Photos by / Ross Procaccio and Denise Castelli
It was my first time back to Radio City since being dragged by my mom to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular when I was a kid. Immediately upon entering you know you’re in an iconic space and this night was no exception. Tame Impala's signature sound technicians were hard at work in their lab coats checking equipment while people rushed to find their seats. I've seen them six times, but this sold out show is the the biggest stage I've ever seen them on (excluding festival gigs). The crowd was an interesting mix: beautiful women and hipster dudes, introverted office types, even a fair amount of finance looking bros with their manicured ladies. Everyone felt subdued and sort of sleepy. Although, there was at least one guy in front of us who seems to have drank the potion. It definitely feels like a Tuesday.
At 9pm sharp the lights went down and spinning, psychedelic projections took over a giant screen backdrop. Tame Impala took the stage more like a neighborhood band than an international phenomenon, waving and a friendly hello from frontman, Kevin Parker. After a short intro track they went straight into the opener off their new album, "Let it Happen."
They sounded just about as good as any band on their level should. And Parker seemed in his own skin doing his thing. The orchestrated performance mixed with their "flower power" visuals rolled through seamlessly and psych rock sounds mixed with trippy projections are a reminder that LSD and hallucinogens have permeated modern culture (and I regret not eating the mushroom cap I brought). The sights and sounds are blissful. It was just another reminder to the first time hearing "Elephant." It sounded like Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles all rolled into one; but with a more modern sound that evolved with an awareness of all that came before them. It was the psych rock sound I was looking for. It's psychedelic music to save your soul.
Early on, Parker mentioned how great it was to be playing Radio City and had no idea how big it really was until an earlier soundcheck. He said it must seem normal to us New Yorkers to “come here all the time." His charming comment felt humble and genuine, even though Tame Impala is fully capable of stretching your mind to infinity and back at a moments notice. Parker even sat in the house left balcony to watch a drum solo at the start of the encore. Really, he's just one of us.
It was a solid performance, even though the Tuesday night audience seemed a bit limp, many of them leaving before the end like a sad baseball game, but the band still did their thing and did it at the top of their game. However, something happens when you play the same setlist every night. It seemed too comfortable and polished at times and longtime fans (like myself) missed some of the old, live ragers like “Half Full Glass of Wine” and “Be Above It." That being said, Tame Impala is making a name for themselves in mainstream music and it's well deserved.
Let It Happen
Why Won't They Talk to Me?
It Is Not Meant to Be
The Less I Know the Better
Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?
'Cause I'm a Man