I got a chance this summer to do something I had been wanting to do for 2 decades – go see DEVO perform in concert. They’ve always been one of my favorite bands, and I heard early in the year that they’d be releasing a new album and touring, so I was on the lookout. They didn’t end up playing any dates in New England, but they did come to the Albany area, which is only 2 hours drive from where I live, so I jumped at the chance to pay an inflated ticket price (plus nearly another 25% in fees to TicketBastard).
Fortunately, the show was on a Saturday night, so I drove out there in the afternoon and got some dinner before heading to the venue. They played at a large club called Northern Lights, in the suburb of Clifton Park. The place is in a strip mall – here are some pictures of it that I took after the show:
I had arrived there at 6:30 (while it was still light out), and got in line outside, as the doors wouldn’t open until 7:00. While waiting, I had to get a picture of this guy who was just a bit behind me in line:
He had an energy dome logo on the hat, as well as heavy, “Oh No, It’s DEVO” eyebrows on his glasses. Fun!
I got inside pretty quickly, and immediately made my way to the stage. This was a rare opportunity, and I wanted to be right up close. Fortunately, I was early enough to get a spot right in front of the stage, or as close as possible anyway, as there was a barrier between the stage and audience, creating a narrow area for photo and video people to do their thing during the concert.
I had thought that the band was going to take the stage at 8:00, but it turned out that they weren’t going on until 9:00, so I had 2 hours to stand and wait (spoiler: it was worth it). I talked a bit to some other fans nearby me, and got a pictures of things like this equipment case:
Also, the stage was located in a back corner of the club’s one huge room. Just over to the right of the stage was the back door of the building, which was being used as a stage door, with the band getting ready in their tour bus outside:
At one point, a car pulled up next to the bus out there, and out of the car emerged the brothers Mothersbaugh. Mark headed into the bus, but Bob1 initially walked into the building, and he was immediately greeted by a fan yelling, “BOB!” with a bunch of cheering from the rest of us. He laughed and went back outside (unfortunately I didn’t have the presence of mind to snap a picture at that moment).
One interesting feature of the stage was the background screen. They had a video screen actually made up of a bunch of large LEDs. They were difficult to photograph when off, but here’s a close-up of a small portion of the screen:
They did take the stage at 9:00 sharp, with intro music and video playing:
The band were initially wearing their new light gray outfits with masks. I had seen pictures of the outfits before coming to the show, but I didn’t know that the suits were highly reflective, so when you take a flash picture of the band, they glow:
Here’s a picture without the flash:
I captured a picture of the setlist before the show, though my view of the first few songs was blocked:
Once they played the first 3 songs, they caught up to where I could see the list. Here’s all of the songs they did, in order (the first, third, and fifth are from the new album, Something for Everybody):
- Don’t Shoot, I’m a Man
- What We Do Is What We Do
- Goin’ Under
- That’s Good
- Girl U Want
- Whip It
- Planet Earth
- Secret Agent Man
- Uncontrollable Urge
- Jocko Homo
- Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
- Gates of Steel
- Freedom of Choice
- Beautiful World
The setlist shows a few dividing lines. The first two denote costume changes, and the third marks the planned encore.
Some pictures from the first group of songs:
Mark and Bob2 during “Peek-a-boo”:
After “Peek-a-b00” they took off the masks.
The first costume change involved taking off the jackets and adding blue energy domes:
They played like that for 3 songs from the album Freedom of Choice. Note, the shirts have blue energy dome logos on the sleeves.
Their second costume change involved putting on yellow radiation suits (and they all grabbed guitars) for a set of songs from their first two albums:
During “Uncontrollable Urge,” Mark demonstrated his urge by ripping his suit, as well as those of his bandmates:
A few pieces of suit got thrown out into the audience, one of which was grabbed by the guy next to me. He tore off a part of that and gave it to me, so I have a small bit of Bob1’s yellow suit.
Dancing in unison at the end of that song:
For the song”Mongoloid”, Mark would crouch at the edge of the stage with a pair of pompoms, and would jump up and shake them. Here he is crouching just a few feet in front of me:
and here he’s at the other end of the stage:
Back at the keyboard, shortly before they removed the suits entirely:
They ripped the suits off and threw them into the crowd. None of them came near me, though I was happy to have the piece I’d already received, even if it doesn’t say ‘DEVO’ on it. This left the band wearing just the black t-shirts and black shorts (and kneepads).
Mark then jumped down into the space in front of the stage, to get a bit intimate with the audience:
Sadly, he didn’t get close to my position.
I don’t recall why Bob1 was covering his ears here:
Shots from “Freedom of Choice” during the encore:
Jerry with his bass:
Mark had a few towels stuffed in the back of his shorts. During the song, he would take each one out, wipe his sweat with it, then rub it on his armpits, butt, and crotch (outside his clothes) before throwing it to the audience.
Yes, at age 60 he’s still an edgy weirdo.
Their final song was “Beautiful World” – one of my favorites of theirs.
The song featured a special appearance by Booji Boy on lead vocals! (for those not in the know, that’s pronounced ‘boogie’.)
In the middle of the song, during a long instrumental part, Booji told a story about getting to go the the Neverland Ranch to hang out with Michael Jackson. I kept expecting the story to take a creepy turn, but that didn’t happen.
All too soon, the show was over.
The above shot shows “DEVO” in silver letters on Booji’s back.
And that was that. They were only on stage for an hour-and-a-quarter, but I do feel like I got my money’s and time’s worth.