Concert Review: The Strokes, March 5, Rogers Arena, Vancouver

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The Strokes played Vancouver last night for the first time in several years, and the city was ready for the New York five piece to return.

Well, at least half an Arena full of people were ready for them to return. The upper bowl at Rogers Arena was closed, but to be fair to a garage band who don’t put on a spectacular large venue show, the fact that they are playing an Arena shows how well regarded they are by so many.

They play a mix of Strokes songs from throughout the ages, including a good few from their iconic and genre defining debut This Is It, including “Someday”, “Soma”, “Hard to Explain” and “Take It Or Leave It.” The audience lap it up. When singer Julian Casablancas meanders around the stage, tipping over the monitors in a nonchalant manner and generally looking disinterested, the crowd remain undeterred by his lack of enthusiasm and stage presence. The mosh pit remained for every song, even the new ones, but expanded greatly for the early songs, as you’d expect. Even a slow improvised riffing ‘song’, three quarters of the way through the set, goes down well.

It seems throughout that the band would prefer to be playing a smaller indie-rock venue, intimate and cool. But they are of a size where that will never really happen again, unless they want to spend two weeks in every city they play to meet demand.

The last song, “Reptilia”, is epic. Crowd surfers fly over people’s heads. Many of those further back get their phones out and record it so they can enjoy the moment later, rather than enjoying it in the here and now.

The encore culminates in arguably the greatest low-fi indie song of the century,”Last Night.” Things get messy down the front, security look tense, but everyone survives. The Strokes were once widely considered to be one of the greatest bands on the planet – they are no longer that, but the sound they create together is as good live in 2020 as it was on record at the start of the 21st Century.

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Posted on by Martin Alldred in Concerts

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