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Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ The Greek Theater, 9/17/09
There is no denying that Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahsis a rock god. If it hasn't been written in stone, let's do that right now. Ask anyone who was in the sold-out crowd on Thursday night, and they will tell you that she was mesmerizing. Granted she comes with a lot of props and costumes, but even if Ms. O had come out wearing a burlap sack and stood there doing nothing, every eye in the place would be on her. Sure there are singers with better voices. Sure there are lead singers who can dance better than her. Sure there are people who wear more outrageous clothes. But Karen O. has got "it" whatever that intangible thing may be. That certain something that makes a giant zebra striped headdress/hoodie adorned with a circle of green tape in the middle and blue striped tights, look badass rather than utterly ridiculous.
The show began with an air of mystery with the band hiding behind a giant white curtain playing "Runaway." When the chorus hit, the curtain fell and revealed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in all of their glory. Karen O. as a multicolored, zebra striped, glorious mess with guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase in subdued black. If the remaining band members weren't going to compete for attention, the stage was. Against a glittering, blue backdrop, six giant eyeballs the size of small cars with blue irises hung from the ceiling. Half way through the show, the stagehands threw giant beach balls painted like eye balls that bounced around the crowd.
Through a series of four costume changes, Karen O. sang, growled, headbanged, spewed water, and howled her way into our hearts. Purple smoke rose into the air as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs played the entirety of their latest album It's a Blitz , full of infectious dance tunes, which turned the theater into a New York disco in under three minutes flat. The only part that dragged were a couple of the slower numbers. The audience, all pumped up to groove, seemed restless during the lulls, impatiently waiting for the tempo to pick up again (with the exception of their brilliant and confusing love song "Maps," which everyone sang along to with their lighters and cell phones held high.) The night ended with "Date With the Night" a purple confetti and eyeballs filled finale which left everyone breathless. By the time the lights came up, everyone looked around in bewilderment, like freshly dumped lovers, wondering how it could have been over so quickly and what the heck they were going to do now.