Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: The Cars @ Roseland Ballroom

The Cars @ Roseland Ballroom, May 25th, 2011
Photo & Review by Debbie Chou

I was definitely one of the younger ones in the crowd at The Cars show. Anyone younger than me must have been there only because of their parents. I don't say that with much pride though--I was surrounded by people who remember the 80's as their heyday. Before the show even started, these men and women were already drunk, and a brawl broke out between two drunk men standing right next to me. As a result I had whiskey spilled on me and into my eye...surprisingly not really what I'm used to at a rock concert!

Ric Ocasek came out with his signature shaggy black hair, shades, and shiny suit jacket. They opened with "Let The Good Times Roll" and went into "Blue Tip," the first song from their newest album Move Like This. Ocasek sounded exactly like he did twenty some years ago, yet throughout the show he was the coolest, almost stiffest band member out of everyone. It wasn't until the last five songs of the set he finally let loose and slipped in a few grins. The backup vocals led by lead guitarist Elliot Easton and synth/bassist Greg Hawkes were as light and cheery as The Cars should sound.

Hawkes was the most animated member and also the busiest, being in charge of three keyboards. As he switched over to the bass, he acknowledged their deceased bandmate: "We would like to give a big tip of the hat to our friend Ben Orr." Ocasek sang all of the songs, including "Let's Go" (originally sung by Orr) as well as their other hits "My Best Friend's Girl" (the crowd went wild during Easton's solo) and "You Might Think." Songs from Move Like This included "Keep On Knocking," "Free," and "Sad Song."

They pleased the crowd by ending with "Just What I Needed" and "You're All I've Got Tonight," but I can't help but wonder why they didn't play "Drive" even without Orr on vocals. Although the energy level onstage was low during a few points, the music was never boring. At times I could not tell if they were playing a new song or an old hit. Their sound remains so true, so classically "The Cars," as if the 1990's and 2000's never happened.

Setlist below...

Good Times Roll
Blue Tip
Since You're Gone
Up and Down
My Best Friend's Girl
Touch and Go
I'm in Touch With Your World
Keep On Knocking
You Might Think
Drag On Forever
I'm Not the One
Sad Song
Heartbeat City
Let's Go

Moving In Stereo
Just What I Needed
You're All I've Got Tonight

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