By: Carissa Aguirre
The Black Keys made their 3rd to last tour stop on Saturday, October 15th in The Woodlands, Texas. The rock band from Akron, Ohio is slowly closing up their Drop Out Boogie Tour with supporting acts Band of Horses and The Velveteers. As The Velveteers played on stage Saturday night, fans were slowly filling the seats and the lawn of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The crowd grew larger and larger with each set and by the time The Black Keys were ready to perform a sea of people filled the venue. I’ve attended a handful of concerts at the pavilion in the past, but this was my first time getting to shoot a concert here. The experience was amazing, the show was even better and the staff were some of the sweetest people I have ever met.
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney walked on stage as the rest of the band followed behind them to get in their places. The first thing that Auerbach said to the crowd was that the Astros just hit a home run. As if the place wasn’t loud enough, the entire pavilion erupted in cheers, screams, and clapping. The game made history that night for the Astros going 18 innings without a single score. Everyone was talking about it and they even had the game playing on a small laptop by the security station. I thought it was awesome that Auerbach was watching too.
They began the show with I Got Mine off of their 2008 album Attack & Release, followed by Howlin’ For You and Fever. Everyone in the seated section of the pavilion were out of their seats and singing along as we got more throwbacks from Brothers and El Camino. Before playing Gold on the Ceiling, Auerbach lit up a cigarette, took a couple of puffs and thanked the crowd for coming out. The lights shined a bright orange as the beginning riff of the song started to play and the background pictured a funky, psychedelic like image that spun round and round. This was one of the most energetic and happy crowds I’ve seen in a while. I love that Cynthia Woods is all seated towards the front to prevent getting smushed. Even the lawn has a great view and you don’t have to worry about being shoulder to shoulder with people. I think that this was the perfect venue for the band to play because people were able to move around and dance without worry. You could feel the carefree and light energy throughout the entire concert.
After Gold on the Ceiling, Auerbach brought out special guest Kenny Brown, a blues slide guitarist from Selma, Alabama who used to play with R.L. Burnside. Brown helped The Black Keys perform a couple of covers and they were absolutely mesmerizing. This was a time during the show where people just sat back and listened to the sounds of the slide guitar, while Auerbach sang songs such as Goin’ Down South. The big screens on either side of the stage pictured close ups of Brown and Auerbach playing together with such ease. They have both been making music for a long time and it’s crazy to see how natural they make it look.
The show continued with more songs from the Brothers album and of course the album the whole tour was meant for, Drop Out Boogie, released earlier this year. Each song was filled with just as much energy as the last. The flashing lights and stage production really helped replicate that energy to the crowd and kept their attention the entire show. As the band walked off stage people started chanting for an encore. They had to give us an encore. How could they not? The uproar from the crowd grew louder and louder and they did not drop it until the band returned to the stage. Auerbach played the soft tune of Little Black Submarines as phone lights lit the pavilion. This was the first song I had heard by the band and I was so happy they played it. They ended the show with their most popular song Lonely Boy, off of the 2011 album El Camino and just like that the show was over. The band immediately got off stage, onto the tour bus, and hit the road. I made it back to the security gate just in time to see the bus leave the lot.
The Drop Out Boogie album and tour marks the 20th anniversary for the band and what a great way to celebrate it. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney were playing music together as childhood friends and now, they are here, touring their eleventh studio album. The band might have grown over the years adding more members to their live performances, but Auerbach and Carney are still front and center on stage. The North American tour ends October 18th in Dallas, Texas at the Dos Equis Pavilion. According to their website, they have another show on November 13th in Ohio. I’m glad I caught the end of this tour and I’m excited to see what comes next for The Black Keys!