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Ok Go Live Review: New York City Gets Energy-Filled, Multimedia Performance from Rock's Biggest Nerds

by Carolyn Menyes   Apr 13, 2015 13:51 PM EDT

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OK Go is one of the most inventive bands in the game right now, so of course its live show isn't just going to be a straightforward setlist full of hits, new album cuts and occasional shouts of "We love you New York City!" As promised, it was a multimedia, engaging experience on Saturday night (April 11) at NYC's Terminal 5, and potentially the weirdest show that you haven't seen yet.

OK Go's night in New York was already different from the moment fans filtered into the 3000-person capacity Terminal 5. There was no supporting act on the bill... just the band on the marquee. The lack of an opener was actually a welcome thing, allowing fans to fully immerse themselves into the world of Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Andy Ross and Dan Konopka without getting distracted by the idea of any other music... and what a world it is.

For a room filled to the brim with fans, OK Go opened up its performance in a peculiar way - by performing behind a screen. Images of the band's heads swirled around the barrier, while the four band members themselves were barely visible behind the special effects.

OK Go weren't determined to perform the whole night behind a shroud, eventually dropping the screen after the first two introductory tracks, but the surprises and audience engagement did not end there.

Throughout the night, Kulash and Nordwind led a round of three Q&As with the audience - turning the show into a way to connect with the fans that most bands would never even attempt. After the first shout of Kulash asking, "So, anyone have any questions?" people seemed a little confused before they realized, oh, we're supposed to talk to the dudes on stage.

From there, OK Go covered everything from its Hot Tub Time Machine 2 single "You're a F*cking Nerd and No One Likes You" to meeting Kermit the Frog to just how Damian Kulash got to be so darn cute (the answer: headgear).

When they weren't talking with fans or amazing them with crazy lighting and special visual effects, OK Go was creating new mixes of "There's A Fire" on their iPhones, running into the crowd for an acoustic performance of "Last Leaf" and shooting off more confetti than you'll find at a Katy Perry show. (Seriously, Terminal 5 was three-inches deep in the stuff by the end of the night.)

OK Go even revived its "A Million Ways" dance at the beginning of its encore, reenacting its breakthrough viral video for a dose of nostalgia that made everyone go wild. The dance happened after a screen montage filled with OK Go's best music video moments. For any other band, this would have felt self-serving, but for these dudes and this audience, it was just a reminder for how we all fell in love with each other.

A video posted by athousandmph (@athousandmph) on Apr 11, 2015 at 7:45pm PDT

As for the music itself - which, let's be real, is why we people were actually all in attendance at the end of the day - OK Go sounded as tight as ever. From its earliest hit "Get Over It" to cuts from the band's fourth studio album Hungry Ghosts, each song packed the appropriate mixture of perfectly executed sound and energy from the band itself. Honestly, they sounded just like they do on record, which is always fairly satisfying.

At the end of the night as the hoards walked away from the venue, one man in the crowd put it best: "I wasn't sure what to expect from this show, but those nerds really f*cking care." But unlike Hot Tub Time Machine 2, everyone likes those f*cking nerds.

Setlist:

01. Upside Down & Inside Out
02. You're So Damn Hot
03. The Writing's On The Wall
04. I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe
05. Obsession
06. This Too Shall Pass
07. There's A Fire
08. Last Leaf
09. Needing/Getting
10. I'm Not Through
11. Get Over It
12. The One Moment
13. Skyscrapers
14. Do What You Want
15. Black Dog (Led Zeppelin cover)
16. Turn Up the Radio

Encore:

17. A Million Ways (Dance)
18. White Knuckles
19. I Won't Let You Down
20. Here It Goes Again

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