The Black Keys show the power of two

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Before the Black Keys took the stage, the Flaming Lips opened Friday’s show at the Bridgestone with a psychedelic, relaxed performance. In a simpler-than-usual but still effective setup, flashing lights flowed from lead singer Wayne Coyne’s microphone stand to a giant LED wall of lights behind him as he sang. Trance-like melodies heard best in songs like “Silver Trembling Hands” with its chorus “when she’s high” pulsated a feel-goodness across the arena that pleased fans. It was a very engrossing set, though slightly perplexing as Coyne held a baby doll for most of the performance for seemingly unexplained reasons. You can see photos here.

Just the right Keys

The Black Keys, who now live in Nashville, took the stage with “Howlin’ For You.” There is a certain sexuality in their music. It’s a noisy brand of rock but rather than put you off it grips you, holds you with its rhythm, jamming rifts and lustful lyrics.

For a few songs, lead singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach excused the backup band so that he and drummer Patrick Carney could play just the two of them for the sold-out arena.

Auerbach displayed a high level of energy jumping around, playing and throwing himself to the mic. But because it was just the two of them, they could bring it back as intimate as they wanted. Smoother, longer versions of songs like “Little Black Submarines” paired perfectly with the Black Keys’ noisy, almost 60s-influenced rock with aching lyrics like “Everybody knows that a broken heart is blind.”  

“Your Touch” encapsulated the feeling of the night with lyrics like “I want it, you got it, so much, I'm crazy for your touch” — the passion and longing felt in all songs but probably none so much as in this one. When the song finished, a young man could be heard yelling, “Let’s get naked!”

In several occasions, the Black Keys showed the power of two. Electric guitar rifts purred, while Carney banged away a steady beat.

By the time they finished their set and played “Lonely Boy,” the audience wanted more. They may have left the stage but the audience kept applauding. They clapped and cheered for several minutes until the Black Keys came back out again. It went on for a really long time, longer than this reviewer has ever seen. The audience was not going to let them leave without an encore.

When they finally came out, a giant disco ball irradiated speckles and rays of lights as they played "Everlasting Light." "Oh baby, can't you see it's shinin' just for you, loneliness is over," Auerbach pierced the night. The rain outside probably helped cool people down after this Black Keys show