The Black Keys

By Audrey Michelle | Photos Tom Craig

The Dropout Boogie Tour, Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach Featuring Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton
iThink Amphitheater, West Palm Beach, FL 8/24/2022
By: Audrey Michelle 2022

The stage is set with an efficient flow, drums & guitars are tuned, lights adjusted, the fog machines begin to billow mysteriously, dancing in front of the stage techs on the dark, blue-lit stage as they make their final preparations for The Black Keys. The concert goers are excited but patient, scurrying about, headed to their seats with freshened cups of various liquid concoctions.

Fans passed the time talking amongst themselves. The sea of heads, folks of all sorts has jovial & pleasant tone. I am comfortable in my spot, taking in the energy that surrounds me, exchange a few smiles with my neighbors & begin to feel a swell of excitement that comes when you know something amazing is about to happen.

There’s the thumbs up from the stage hands…IT’S SHOWTIME!!!

The stage goes black & a broadcast begins to play on massive screens at each side of the stage. A hilarious, satirical, introduction by actor David Cross, D.I.C.K.S – Dads Interested In Choosing Our Kids Songs. This “Anti-Boogie” message, warning all to avoid the tour by any means necessary.

The cheer of the audience swells as band members make way to their places. Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach take the stage & come on strong with, “I Got Mine” & “Howlin’ For You.” Dan’s greeting of the audience is welcoming & grateful, albeit brief. With the crowd reeling from the high energy start, Dan must’ve known it & was time to get our boogie on. It was certainly an exciting beginning. I could feel we were all raring to embark on the musical joy ride.

There isn’t anymore talk, just the first of many-many guitar exchanges before we are whisked away by songs: Fever, Tighten Up, Your Touch & It Ain′t Over closed up this vignette of musical goodness with one of their most familiar tracks, “Gold on the Ceiling” as 99.9% of the audience sang along.

Next we had a taste of, “Delta Kream.” An album released in 2021. A spontaneous session album of blues covers, recorded in just 10 hours at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville. We heard songs: Stay All Night, Poor Black Mattie, Goin’ Down South, Do the Rump, Crawlin’ Kingsnake & Have Love, Will Travel. Jammed in with Carney & Auerbach on stage is Kenny Brown, (slide) guitarist for R.L. Burnside & Eric Deaton bassist for Junior Kimbrough. A greasy drummed, guitar filled, stunning tribute to the Hill Country Style of blues music.

Giant ascending grids of lights hover over the stage as green light descends onto the bands players. Patrick is perched behind his drum kit. Dan lights up, takes a moment to savor his smoke, extinguishes the ember as he exhales. His his guitar tech, Dan Johnson hands him a Harmony H78.

It’s time to change gears. Song, Lo/Hi from their 9th album, “Let’s Rock” gets the party rolling again. Everlasting Light, Next Girl, Ten Cent Pistol, all songs from the 2010 album, “Brothers” after that. Next, they drop two songs off their latest album “Dropout Boogie” we get: Your Team Is Looking Good & Wild Child. Lastly, (but not really last **wink wink**) back to “Brothers” with She’s Long Gone.

Cheers, whistles, claps & roars come in from all sides. The stage lights go down & the crowd of extremely excited fans is left stimulated & begging for more. Pat comes down from his perched drum kit, approaches the edge of the stage, tosses one drumstick left & one drumstick right. Dan leaves the stage, waving with one hand, gripping a glass bottle in the other as he walks away & disappears into the deep dark backstage.

We know they are coming back. I could feel this buzzing as if once again, something really exciting was about to happen. Waiting is the hardest part, the lights weren’t up, it wasn’t over yet! I hear a man directly behind me say, “C’mon, moooooore!” As he let out an impressive wolf whistle, I hear the roaring get louder, I can feel it. It turns to screaming cheers. The audience still crying out for more music as the band returns to the stage.

I spot the thumbs up from the stage crew. With the band back in place, it’s encore time. We get three songs. Broken Finger Blues, a cover by & tribute to the late Richard Swift. Two tracks from the 2012 “El Camino” album, Little Black Submarines & the extremely popular track, Lonely Boy, a song I’m sure many-many fans waited all night to hear. A perfect close to an amazing night.

After the ecstatic, roaring sea of cheers, the band gratefully gesture back & quickly take their leave from view. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin plays over the house speakers. The venue lights come on & the chaotic yet orderly filing out of the amphitheater begins. Folks hover at the front of the stage with hopes of scoring a guitar pick or setlist, there is none to be had. Security kindly shuffles the people off & on their way. Stage crews have begun breaking down the stage & carefully packing away instruments The show is over.

Setlist: I Got Mine, Howlin’ for You, Fever, Tighten Up, Your Touch, It Ain′t Over, Gold On The Ceiling, Stay All Night (Junior Kimbrough cover w/ Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton), Poor Black Mattie (R.L. Burnside cover w/ Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton), Goin’ Down South (R.L. Burnside cover w/ Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton), Do the Rump (w/ Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton), Crawlin’ Kingsnake (John Lee Hooker cover w/ Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton ), Have Love, Will Travel (Richard Berry cover w/ Kenny Brown & Eric Deaton), Lo/Hi, Everlasting Light, Next Girl, Ten Cent Pistol, Your Team Is Looking Good, Wild Child & She’s Long Gone Encore: Little Black Submarines, Broken Finger Blues (Richard Swift cover) & Lonely Boy.

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