Lester Robancho, writer
Alternative rock band OK Go launched their 2014 tour at the Assembly Music Hall in Sacramento, CA this past Tuesday after not having been on tour for quite some time. Lead singer, guitarist, and frontman Damian Kulash enthusiastically makes note of this to the crowd after their opening song “Upside Down and Inside Out.” The crowd responds with their own enthusiasm for OK Go’s return with cheering and screaming as they stand elbow to elbow in the relatively small venue.
This enthusiasm only grows as OK Go continues their overall excellent show Tuesday night.
Before the set even officially begins, the audience is treated with brief clips of different characters from various films and television shows yelling either “okay” or “go,” or a combination of the two; The clips were being projected onto a screen. Finally, Kermit the Frog formally introduces OK Go, revealing the band behind the screen, which was actually transparent. The opening song “Upside Down and Inside Out” is from their upcoming album and was just what was needed to pump some energy into the crowd, most of whom have been waiting for hours. As they play, a disembodied floating head of Kulash is displayed singing along with the band.
Immediately afterwards, the band delivers some nostalgia to fans with the catchy “You’re So Damn Hot.” This is followed up with a mixture of synth, bass, and violins with the more recently released “I Won’t Let You Down.” As they play, the screens both in front and behind them displayed abstract patterns, colors, images, and words that complimented the band’s brand of poppy, catchy, instrumental-driven rock music.
After a few songs, Kulash takes a short break to thank the crowd, telling them it was a pleasure being back on tour.
He then asks the audience to sing seven, easy to remember words for him. The entire venue knew what this meant. After a few tries with the audience, OK Go performs the ever-so-enlivening “This Too Shall Pass.” From the first boom of the bass drum to the confetti-filled finale, “This Too Shall Pass” was easily the highlight of the show.
At one point during the show, Kulash and the audience have a campfire moment, with Kulash jumping off the stage to stand in the middle of the crowd, playing “Last Leaf” with his acoustic guitar. It was a nice break from their previous songs, and no doubt had some of the fans going crazy since they were in such close proximity of each other. Kulash made sure to include the whole venue, turning around 180 degrees to sing to the “drunk” side of the venue as well.
The band leaves the stage after playing “Turn Up the Radio,” leaving the crowd wanting an encore. Of course, the band returns and finishes the night off with “The One Moment” and Here it Goes Again.”
If there is one thing OK Go’s show wasn’t Tuesday night, it’s dull. Almost all of the songs during the set were colored with the two projection screen trick, and several times the band launched different colored confetti into the crowd. A double-cowbell-instrument-thing was also utilized a few times.
The music itself proved that night that OK Go is still a force to be reckoned with, with great performances by all of the band members. There was a particularly terrific guitar solo during “White Knuckles” by Andy Duncan. Overall OK Go gave an enjoyable and surprisingly spectacular show at the Assembly. It is certain that all who were in attendance that night would agree that it’s good to have them back.