Devo at the Minnesota Zoo, 7/3/10

Categories: Last Night
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Photos by Steve Cohen
"I thought that Devo had played everywhere," Mark Mothersbaugh squeaked in a high-pitch voice toward the end of their encore, whilst dressed as his pudgy, pasty choir robe-wearing alter ego Booji Boy. "But this is the first time Devo has ever played at a zoooooo!"

Devo seemed to thrive in the open-air environs of the Zoo's amphitheater, as the band and the audience bounced their way through Saturday night's 75-minute set. Though it may not seem like that long of a gig, the band managed to squeeze 19 songs, two major costume changes and four minor ones, and a mini-film narrated by Carl Sagan into their high-energy set, keeping the crowd engaged from the first note to the final song of the encore.

Though some attendees were nervous that the band's newer material might overtake their set, Devo expertly mixed in a few of their newer songs amongst old favorites, keeping the crowd entertained during the newer songs with ridiculous video montages (like a woman's shaking ass spliced with smiling puppies and kittens for "Fresh") and seemingly non-stop outfit modifications. At the beginning of almost every song, the band would remove their masks or don their energy dome hats or strip off their jackets and pants; during "Uncontrollable Urge," Mothersbaugh raced around the stage to tear apart his bandmates' yellow haz-mat suits, tossing chunks of sleeves and pant legs into the audience as souvenirs.

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Photos by Steve Cohen
Though he left most of the between-song banter to keyboardist Bob Casale, Mothersbaugh did plenty to rile up the excitable crowd, jumping on top of the speaker stacks to shake pom-poms at the crowd, pulling sweaty towels out of his shorts to throw into the bleachers, and pointing theatrically at his brother Bob Mothersbaugh as he wailed away on guitar solos mid-song (the only real let-down of the night came when Bob jumped up on a platform for a big solo, only to break two strings on his guitar and dismount while shaking his head).

The best parts of the band's set were when they came together to perform in over-the-top, choreographed ways, especially when the two pairs of brothers came together toward the front of the stage to jump up in down in a unified cluster, driving the audience wild. Even leading up to their biggest hit, "Whip It," the band never veered toward sentimentality or irony, a tricky feat for a band revamping a career that blossomed in the '80s.

"Spuds!" yelled Bob Casele. "It's 2010... And we're here to fucking 'Whip It' again!"

Critics' Bias: I'm a sucker for costume changes.
Crowd: A wide range of ages, many of whom sported blue or red energy domes throughout the show.
Overheard in the crowd: "This is the best thing I've done in 10 years!"
Random Notebook Dump: Saturday night's show was apparently their first headlining show of their tour, but you'd never have guessed that they were just getting started by their energy levels at the show. They played like a band that was road-tested and had already hit their stride.

Set List:
Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)
Peek-a-Boo!
What We Do
Goin' Under
Fresh
That's Good
Girl U Want
Whip It
Planet Earth
--Carl Sagan video--
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Secret Agent Man
Uncontrollable Urge
Mongoloid
Jocko Homo
Smart Patrol
Gates of Steel

Encore:
Freedom of Choice
Beautiful World

For more photos, see our complete slideshow by Steve Cohen.

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