he switches to falsetto in the encore (in the encore!) for “Everlasting Light”.

This is a real band, people. This show’s not full of costume changes and back-up dancers. There’s no lip-syncing or head-set microphones. It’s pared down rock and roll in its purest most beautiful form.

Set list for the tour seems not to vary much from show to show. If you are interested, these are the songs they played:

 Howlin’ For You

Next Girl

Run Right Back

Same Old Thing

Dead and Gone

Gold on the Ceiling


Girl Is On My Mind

I’ll Be Your Man

Your Touch

Little Black Submarines

Money Maker

Strange Times

Nova Baby

Ten Cent Pistol

Tighten Up

Lonely Boy


Everlasting Light

She’s Long Gone

I Got Mine (Again, bass and keyboards leave the stage, and it’s just Auerbach and Carney for the last number.)

None of my photos were good enough to post. Unfortunately, I could not find a photo credit for the person who took this one.