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Thursday, July 12, 2018 by Teddy

The Strokes returned to Madison Square Garden tonight. Well, the last time they were here, they played the much smaller theater inside MSG with then up and comers Regina Spektor and Kings of Leon . Nonetheless, aside from a show at Don Hill’s last year, this was the band’s first NYC are show in a while. Julian and the band played a set filled with singles and crowd favorites.

Before the Strokes took to the stage, everyone was treated to a brief April Fool’s surprise set by Elvis Costello who performed “Pump It Up”, “Radio Radio” and “Peace, Love and Understanding.” This wouldn’t be the last we’d see of Elvis tonight.

Opening with “Is This It?”, “Reptilia”, the single “Under Cover of Darkness” (from the newly released album Angles), and “Hard To Explain”, the set wasn’t only great for die hard fans but also for those who only know the band by their big singles. Frontman Julian Casablancas remarked how crazy it was that he was about to play the next song at Madison Square Garden before guitarist Nick Valensi started strumming the all too familiar chords to the band’s first and biggest hit to date “Last Night”.

Any questions of whether Julian has still “got it” after the band’s long hiatus were quickly quelled after he nailed the new song “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight” and “Juicebox”. When Julian sings “don’t try to stop us/get out of the way”, you let him and the band run loose. In fact, Julian seemed a bit annoyed by the crowd’s enthusiasm declaring “We play the songs and you go fuckin nuts. I thought that we had a deal”. This problem was quickly rectified as the band played “Someday” from their debut album.

Before launching into another new track “Taken For A Fool”, Julian confessed that it was their “Elvis Costello song” and said that it’d be great if Elvis came on stage to play it with them. He then said “April Fools” and that they should ask Elvis for next time. Little did everyone know that the joke was still going on as Mr. Costello would return to the stage during “Taken For A Fool” to sing and play guitar on the song.

After “Taken For A Fool”, Julian was having a little trouble speaking admittedly due to having a few drinks and spilling one on himself. “That’s why Johnny Cash wore black”.

There was no true encore but a brief break in darkness before the band closed their set with the very mellow “Ask Me Anything”, “The Modern Age” (from Is This It), new song “Gratisfaction” (which we still insist sounds like a Steely Dan song), “I Can’t Win” and “Take It Or Leave It”. Are the Strokes back? YES. Should you be concerned about them only playing new songs when you seem the live? NO. Did you miss a great concert if you weren’t at MSG on Friday night? HELL YES.

Also, a very quick THANK YOU to The Comet and Stubhub for hooking us up and others with tickets to tonight’s show. Otherwise, we’d have been at jealously reading other people’s Twitters about the show.

Full Setlist (* indicates song off of the new album Angles)

Is This It
Under Cover of Darkness *
Hard to Explain
Last Nite
Life Is Simple In The Moonlight *
You’re So Right *
Under Control
You Only Live Once
NYC Cops
Games *
What Ever Happened?
Taken For A Fool (w/Elvis Costello)

(brief break)
Ask Me Anything
The Modern Age
Gratisfaction *
I Can’t Win
Take It or Leave It

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