We're thrilled to be playing at the Garden . . . pretty mind-blowing. Thanks for sharing that with us, singer and guitarist Dan Auerbach told the sold-out crowd at MSG.
And what a thrilling show it was.
With minimal special effects (just lights, really), occasional shots of the Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney on the big screen and a sound that seemed to overcome the traditionally bad acoustics of the Garden, The Black Keys plowed through 21 tracks in 90 minutes.
Opening with Howlin' For You, Auerbach and Carney arrived on stage with what seemed like all the energy in the world, one that carried the band from one song to the next, as the Garden screamed for more.
Joined by bassist Gus Seyffret and keyboardist John Wood, The Black Keys played some oldies (Thick Freakness, I'll Be Your Man), goodies (10 Cent Pistol, Same Old Thing) and plenty of newbies from their latest album, El Camino (so that's how awesome Little Black Submarines sounds live).
The band ended the set with Lonely Boy, the first single off El Camino, before returning for a 3-song encore.
If The Black Keys did anything wrong on Monday night, it was using their giant disco ball only once, during the magical Everlasting Light. (Picture Auerbach's falsetto, Carney's steady beats, a sold-out crowd singing along, and thousands of lights reflecting off the disco ball). As soon as the song wrapped, the sparkly ball was pulled back up into the rafters of the Garden.
The Black Keys are eight shows into the first leg of their North American tour, which includes future stops in Toronto, Indianapolis and Cleveland, before returning for a second date with New York City. (The first show sold out so fast that the band added a second gig). The band is also set to play the two Fridays for Coachella Apr. 13 and 20.
British rockers Arctic Monkeys opened on Monday, in support of their latest, Suck It and See.
For the kids who didn't get a physical copy of the set list from stage handlers (well after the show wrapped), here's what The Black Keys played on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
The Black Keys, Madison Square Garden, New York City, Mar. 12, 2012
Howlin' For You Next Girl Run Right Back Same Old Thing Dead and Gone Gold on the Ceiling Thick Freakness Girls on My Mind I'll Be Your Man Your Touch Little Black Submarines Money Maker Strange Times Chop and Change Nova Baby 10 Cent Pistol Tighten Up Lonely Boy
Encore: Everlasting Light Long Gone I Got Mine