The Black Keys Dropout Boogie Tour Steamrolled Through Saint Louis Friday With Impressive Set

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

–by Randy Thompson and Vicki Lee

–photos by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography

 

It was a warm, breezy evening last night at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Saint Louis, Missouri for The Black Keys’ show. The crowd started light and meandered about the grounds; we were about to be treated to three bands presenting their guitar-based rock music.  The two supporting bands on the tour brought their special brand of indy/ alternative rock music to the stage to start things up.

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The opening band, Ceramic Animal, hails from Pennsylvania and are relative newcomers to the national scene with the release of their 4th album, Sweet Unknown. Three brothers, Warren (vocals, guitar), Erik (drums) and Elliot Regan (vocals, keys) were joined by Ant Marchione (guitar) and Dallas Hosey (bass, vocals); they came up to the stage dressed in black with white cowboy hats, white fringe, and silver sparkles. The group offered up strong alternative rock songs early on with solid guitar work and steady drumming to keep the band at their pace.

Ceramic Animal performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

Early on, they drifted into some psychedelic rock influenced jams that included a sound that was reminiscent of Pink Floyd with some aspects of King Crimson. A very strong tune for me was “Up in Smoke”; it had a country twang, lilting melody, and slowed things down a bit. They finished with a solid rocker, “All My Lovin’”. It was obvious that this band has a strong ability to move from one sound to another and the audience moved from interested to “this is a killer band” by the end of the set.

Ceramic Animal performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Second up, Band of Horses, was forced to play without keyboardist, Ryan Monroe (Thanks, Covid!) but long-time lead guitar and vocalist, Brian Bridwell, with Creighton Barrett (drums) and Matt Gentling (bass) gave us a great performance. Band of Horses has an exceptional resume of strong, emotionally relevant songs, laden with excellent guitar work, and a driving beat that keeps this band relevant in the indie/alt scene to this day. The current lineup came prepared to rock and they served up some of their best-known hits, starting their set with “Is There a Ghost” and “Great Salt Lake” and supported it with newer music like, “Clutch” and “Light” from their latest album, Things Are Great.

Band of Horses performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

After providing the audience with emotionally driven songs loaded with passion and power, they closed their set with a tune that touched everybody in the audience with its powerful essence, “The Funeral”. It was obvious, beginning to end that the fans knew and loved this music as we all finished the song with the band.

Band of Horses performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

It was at this point that The Black Keys were ready to come to the stage. The audience, in awed anticipation, was already standing and ready to rock and roll. Excuse me while I digress for just a moment and discuss the difference between a very good band and a tremendous live band.

The Black Keys have an impressive resume of music that is undeniably well respected throughout the music industry. They have won accolades and Grammys and they are well known from their radio hits to their strong fan base.

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

However, there are bands that play on stage as though their lives depended on it. This band plays a live set at a level that I have not seen in years; excepting performers such as Springsteen, the Stones, or the Dead who are known for their live presentations that take the audience away from the beginning and play for what feels like an ethereal eternity.

Well, that happened here, this evening.

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The Keyes came to the stage and situated themselves with the drum set on the left, and the guitar on the right. The rest of the performers stood behind them a fair distance away, allowing the duo to be the focus of the show.

When the performance started, the fans were on their feet, and they NEVER sat down. The band responded to the energy from this crowd by playing their classic hits, starting with “I Got Mine” and “Howlin’ for You”.  They moved through their set playing selections from El Camino, Turn Blue, Brothers, and Delta Kream (more on that in a second) as well as “Wild Child”, “It Ain’t Over” and “Your Team is Looking Good” from, Dropout Boogie, their most recent album.

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The drummer (Patrick Carney) demonstrated incredible stamina, strength, and skill throughout the night, keeping the tight group connected throughout the evening. Vocalist/leadguitarist Dan Auerback was a musical force to be reckoned with. He is a virtuoso guitar player, and he demonstrated his skills in the live setting with majesty. He has an incredible singing voice with a falsetto that takes the songs to an unexpected level.

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The group behind them (percussionist Chris St. Hilaire, Ray Jacildo on keys, and brothers Andy and Zach Gabbard on guitar and bass) were solid and steady while maintaining their roles as a supporting cast to the two stars in front and the special guest performers who joined them on stage.

Speaking of special guests, Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton, came out mid show to perform 6 songs from the Delta Kreme album.  Kenny Brown played a scorching slide guitar and Eric Deaton held his own on bass as Dan and Pat rocked out these anthems to the Mississippi hill country blues that were a core influence in their younger days.  After Kenny and Eric left the stage, it was a return to the powerful music of earlier in the show finishing up with “Ten Cent Pistol” and “She’s Long Gone”.  Not surprisingly, the crowd wanted more.

The Black Keys performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The band ended the night with three incredible, powerful encores.

The audience was completely satisfied, if not overwhelmed, with the Incredible live performance that they had just witnessed.  I am adding The Black Keys to my list of the greatest live performances that I have ever seen in 45 years of witnessing live music. If you have a chance to see them live, I bet you do the same.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery below after the setlists.

 

SET LISTS

Ceramic Animal

Valerie

I Can’t Wait

Up in Smoke

All My Love

 

Band of Horses

Is There a Ghost

Great Salt Lake

Islands on the Coast

No one’s Gonna Love You

Crutch

Dilly

Laredo

Lights

Cigarettes, Wedding Bands

The Funeral

 

The Black Keys

I Got Mine

Howlin’ for You

Fever

Tighten Up

Your Touch

It Ain’t Over

Stay All Night

Poor Black Mattie

Going Down South

Poor Boy Long Way from Home

Crawlin’ Kingsnake

Have Love Will Travel

Lo/Hi

Everlasting Light

Next Girl

Wild Child

10 Cent Pistol

She’s Long Gone

Encores

Little Black Submarine

Your Team is Looking Good

Lonely Boy

 

One thought on “The Black Keys Dropout Boogie Tour Steamrolled Through Saint Louis Friday With Impressive Set

  • July 21, 2022 at 2:16 pm
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    Great article sir! It was a long hot day and worth every second and penny of it! I’ve been a fan since the first time they came to St. Louis, almost 20 years ago come August 9th of this year. It was almost a epic to me as the first time i saw them. I’m so happy to watch a band really make it like their career’s. From the Big come Up to now Im happy to know , they make me smile and dance and sing my heart out!

    Reply

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