On the heels of a very long, very revealing interview with Joe Rogan and with almost five years since their last tour, The Black Keys played Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on Oct. 9. Wondering how a duo can fill an arena with energy and noise took little time to figure out. Backed by two additional guitars and a bassist, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney handily pulled off all the energy of their records and made the ticket worth the money. Second in production value only to Muse for shows I’ve seen this year, a kabuki drop revealed a large circular video screen bookended by lightning bolts and walls of Fresnel lights. Columns of moving lights and LEDs suspended above the stage added to the spectacle. But the performance on stage is what drew a party crowd ready to hear the hits and deeper cuts.
The Black Keys, as a five-piece arena rock band didn’t let anyone down. Opening with I Got Mine, before moving into a pair of new numbers, Eagle Birds and Tell Me Lies of the latest album, “Let’s Rock”. The first smash of the night was next as the notes of Gold On The Ceiling played. Other El Camino tracks played were Little Black Submarines and Lonely Boy. Brothers tracks like Everlasting Light, Howlin’ for You and Ten Cent Pistol were met with cheers.
As Carney kept the beat in stalwart time, having a pair of guitars behind him allowed Auerbach to move around, throw the odd kick and tasty lick in while focusing on leading the audience in singing. It’s clear that the band is very much enjoying their return to playing live. The “Let’s Rock” tour is continuing through the South and the West Coast before concluding for the year at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Nov. 24. More info here.