Saturday, July 3, 2010

Devo Concert Review - Minnesota Zoo

I first found out about Devo by watching Saturday Night Live in October of 1978. I remember the evening very clearly. Fred Willard was host, and I was sitting in our living room watching it with my dad. Neither of us got it - not at all. By the time the band got to the bridge and stripped, I figured that things were going to get better and they'd play like a typical rock band. If you're familiar with their peformance (which you can see here), nah, they didn't. 

I distinctly remember looking at my dad, and each of us asking each other, "What the hell was that?"

They proved to be an acquired taste, but by the early '80's I figured it out, and have pretty much been a spud boy ever since. Hence, when the guys released a new album and subsequent tour, I knew I needed to be a part. Sure enough, they listed the Minnesota Zoo as a tour stop, and I was luck enough to nab 7th row tickets.

Here's the set list from the show:
Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)
Peek a Boo
What We Do
Going Under
That's Good
Girl U Want
Whip It
Planet Earth
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Secret Agent Man
Uncontrollable Urge
Jocko Homo
Smart Patrol / Mr. DNA
Gates of Steel
Freedom of Choice
Beautiful World

Random notes:
  • The band was fantastic. They looked great, sounded great, and rocked our world. Mark Mothersbaugh was a bundle of energy throughout the show. His brother Bob put in a great performance on guitar. Gerald Casale looked great, included lots of lewd gestures, and basically didn't look or act anything close to his 62 years. His brother Bob had a ball the whole night; he was grinning the entire time. Josh Freese, their latest incarnation on drummer, was incredible, especially since this was an outdoor concert in 90 degree heat and horrible humidity. I was soaked just by bopping around - I can't imagine what playing durms that whole time would have been like.
  • With some of these guys in their 60's, it is good to see  that at their core (via lyrics, gestures, and video snippets) they're still a bunch of horny nerds. 
  • As in any Devo show, there were lots of theatrics. This included video snippets for the new material, Mark tearing off jumpsuits during Urge, shotguns during That's Good, Mark breaking out the cheerleading pom-poms for Mongoloid (which I was surprised they played, given the PC state of things), and Booji Boy singing lead on Beautiful World at the end.
  • Vocal interaction with the crowd was sparse, but Gerald had the line of the night when he asked "Do you believe in Devo-lution now? We didn't really want to be right about that one..."
  • Booji Boy had a lot to say, and was encouraging people to provide the zoo animals with their liberty and let them out as we were headed home.
  • People watching was incredible. Best moments were multiple sightings of man purses, the guy in the Daisy Dukes, the guy in the "As Seen In Porn" T-shirt, and the guy with the nasty dreads that were dyed to match his dyed back hair. Note, that's not a typo.  Back hair. 
  • Power domes were everywhere; mostly the new blue model, but there was some old school red out there as well.
I've seen lots of shows; probably 100 in total (of major bands), and that was about as much fun as I've had at a concert. Knew every song, every word, sweating like nobody's business with a bunch of Devo brethren, and jamming to a band that was on their game and having a ball. It doesn't get much better than that.

Great show, great night.

Duty now, for the future!


  1. Nice review, I couldn't have summed it up any better, great time by all.


  2. The show was a blast and those beautiful mutants easily kicked the ass of any so called "come back" band. Th never really stopped playing in the last 20 years and it showed.

    Don't taze me bro!

  3. Worth the 30 year wait!

  4. Cool review...thanks for posting it. One correction - Jeff Friedl was the drummer for the evening, not Josh Freese. Josh is playing with Weezer through July and is due to rejoin the Spudboys around the first part of August. Jeff did a great job filling in for Josh.

  5. Thanks for all of the comments, and also for the correction on the drummer. Much appreciated.


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