Devo made another triumphant return to Orange County, as part of their yearly touring schedule playing the Grove Theater in Anaheim on Friday night Aug 5th. The OC, represents a very DE-voted fan base of self-proclaimed Spuds. Devo last played in the standing room only GA theater back in 2007.
The 2010 release of Fresh, the first new studio album since 1990, bought along with it a few noticeable changes. The new album was created in part through market research where fans could vote on tracks and even choose colors. Their iconic ENRGY domes (aka flower pots) have gone from red to blue. Plus, with the use of outside producers, there is both a recognizable sound, with tongue in cheek lyrics, but also themes true to the bands mantra of Devo-lution.
Only 3 songs from this recent release were played at the concert including the title track Fresh, Don’t shoot I’m a man and What we do all coming in the early stages of the show and complemented by merchandise based costume changes. Their initial stage arrival featured a ½ face mask with blue/silver uniforms that were transitioned to several other outfits over the course of the show. Yes, the Yellow radiation suits were also worn!
The new set design, that debuted last year at Hollywood Park, brought recognizable video imagery that was shown on a stage-wide LED video screen and used to give both lyrical and fist pumping anthem-like cues to the audience (as if they didn’t know the words anyway). It was great see them come out and just start playing at an energy level that still trumps bands half their age.
Although their shows usually clock in at 75 minutes of pure music with no opening acts, these guys still bring the heat! You are expected to come ready to rock the entire time. Jerry Casale keeps the shows going as the MC for a few songs and shares some of the lead vocal duties with Mark Mothersbaugh and Mark’s brother Bob1 (yes there are 2 Bobs), and the appearance of Booji Boy to close out the shows.
Over the course of the last 37 years, the only changes to the original lineup have come at the drum kit, with regular current drummer Josh Freese, out but also playing in Orange County this weekend with Weezer. The more-than adequate fill-in Pete Perada kept the pounding beats going strong. The drumming position for this band requires nonstop breakneck speed.
For people who have never seen Devo live, I highly recommend you see them at least once. Even if you think they are just those people known for the Flower Pot hats in the 80’s, they are so much more than that. They put on an engaging, fist thumping show and you may even be surprised by how many songs you have heard or know from all those high school and college parties of yore.
Devo performs best when they feed off the crowd’s energy in General Admission shows versus the seated masses, and that was case at their Orange County show. If you are going to see Devo, your best experience will be to have space to sway, pogo and perhaps even get involved in a mosh pit. Remember Devo is punk at its roots.
While I don’t typically review available band merchandise, I know how it can be the lifeblood for many bands that just don’t have big CD sales, it is a key factor in developing a bands identity and fan loyalty. The selection was reduced from previous shows, but there is still a lot of additional items on their website www.clubdevo.com. The key items at the Grove in Orange County were the Blue Energy Domes ($30), current tour tees ($30), and the face mask. Nothing is more enjoyable than seeing a bunch of people walking around proudly wearing their Energy Domes outside a baseball stadium.
Just remember we are all DEVO!
Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)
What We Do
Girl U Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones cover)
Secret Agent Man (P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri cover)
Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
Gates of Steel
DEVO Corporate Anthem
Freedom of Choice
As is the case at all DEVO shows, they have a post show meet n’ greet with some guests and fans. There were about 100 Devo-tees that got the get one item signed and one photo with the band. The band was engaged, chatting with their fans and always are a very fan friendly band, having also done multiple in-stores and signings for the last 3 decades.
On a final note, the Grove security staff was excellent, they allowed the fans to enjoy the show and were not an intrusive force during the event or at the end and at the meet n’ greet. It is always a pleasant joy to have a complete fan experience and not walk away thinking that the security team took a little too much pride in their little bit of power they are entrusted with.