In March of 2004 Phillip and I drove from Las Vegas to Tucson, AZ to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs play at a little place called Club Congress. We were madly in love with the band’s album Fever to Tell which had come out the April before as well as their early self titled EP. They weren’t coming to Vegas but we had to see them! We still remember that road trip to Tucson as being one of the greatest of our relationship (so far). The show itself was moved outdoors to the courtyard of the The Hotel Congress and during the opening act I spotted guitarist Nick Zinner hanging out. I approached him, said hello, and asked why Vegas had been left off the tour. He told me they would never play Vegas, they hate Vegas, they’d had a disastrous show there once and would never go back. Well ok then. By the time Yeah Yeah Yeahs were set to take the stage, the small crowd was in a frenzy waiting for Karen O and when she finally appeared it exploded. YYYs went on to perform one of the sexiest, raw, crazy, and rocking shows I’d ever seen! Back then Karen O was wild on stage, she was all over the place, smiling crazy at the audience the whole time, chugging two beers at once, spilling most of it all over her body, jumping, screaming, writhing, amazing! All in a shimmery leotard-like body suit. I’d never seen anything like her before. In the audience, the boys loved her and the girls WORSHIPPED her.
Jump ahead to September of 2009. Two albums later, the band has evolved into something a little less rock n roll. I still like their music, but none of it has the raw sexuality and pure rock n roll heart that their first album had. YYYs are set to play The Pearl at The Palms. I guess Nick’s statement about never playing Vegas just didn’t hold true now that they are a bigger act. Phillip and I had never been to this venue in Las Vegas before and tickets were fairly reasonable so despite the fact that we don’t like their new music as much as their old music we decide to go to the show. The Pearl is nice, small, intimate. We don’t have standing room only floor tickets; the floor is really small. We have seats and they are good: dead center, about 10 rows up. Wow. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs sure put on a different show from the last time I saw them! Karen O still moves all over the stage, but not wildly. In fact she is so controlled now that it actually comes off as contrived and rehearsed. The crowd really got excited when she would crash her foot down on a pedal onstage and colored paper confetti would shoot out at them! Really, confetti is exciting? The stage itself was very impressive with a large bullseye that lit up in multiple colors and a huge round eyeball in the center. But it felt to me like YYYs have simply lost their soul. They are cold and controlled and play too many ballads and not enough rock n roll. I miss their dirtiness. I miss their rawness. I was bored. Oh and they played for just over an hour including the encore.
That’s just lame.
Here are a few shots I took at the show. You can’t see the band really, but you can see the eyeball.