Surreal: having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic.
Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas – 2/19/2011
The Black Keys music that I own:
6 studio albums
Dan’s solo: Keep It Hid
3 soundtrack releases
1 cover song from a various artist CD
1 EP: Chulahoma
Black Keys music that I’m Missing:
1 split artist EP
Pat Carney’s indie band album “Feel Good Together” by Drummer
The collaborative BlakRoc album
2 live albums
The Black Keys, an American “garage/blues-rock” band from Akron Ohio, are on the verge of greatness… again. With three 2011 Grammy’s under their belt, an album on the top of many ‘Best of the Year’ lists, and over a million records sold… it seems to be that THIS TIME it’s really going to happen for them.
That being said, it’s still surprising that people give me a blank stare when I start geeking out over whatever piece of Black Keys music is turning me on at the moment. Are there really still people out there NOT jumping on the Black Keys bandwagon? I guess I’m really just waiting for the band to get so big as to have my Katy Perry-loving girlfriends, who shall remain nameless, start spazzing over some album I’ve had for almost a decade… or when EVERYONE starts calling them sellouts for FINALLY being recognized for their talent. Which I might add, is well deserved! Yes, the Zale’s and car commercials are killing me, but it’s not going to make me stop loving them.
It pains me that I didn’t see them at the Granada or Ridglea way back when I was still in ‘breeder’ mode. Unfortunately, that was before I had my third-of-life crisis and decided I was still young enough to go to a million concerts a year, EVEN ON WEEKDAYS! GASP! Sadly, I felt like with each new Black Keys album I was losing my chance to see them before they got ‘stadium big’. And wouldn’t you know, the only time they came to Dallas (post third-life-crisis)… it was at the freakin’ Starplex stadium… opening for Kings of Leon. Basically that means Sara and Peter paid over $120 to see the Black Keys play without their own stage and light set up… for just an hour. I felt ripped off. But I was also happy with whatever I could get.
Flash forward to Peter’s third-of-life crisis which involves bizarre lovey-dovey behavior towards his wife, a need to polish his ‘rough looking’ boots, and a Strange Desire to travel without the kids and spend money recklessly… that’s just weird for Peter! REALLY weird. My concern quickly changed to fanatic elation when he surprised me with birthday plane tickets to Las Vegas and SOLD OUT tickets to the Black Keys concert at the Chelsea Ballroom in the Cosmopolitan Hotel! Yes, I cried. Yes, it was solely the outcome of such a special gift to see the Black Keys, once again on the verge of greatness, headlining a smaller venue… IN LAS VEGAS!!! I mean, that’s like mission impossible caliber!
In a whirlwind weekend, we flew into Vegas… stayed up all night eating, drinking, gambling, watching the Beatles LOVE Cirque show… slept a wink, then geeked out over music memorabilia at the Hard Rock Hotel, walked through the Cosmopolitan in stunned awe of the classic yet modern beauty of the magnificent hotel and the artwork throughout… ate gourmet tapas at the hotel buffet… and the icing on the cake: we saw Cage the Elephant and MY Black Keys in a beautiful art deco type ballroom… with a noir feel to the whole night!
Cage the Elephant started the concert off to a frenzied start with the band spewing out electric energy at a frenetic pace and Matthew Shultz wailing punk rock greatness into his microphone, talk-singing in an almost Black Francis-type manner. Their shining moment came when the singer wrapped his hand all the way around the mic, clutched it tight as he leaned towards the crowd… and through the split in his mop of Kurt Cobain hair… he says, “Do you guys like crowd surfing? I really like crowd surfing.” And then he commenced hurling himself into the audience during lyric breaks… the band holding time for him to get back on stage again and again. And in final grandeur, he walks out ON TOP of the audience holding the mic while a stage hand holds the wire up above the crowd. I’ve never seen anything like that. Period.
After waiting 4 hours for my band, they FINALLY took the stage. And it was All I Ever Wanted. Two individuals with the same soul for music, no theatrics… just music. The blues just seem to emanate out of Dan, as if the gravity of the music might break his soul in half. Eyes closed the majority of the time, instinctively swaying, and music, that has been the landscape of my life for a decade, radiating out of him in sonic boom manner… forcing me to geek out, on a daily basis… about a band that I love as much as Pink Floyd, or the Talking Heads, or Jimi Hendrix, or U2.