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A Very (Very) Late Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Review

Updated: Jan 10

At this point, I've been to a lot of shows that I consider to be some of the best experiences I've ever had. This concert tops all of those. For those of you who don't know, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a band that first emerged in 2002 with a self-titled EP that earned them a spot in the New York post-grunge garage rock revival. They were right beside two of my other favorite bands, The Strokes and Interpol, among many others. Going into this, I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I'd be in front of a band that's made so much incredible history, and been a part of a scene that is so close to me.

Honestly, the whole day felt kind of weird and hazy. The show was being held at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale (basically Portland), and the weather was all weird and gloomy, which just automatically made everything feel odd. I can't explain it but concerts feel more real when it's beautiful and sunshiny. Edgefield is an outdoor venue with a big part of it being lawn seating, so when I got there, there were about twenty or thirty lawn chairs staked in front of me in line. It's crazy to me that they allow them to bring their chairs super early and then just leave and come back around doors?? It seems kind of unfair, but at the same time, it's kind of nice. I wanted a spot on barricade so the chairs didn't throw me off, only a few people were standing in that line. That entire day I felt so anxious I thought I was going to crawl out of my skin, and it was only because I wanted a barricade spot so badly and I was also worried that they wouldn't let me bring my cameras in. I asked like three different security guards and they all said it would be fine, but I was still stressed out. Lol.

Either way, my panic paid off because I pretty much had my pick of barricade spot. Nick usually sets up towards the house right so I chose a place that was kind of between center stage and the right side. It was the perfect spot! Perfume Genius was the opener, and I must say although his set was very entertaining, I was more than underwhelmed by his performance. His music isn't quite my cup of tea anyways, but his stage presence threw me off a bit too. I don't know, just definitely wasn't impressed. It was kind of killing me though because I could see Nick Zinner and Brian Chase watching the show from side stage (fangirl moment even though they'd be on stage in twenty minutes).

So showtime: They ended up opening with Spitting Off The Edge Of The World which is the song that Perfume Genius is featured on, so he came back on stage to perform it with the band and that was awesome. Video below.

I was going absolutely bonkers the entire show, more so than I have at any other concert in my life (even The Strokes!). Gold Lion was the one that got me screaming though. In my opinion, this is their hardest song (hard for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), so obviously I was just elated to hear them play it. There was one point when Karen saw me and started pointing at me. Very crappy video but you can still kind of see it! I honestly think Gold Lion was my favorite performed live out of all their other songs, it was just SO GOOD!

So yeah, that was epic. I think the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a somewhat mellow crowd compared to a lot of other artists so it wasn't hard to spot the 19-year-old girl absolutely losing her mind on the barricade. They released an album last September (can't believe it's already been out for a few months short of a year?!) and to me, it felt like a rebirth of sorts. They'd been on a hiatus for nine years, not having related a full-length album since 2013. I'm sure they felt a lot of pressure to make something incredible coming out of that, and the album lived up to that. Cool It Down is a mix of vulnerability, transcendence, and open-mindedness that was a perfect way to pick up their career. My favorite tracks are Spitting Off The Edge Of The World, Wolf, Lovebomb, and Burning! Each song seems to take a step back from different aspects of life and examine it, rethink things, and come out stronger and happier. Those songs meant a lot to me as I was just beginning my college career in September of 2022, so seeing them live meant even more. I loved hearing all of them, but Lovebomb made a big impression on me. There are parts of the song in which Karen is just speaking and others when she's singing, but I can't emphasize to you enough how much her words transfixed the audience. It was such a beautiful thing to see. It felt like she was telling a story, letting us see her and the band in a state of soft vulnerability that's not often seen on stage.

But, my favorite part of the show overall was the encore. They came back out to play Y Control and Date With The Night, and there was the cutest collage/picture rotation on the screen that just about made me cry. It was old photos of the band from earlier in the career, and it was so sweet, especially seeing it over the songs that made a name for them. Then the craziest thing happened. Pretty much every show I go to, if I know or anticipate I'm going to be on barricade, I bring a sign that says "Can I have your setlist?" and hold it up at the end of the set. I did this throughout Date With The Night which was the last song, and Karen wasn't looking like she was going to do anything, so I was a bit bummed but just enjoyed the rest of the song.

It's become a tradition for her to smash a mic at the end of the show (it's different from the ones she used the rest of the show, I think the one used for the last song is dedicated to smashing), so she was just going crazy on it at the end of DWTN. Smashing it, throwing it up in the air and letting it fall, swinging it, just the whole nine yards. At that point, I'd completely forgotten about this ritual and wasn't thinking much of it. She then started unwrapping it from the cable and that was when it kind of hit me that she was going to give it to someone in the audience. And THEN she saw me, pointed, sat on the edge of the stage, and had the security guard hand the mic to me, and threw up a little peace sign. Now, I kind of blacked a lot of it out because I was so starstruck, that's kind of what happens with any celebrity interactions I have, but oh my god. I remember mouthing thank you at her and holding it to my heart, and that was when she threw up the peace sign. Like I said, I'd stopped filming at this point so I don't have a video of it from my perspective, but I was able to track one down on Instagram which made me so happy! It was one of those moments where I was in so much disbelief I didn't fully process what had happened until I was sitting in my car staring at it. Immediately after they left the stage I started bawling so hard, and the people I'd made friends with on barricade all gave me the sweetest group hug as I was losing it. The guy next to me said "You did it! She gave you her microphone! Even better than a setlist!", which then just made me cry harder. He took a picture of me holding the microphone which I didn't remember him doing until later when I found him on Instagram and followed him, and then he sent me the glorious picture he took. It made me crack up when I saw it.

Needless to say, it was one of the greatest shows I've ever been to. I was just in awe the entire time. In general, I have such a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I get to be in front of an artist or band that has made so much history and been a part of so many revolutionary points in music. That's definitely how I felt the entire show, even more so when I studied the microphone trying to decipher if it was real or if I dreamt the entire thing. I was teary the whole way to my friend's house and passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow. The next crazy thing about this was that as I was driving back to Bend, I saw Perfume Genius walking down the street. I was making my way through the downtown area, and came to stop at a light, and saw someone that looked like one of his band members from the night before. And then another familiar face. And then another, and it was him! He was just walking around with two of his bandmates! As I passed them, I rolled down my window and screamed "GREAT SHOW LAST NIGHT MIKE!" and they looked at my car drive by and waved. It was so funny. As I said, although I didn't love his performance, I have enormous respect for what he does. Plus, Spitting Off The Edge Of The World was the very first song that there was an actual feature on from the YYYs, so you know he's got to have some talent to be on it. It was just such a funny little addition to my concert experience. I pretty much lived in my concert merch for the next week (not actually, I washed it, I promise). This was also my first solo show, which is something I was nervous about, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience that night. I'm still in shock when I think about it, honestly. I want to put the mic in a shadow box and have a fancy little title card made for it. I also saved a whole bunch of the confetti which was all shaped in 'Y' letter forms. So special! Thanks for spending a few minutes reading this, just by clicking on it you're supporting me and my little endeavor with this website, so thank you for that. I appreciate you! Go listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!



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