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The Strokes at the Chelsea: concert review + setlist

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The Strokes performed August 20 at the Chelsea at Cosmopolitan.
Erik Kabik
Jason Harris

three and a half stars

The Strokes August 20, the Chelsea.

To be clear, I’m not a nostalgia-monger. I don’t go to shows for greatest-hits packages. But the majority of fans want to hear an artist’s most famous song when they see their heroes live. Sometimes that’s all it takes to ratchet up a show from good to great.

And so it boggles my mind why The Strokes, who were in a nice groove all night, didn’t put “Last Nite”—the hit that broke them big—somewhere in the set. According to the setlisted Strokes’ shows on setlist.fm, the two songs played the most by the band are Is This It tracks “Hard To Explain” and “Someday” (321 times), both played well here. “Last Nite” is next on the list, being played only one less time than those two. And it was during this particular Vegas show?! Why, The Strokes?! Why?!

Sure, lead singer Julian Casablancas, dressed like he was going as Danny McBride for Halloween, showed off his impressive range, keeping his distorted lows booming and bassy, but winning with his falsetto on “One Way Trigger.” Sure, the collection of songs off sophomore effort Room On Fire set the room on fire. “Under Control” continues to be one of The Strokes’ most underrated hits, celebrating everything that is good about garage rock. Sure, “Heart In A Cage” live proves that the recorded version can’t touch it. In person, this could be an anthem, puffing its chest out full of New York City swagger. And sure, I was damn happy to hear “New York City Cops,” which has the kinetic energy of another classic cop song, The Clash’s undeniable “Police On My Back.”

But damn it, I’m with the majority on this one. I wanted one more hit. Sure, that would have been great.

Setlist:

"Barely Legal"

"Welcome to Japan"

"Killing Lies"

"One Way Trigger"

"Automatic Stop"

"The End Has No End"

"Razorblade"

"Machu Pichu"

"Under Control"

"12:51"

"You Only Live Once"

"Heart In Cage"

"Someday"

"Hard To Explain"

"Encore"

"New York City Cops"

"Happy Ending"

"Reptilia"

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