Written by Jim Bille – November 12, 2019

After hiding out for four years fellow Ohioans, The Black Keys, have emerged with a new album and a U.S. tour to go along with it. Houston Toyota Center was one of the stops and by all appearances was close to sold out as the fans came out on a chilly Tuesday night to welcome Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach back to town.

The new album, Let’s Rock, is one of the best musical efforts to date from The Black Keys and is definitely Grammy worthy. Songs from the release performed during the show included “Eagle Birds”, “Tell Me Lies”, “Walk Across The Water”, “Fire Walk With Me”, “Lo/Hi” and “Go”.

While The Black Keys are still essentially a two piece band they do employ touring musicians while on the road. The Carney and Auerbach show featured Steve Marion on guitar and brothers Zach and Andy Gabbard on guitar, bass and backing vocals which enhanced the live performance experience.

That being said, in previous concerts I’ve attended, songs like “Your Touch”, 10 AM Automatic and Thickfreakness would be performed as recorded in the basement with just Auerbach and Carney without any additional accompaniment. Not to say that these classic tunes from Tuesday night were not as good but maybe not quite as raw as the original recordings.

Songs from The Black Keys commercial breakthrough albums Brothers and El Camino were sprinkled throughout the evening. Keeping the audience on their feet and jumping with hits like “Gold on the Ceiling”, “Howling for You”, “Ten Cent Pistol” and “Lonely Boy” the band pretty much had the crowd in the palms of their hands.

Auerbach’s acoustic guitar opening to “Little Black Submarines” was impeccably played which lead into a guitar slamming version of this Black Keys standard.

I’ve now seen The Black Keys at least five different times and can say that this was one of their best shows yet. Every show has had its moments, from seeing them at small venues in Houston like Numbers or Warehouse Live or larger ones like Woodlands Pavilion or Toyota Center. However, this show seemed to be the one that really stands out for me. From the stage production, the sound system and the bands polished up performance this is the concert fans need to catch before this tour ends, especially if it takes another four long years for another live show.


Set list:

I Got Mine
Eagle Birds
Tell Me Lies
Gold On The Ceiling
Next Girl
Fire Walk With Me
Walk Across The Water
Everlasting Light
Howlin’ For You
10 A.M. Automatic
Your Touch
Strange Times
Tighten Up
Ten Cent Pistol

Little Black Submarines

Lonely Boy

She’s Long Gone