The Black Keys played to a sold-out Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday evening, teaming with the Arctic Monkeys for their El Camino Tour, one of the hardest tickets to come by on the 2012 concert calendar. The blues rock duo of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach played a dazzling 21-song set that lasted approximately 90 minutes and left the crowd buzzing over one of the hottest bands in contemporary music.
Opening act the Arctic Monkeys took the stage shortly after 8:00 and played for well over an hour, digging into their nearly decade-old catalog while balancing a selection of songs from their most recent record, Suck It And See. The Sheffield, England natives were primed for their opening slot on one of the most popular tours of 2012 and played well to the predominately under-35 crowd in attendance. Drummer Matt Helders, in particular, was suited for the occasion, frequently tossing up his drum-sticks mid-song (missing on more than one occasion) and turning in a stellar performance on lead vocals on the Arctic Monkey’s penultimate song, “Brick By Brick.”
The Black Keys set list, as expected, was predominately loaded with songs from their last two albums, including six from their 2010 breakthrough Brothers and seven from 2011’s El Camino. Auerbach and Carney strayed from turning their songs into lengthy jams and mash-ups, instead playing straightforward cuts of their music. The stage itself was a unique setup, as Auerbach and Carney positioned themselves towards the front of the stage, preceding backing musicians Gus Seyffert and John Wood.
The band opened with two of the radio-friendly singles from Brothers, “Howlin’ For You” and “Next Girl” before they began to dig into tracks from El Camino. Although the set leaned heavily towards their most recent material, the Black Keys carefully mixed in their older material, adding songs such as “Your Touch,” “Strange Times,” and “I’ll Be Your Man” into the fold. The duo was even able to mix in the smash songs “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Little Black Submarines” in the middle of the set, instead of relying on them towards the end of the show.
As the show began to draw to a close, the standing crowd that took over the area of the arena directly in front of the stage went into an absolute frenzy as the Black Keys closed out the first run of the set list with “Lonely Boy.” After the band reappeared for the three-set encore, the Wells Fargo Center turned into a light show, as two large disco balls, one which descended directly over Auerbach’s head and another from the control consul, lit up the arena with an array of spinning reflection for the high-pitched “Everlasting Light.” The Black Keys returned the standing crowd to a frenzied state as they jammed on an incredible take of “I Got Mine” to close out the show and send the crowd into the parking lots of South Philadelphia, pleased with the Black Keys first run as a headlining arena act.
The Set List:
1) Howlin’ For You 11) Little Black Submarines
2) Next Girl 12) Money Maker
3) Run Right Back 13) Strange Times
4) Same Old Thing 14) Chop and Change
5) Dead And Gone 15) Nova Baby
6) Gold on the Ceiling 16) Ten Cent Pistol
7) Thickfreakness 17) Tighten Up
8) Girl Is On My Mind 18) Lonely Boy
9) I’ll Be Your Man
10) Your Touch
19) Everlasting Light
20) She’s Long Gone
21) I Got Mine