For those on the nostalgia circuit, the pairing of Blondie and Devo is like a new wave dream come true. The two bands touched down at Oklahoma City’s Zoo Amphitheatre on Thursday, more than proving that both groups still have what it takes to put on a show.
The cleverly titled Whip It To Shreds tour has found the two bands switching headlining slots every few shows, and the gig in Oklahoma City found Devo opening up the event.
Jumping headfirst into Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man) from 2010’s Something for Everybody LP, Devo greeted the crowd decked out in creepy facemasks. Throughout the night they would go through a number of costume changes, including rip-away yellow suits, the patented power dome hats and even an all-black getup featuring kneepads. Why? Does Devo need a reason to do anything?
The next hour or so found the band running through most everything a fan would want — Uncontrollable Urge, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and of course Whip It. Devo’s entire set was high energy, a barrage of overhead lights and video montages on the giant screen while the band played on.
The opening riff of Girl U Want seemed to set the crowd off, inciting a dance party in the venue’s VIP section. Power dome hats peppered the crowd, sticking out like little brightly colored wedding cakes while the audience enthusiastically bounced up and down.
Before coming back out for an encore, the DEVO Corporate Anthem rang from the massive speakers, seeming to be almost a call to arms for the band’s fans. When the guys came back out, they closed their set with the lyrically-powerful Freedom of Choice, leaving those in the crowd still sober with something to think about.
Blondie opened up with Dreaming from the now 33-year-old Eat to the Beat album. Debbie Harry’s voice was strong throughout the evening, and while some vocal phrasing changes were made, for the most part the songs sounded pretty much how you remember them.
The band played five songs from last year’s Panic of Girls record, and the new tracks definitely translated well live. They didn’t sound out of place at all in the set, so either Blondie is good at crafting songs that sound like their old music or their old music, in fact, has aged better than anyone thought it would.
Blondie also mixed in a few covers during their set, including a great take on Ellie Goulding’s Lights and Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax. Towards the end of the always awesome Rapture, Harry busted into a short No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn coda. It mixed in well with the ending rap segment that already exists in Rapture and definitely surprised the crowd.
The hits went a few changes throughout the night too, with Call Me finding Harry mixing up the vocal delivery and Atomic gaining fiery solo courtesy of guitarist Tommy Kessler.
The evening closed with a pitch-perfect version of Heart of Glass, finding Harry draped in a shiny metallic dress as a disco ball lowered from above the band. The song is very much a product of the disco era, but still sounds good – the fact that Harry’s silky smooth voice has held up so well definitely helps.
The Whip It To Shreds show is definitely one of the stronger package tours from this summer. It’s a shame that there weren’t very many dates, but judging from the reaction of the crowd there would certainly be enough interest to keep this one going again next year.
Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man), Peek-a-Boo, What We Do, Going Under, Fresh, That’s Good, Girl U Want, Whip It, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Secret Agent Man, Uncontrollable Urge, Mongoloid, Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA, Gates of Steel, DEVO Corporate Anthem, Freedom of Choice
Dreaming, Hanging On the Telephone, Love Doesn’t Frighten Me, D-Day, Call Me, What I Heard, Wipe off Your Sweat, Lights, Atomic, Rapture / No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn, Mother, Rip Her to Shreds, One Way or Another, Relax, Heart of Glass
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