So this was our big brand-name rock show of the year. Terri instigated it (I kind of peaked with Devo sometime in high school), but I figured what the hey.
Tom Tom Club opened. I wasn’t really a fan of their music back in the day and I’m still not. But I really enjoyed their set; they were really pretty solid, and they had a ton of energy and they were just a great dance band. And now that I have gotten a little more of a taste for the NYC post-punk scene, I kind of get their context a little more– they easily could have showed up in Downtown 81 alongside James White and The Blacks or Kid Creole and the Cocoanuts. It was also much harder back when the Talking Heads were still in operation to see them as their own thing, but that is a little more obvious to me now. And the very afro-beat / world music sound of the last Talking Heads record seems less of a David Byrne tangent.
Devo was pretty faithful to their schtick– no big deviations in their stage show from the DVD we have of their 1980 stage show. Pretty similar set list, too. Their yellow hazmat suits are a little wider. But the spirit was still intact, and they had people up and dancing from the start. Some of the little films that they projected were clearly vintage Devo, but seemed like they might have been re-dubbed. And for the last song, Boojie Boy came out wearing some kind of frock and a pink baseball cap with a rhinestone skull-and-crossbones on it; during his nonsensical diatrabe I could sense the mood in the place was patient, but there was just a touch of “um, maybe you could take that stupid mask off and play Whip It again?”, but I think it was probably my favorite part of the set. And you know, it really is something to see the little film of them from 1981 in their Duty Now for the Future outfits with the wind in their hair, projected 30 feet high, with the Devo Corporate Anthem playing, with a few thousand other people in a place called the “Bank of America Pavillion” drinking a fluorescent green “margarita” from a slushee machine on a summer night. Mmmmm. Devolution.