Last night The Strokes made their live return at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. It was the first show in three years for the famed New York City rockers and it served as a warmup show for the band who are playing Governors Ball next week and didn’t even tour for last year’s Comedown Machine.

Brooklyn punk band Cerebral Ballzy opened the set, as they are signed to Strokes’ frontman Julian Casablancas’ record label, Cult Records. Even with that connection, the band wasn’t a good fit for the evening. A punk rock band that sounded more fit to soundtrack a Tony Hawk video game soundtrack than to warm up impatient Strokes fans. They got the most cheers from the crowd when they announced that the next song would be their last. I think that just about sums that up.

In the minutes (that felt like hours) leading up to the arrival of The Strokes, there was a tension in the air that was equally anticipation mixed with excitement and fear. By fear, I’m referring to the question of what kind of show we were in for. It’s been a long time since the band took over a stage of any kind. They still had yet to play any Comedown Machine material live ever, so one had to wonder if the night would be dedicated to those tracks in preparation for their big Governors Ball set next weekend. On the other hand, you had to hope that they would just cut loose and play all the hits. Lets be honest, after three years of nothing, it would be the best way to say “I’m back” possible.


Although they walked out to the intro of “80’s Comedown Machine” they gave us our answer immediately, starting the night with Is This It staple “Barely Legal”, a song that they hadn’t played all that much in the recent past. Next up was the live debut of “Welcome To Japan”, which went over extremely well. It was great to see the band on the same stage together again, especially considering that they looked genuinely happy to be there playing these songs again. Often you see bands get back together and just go through the motions, but that was not what we got from The Strokes last night. They were all smiles, getting into the songs, and feeding off the palpable excitement and energy that the crowd was feeding them. The set was basically a quick run through their greatest hits (“Reptilia”, “Automatic Stop”, “Under Control”, “Hard To Explain”, “Someday”).

The set was one of the most diverse ones that you’ll find from the band, as they played usual set closer “Take It Or Leave It” during the middle, and threw in rarely played “12:51” along with “Razorblade” and “The End Has No End.” Personally, I found “Heart In A Cage” to be a staggering moment. It’s one of my personal favorites of the band, and it was delivered in that sweltering passion that I’ve come to love. All of the Comedown Machine material was very solid live, mixing in quite well with the rest of their material.

By the time set-closer “Last Night” came on, I had lost my voice from singing along all night passionately. It was the first time that has happened to me since Arctic Monkeys played Webster Hall, a sign that this show was truly one for the books. The one-song encore was a pitch perfect finale of “New York City Cops” that was an appropiate send off to one of the best shows I’ll see all year.

I don’t know what their set next week at Governors Ball will bring (I’m sure it will be somewhat different – I would love to hear “Juicebox”) but I don’t know if it can top seeing their live return in such an intimate (The Capitol fits 1800 people) and beautiful setting.

The Strokes are back, ladies and gentlemen.

Posted below, are the setlist, videos of , and more photos (all iPhone).

1. Barely Legal
2. Welcome to Japan
3. Automatic Stop
4. Machu Picchu
5. Reptilia
6. Razorblade
7. Take It or Leave It
8. One Way Trigger
9. Under Control
10. Heart in a Cage
11. Hard to Explain
12. 12:51
13. Someday
14. Happy Ending
15. The End Has No End
16. You Only Live Once
17. Last Nite

18.New York City Cops

“One Way Trigger”:

“Happy Ending”:

“Welcome To Japan”:















Cerebal Ballzy:


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