Devo has never been a mainstream band. Even with the megahit “Whip It,” a song that transcended its time, the group always felt just a little different from whatever is going on with popular music. While many people know that song, fans are familiar with all Devo albums. So Devo had a cunning plan: tour on the basis of rare, experimental Devo tracks. This concept, to perform Devo songs written before 1978 (sorry fair-weather fans, that meant no “Whip It”), gave the band a chance to display their excellent beginnings. The tour also gave them a chance to pay homage to their late guitarist/keyboardist, Bob Casale. While the tour was planned before Casale’s death, it felt as if sharing the music was really good for the band – and fans.
Drawing mostly from Hardcore Devo: Volume One and Hardcore Devo: Volume Two (with the exceptions of “Timing X” from Duty Now for the Future and “Gut Feeling” from Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!), the show’s set list included a fantastic “Space Girls,” plus songs such as “Fraulein,” “Beehive,” “I Been Refused,” and “Baby Talkin’ Bitches” that proved some strong rock foundations. Also on tap were the wonderfully weird “Midget,” catchy “Stop Look and Listen” and the absolute classics “Be Stiff,” “Jocko Homo,” and “Uncontrollable Urge.” Something that also impressed me was the great switching of vocals between Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale.
Devo put on an entertaining and fluid show. I’ve seen them several times and this has been the case every time. The first part of the Neptune show had band members seated, but then they arose and got their Devo jumpsuits and masks on, and even Booji Boy, in a pink onesie, made an appearance – with the aid of a walker. Poor Booji Boy needs a little help these days.
It was wonderful to see Devo perform the more rare tracks in such a reverential manner – and that reverence came from the audience as well, who were happy and familiar with all Devo music. Thank you, Devo, for always valuing your own music and how much fans love it. I can’t say that about every band.
Space Girl Blues
Baby Talkin’ Bitches
I Been Refused
Timing X/Soo Bawls
Stop Look and Listen
Fountain of Filth
U Got Me Bugged