If you are a fan of spontaneity, it may disappoint you to learn that the Black Keys played the exact same set Saturday at KeyArena as they did on Friday in Portland and Vancouver the night before that. The benefit of all that repetition was easy to see, however, as the band turned in an impressive marathon of some of its biggest hits that was on point from start to finish.
With an explosive drum beat, the band announced itself with the brassy clamor of “Dead and Gone,” from 2011’s “El Camino.” The song set up the effective interplay between drummer Patrick Carney and guitarist Dan Auerbach, who started the band in Akron, Ohio in 2001.
These days the longtime collaborators are joined by bassist Richard Swift and multi-instrumentalist John Wood, welcome additions who help round out the sound. Their presence paid dividends immediately on songs such as the windy and driving “Run Right Back” and “Same Old Thing,” a highlight off the 2008 album “Attack and Release.”
By the time they got to their platinum, Danger Mouse-produced megahit “Gold on the Ceiling,” the Black Keys were rolling. Auerbach used a searing guitar attack to turn the song into a snarling version of its shiny studio counterpart.
That became a theme throughout the night, as Auerbach turned his amps up to 11 and let them roar. There was not a lot of subtlety to the show. He wielded his guitar like a buzz saw, cutting through the garage-blues riffs of “Leavin’ Trunk,” from the band’s debut album “The Big Come Up,” and the jangling “Howlin’ for You.”
“Fever,” a new song from this year’s “Turn Blue,” benefited from one of the Keys’ rare moments of restraint. Unfortunately, it was the only new song that really hit the mark.
Most of the crowd would have been satisfied if “Lonely Boy,” another hit from “El Camino” that finished as Billboard’s top rock song in 2012, had been the final number. After a long pause the band came out for another three songs, including two more subdued ones from “Turn Blue.”
They finished with “Little Black Submarines,” which began as a tender singalong. However, the Black Keys couldn’t help themselves and ended up creating one more guitar-hero moment.