August 5, 2011
City National Grove of Anaheim
A band as renowned as Devo shouldn't really have an opening act. The chants for "Devo!" rang through the City National Grove of Anaheim despite the DJ's attempts to keep the crowd satiated with various New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Erasure tunes while serving as the opening act.
The lights would dim and a giant LCD screen ran various images from Devo's past as they kicked things off with "Don't Shoot (I'm A Man)" from their latest album Something For Everybody. Donning their newish gray suits and masks, Mark Mothersbaugh acted out the lyrics of the song while commanding the attention from the adoring crowd.
"Peek-a-boo" also had Mark covering his eyes and unveiling them at the right moment while synthesizers swooned in the background. Gerald Casale took over lead vocals for "What We Do" as the band discarded their masks. Dipping back to their new album, "Fresh" sounded fantastic with its sawtooth synthesizers coordinated to a pulsating light show. Devo always put on a combined visual and auditory assault when they play live.
A double blast of "Girl U Want" and "Whip It" firmly solidified the audiences rapt attention as Devo had the Grove in the palm of their hands. After the spacey sounds of "Planet Earth," a quick costume change had Devo back in their original trademark yellow suits for "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" with Gerald Casale thumping his lefty bass.
Bob Mothersbaugh had his turn on lead vocals for the spy sounding "Secret Agent Man" while Mark operated on his Moog Voyager synthesizer. "Uncontrollable Urge" had Devo ripping apart their yellow suits as the four of them would converge into a diamond shape at the front of the stage incorporating their slick robotic dance moves.
Mark would return with some pom-poms to cheer on the crowd for "Mongoloid." The energy at the Grove continued to surge during "Jocko Homo" as they tossed their work suits into the crowd with Mark jumping down into the pit to make the die hard fans sing along with him. My personal highlight of the evening was "Smart Patrol/Mr.DNA" as it features some of their more adventurous synthesizer work and noisy guitar solo outro.
"Gates Of Steel" seemed to invigorate the fans in front of me to whip out their air guitars and mosh around in a circle. It was a fitting way to end their main set. "Corporate Video Anthem" soon transitioned into a rousing version of "Freedom of Choice" which featured yet another costume change by band. Devo have always been ahead of the curve and they aren't going away anytime soon. Devolution is real!
Personal Bias: One of the pioneering bands to use synthesizers effectively.
Crowd: A wide range of fans young and old with their red and blue energy domes. Devo is one of the few bands you can wear their t-shirt to their show and not feel stupid.
Random Notebook Dump: I missed Josh Freese on the drums who is still touring with Weezer.
"Don't Shoot (I'm A Man)
"What We Do"
"Girl U Want"
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
"Secret Agent Man"
"Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA"
"Gates of Steel"
"Corporate Anthem Video"
"Freedom of Choice"