On 12 September 2010, when The Strokes returned to New York City for the first time in four years, a dozen or so fans stood outside the Metropolitan Opera House as the band they adored played inside to an elite audience at one of the hottest parties of Fall Fashion week (host Tommy Hilfiger described the theme as: “Rock’n’roll meets prepster”).
The Strokes will now play in their home state once again, this time after a three-year drought, with a small show just outside city limits at the Capitol Theatre.
For the dedicated fans who snuck around the Opera House’s perimeter that September night, will this 31 May show be worth it? After two fair-to-middling albums and some by-the-book live shows, they need to be at their best. Here are some suggestions as to how they can avoid a disappointing night.
Don’t be assholes (especially to each other)
When they came back to touring after a five-year break-up, the band members openly discussed their wounded relationships with drugs, fame and each other.
Julian Casablancas assured Chilean news outlet Cooperativa that The Strokes are friends in a March interview and said that the goal when they are together is “just have it all be positive friend vibes. That's the thing that brings us together, and then we do some Strokes stuff, too."
“Positive friend vibes” is more encouraging than when the band toured for Angles in 2011, which Casablancas called “Operation Make Everyone Satisfied.”
The band are simply better when they're performing as a unit, and a repear of their 2002 performance of Take It of Leave It on Letterman would be the ultimate goal.
Don't be afraid of guests
The highlight of the band's serviceable set at Reading and Leeds in 2011 was Jarvis Cocker joining them on stage to do a cover of the Cars’ Just What I Needed. Casablancas has hinted at more Daft Punk collaborations, and being close to New York City opens up a selection of excellent potential guests. Or they could just invite Bowie.
Go heavy on the nostalgia
That 2011 Reading and Leeds show included four songs from their album at the time, Angles, and 13 songs from their pre-hiatus days. This is good, because their newer material is patchy, to say the least. Of course the duty to perform the mega-hits can be confining for the band, and insulting to fans who refuse to admit the most recents albums are bad, but let's be blunt: few Strokes fans will be there to demonstrate their love for Comedown Machine. This show is not about innovation.
Will you try to get tickets to see The Strokes' return to New York? Have they still got it as a live band? Let us know in the comments.