This show was actually supposed to happen way back in November, but guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh sliced his thumb open to the bone (while trying to grab a glass of orange juice that dropped and shattered) so it was pushed back all the way to March. Even with a recovering guitarist, the band absolutely killed it! The mix was absolutely spectacular this time around (as opposed to the bassy, slightly muffled sound at the Hollywood Park show one year ago), and the band's performance was incredibly tight the whole way through (aside from an accidental keyboards-only false start on Planet Earth).
DEVO usually has one setlist for an entire tour, so this one was no different than last year's show. They open with a mix of new songs from their most recent album Something For Everybody and a few songs from their lesser-known synth-pop albums New Traditionalists and Oh, No! It's Devo. From there they go onto the hits from their 3rd album Freedom of Choice, (a quintessential new wave recording, featuring Whip It) and then the second half of the setlist comprises of their earliest, most angular music, with an encore featuring Booji Boy, DEVO's devolved man-child mascot of sorts. All the songs are backed with very entertaining video backdrops as well.
They also change costumes at various points in the show, going from their silver titanium thread suits from their new album to the energy domes from their 3rd album to the classic yellow suits before finally stripping down to t-shirts, shorts, and kneepads for the final part of the show. My friend even managed to catch a large chunk of the bassist's yellow suit when he tore it off and threw it into the crowd! I also caught one of the bouncy balls that Booji Boy threw (which I ended up losing later that night).
It's a little more than obvious that lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh is getting a little fed up with playing in a band though. He sang fine enough, but his enthusiasm was nowhere near the levels of last year, and he hardly moved around at all, especially in comparison to bassist Jerry Casale, who seemed like the only one who was really into the show (and was also the only band member to talk to the crowd in between songs).
The opening band was The Octopus Project, an electronic indie band featuring 3 guys and a girl who played a theremin, which was very neat to see on stage! Musically, it's a mostly instrumental blend of guitars and layers of various keyboards, synthesizers, and drum machines. Cute and sort of mesmerizing, but not terribly interesting.
The crowd was a little less rowdy than the last time, but still energetic. I recognized quite a few people that I've previously met before at DEVO-related events, and it was a pretty standard crowd of mostly older people. The venue itself is also extremely nice, a part of a giant mall surrounding the Staples Center. The staff was so unorganized, however, that my friend and I unwittingly got into the VIP room before the show! It was a very nice dimly lit lounge with an open bar and plenty of comfortable-looking chairs and couches to sit in (none of which we sat in). We decided to not stick around after the show to see if we could get in after (though apparently they let anyone in with those bracelets we had).
Excellent, excellent show. I can finally complete my DEVO costume now!