I couldn’t believe I was going to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, one of my favorite bands. Their music is uplifting and has pulled me through tough times. They also inspire me in other ways. I even started wearing lipstick because of singer Karen O.! When I found out they were playing at the 1,500-capacity Mayan Theatre downtown, I nearly cried at the thought of seeing a band that big in a venue so small. I was one of the lucky few to have a ticket to this instantly sold-out show. It was my first time seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In line one fan, who had seen them several times, told me, “It will change your life.”
I lined up at 2:25 p.m. hoping to get front row center. There were already five people in front of me. At 3:10, I saw a few fans running to the back of the Mayan, then I saw guitarist Nick Zinner heading inside and my heart sunk. “No! I have to meet him!” I thought. Frantic that he would leave, I ran, asked him for a picture and he kindly posed. I saw drummer Brian Chase to my left and I asked him for a picture, too. He was too tall and I was too short so he had to bend down for my photo. I felt embarrassed. After my pictures, I went back to the line screaming.
The doors opened at 7 and those who were 21 and over were let in first. I was so pissed off. I ended up in the far left of the front row.
There were two opening bands, Imaad and No Age. Imaad had dragging, whiney songs and No Age sounded like the band members were tuning their guitars the entire time.
Finally the lights dimmed and fog filled up the stage. My eyes shot open. I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’m seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!” I could feel my pulse pounding and I was already losing my voice from screaming. The crowd went hysterical when the trio launched into their set opener, “Sealings.” I knew the night was going to be rocking.
Wearing a black jumpsuit with two-toned tights (and switching glitzy capes between songs), a hyperactive Karen O. kept the crowd energized with her stage antics. She was jumping around, screeching and crouching down while stuffing her glow-in-the-dark microphone into her mouth. The instrumentals sounded amazing live; they were even louder than Karen’s famous, flamboyant outfits!
I loved “Phenomena” and “Turn Into” the most because they surprised me. Both sounded so different live (in a good way) that they were like new songs. I also really loved “Cheated Hearts,” “Gold Lion” and an acoustic version of “Maps” because they had the loudest sing-along. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound much better live than on CD. The guitars were stronger, catchier and fiercer, and even if the beats were kept simple, they had this crashing feel. Karen O.’s voice is inimitable. It’s smooth, edgy and compelling.
During the band’s “last” song (they had an encore after) Karen O. threw flowers to the crowd and I was able to grab two of them! When the show ended, one of the roadies threw set lists to the crowd and I went past security and grabbed one. “Oh my gosh! I got one!” I yelled.
Everything seemed unreal. I was not only fortunate enough to get a ticket to this show, but I also met two-thirds of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, got flowers from Karen O. and a set list! The concert didn’t change my life, but it was a great night.