On Friday, in the midst of brightly colored lights and psychedelic animations, Portugal. The Man took over the stage of Terminal 5 to delight their fans with an array of highly energetic pop-rock tunes. The completely sold-out show was part of their North American tour to promote their terrific latest album, Evil Friends, and it was, in a word, amazing.
At 9:25 the lights went down, the crowd roared, and in the climax of The Righteous Bothers’ Unchained Melody, the five-piece band came out. The night began with the popular single Purple Yellow Red And Blue, accompanied by a light and laser show that successfully set the mood and got everybody in the room dancing frantically. “All I wanna do is live in ecstasy, I know what’s best for me,” blared the 3,000 sweaty souls, who for the next two hours sang and bounced in unison, making the large New York City venue tremble.
With eight studio albums and three EPs released, their set was a nice mix of flawlessly performed old and new songs. Even though the band’s live renditions stay true to the recorded versions of their songs, the combination of longer guitar solos, punching base lines and powerful drums, gave them the kind of energy and resonation that can only be achieved live.
Of the twenty-something songs played, In The Mountain In The Cloud’s So American, American Ghetto’s When The War Ends, and Evil Friends’ Modern Jesus, Hip Hop Kids, and Creep In A T-Shirt, were among the favorites. The Portland-based quintet also played cover versions of Ghostface Killah’s A Kilo and Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind. Regardless of their authorship, every single song was received with an outburst of cheering from the exhilarated crowd.
Even though the band waited a couple of songs before they addressed the audience, they too seemed to be enjoying the evening. Both frontman John Gourley and bassist Zach Carothers eventually showed their gratitude by saying things like “This is fucking crazy!” and “Thank you guys for coming out tonight, it means a lot to us!” which almost caused an attendee or two to pass out in their frenzy.
The main set ended with a reprise of Purple Yellow Red and Blue, to no one’s complaint, and when the band left the stage, the audience began simultaneously screaming “One more song” (as if we all didn’t know the encore was a given). The memorable evening ended with a potpourri of The Devil, Sleep Forever, and Smile, accompanied by bits of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter and Hey Jude, to which everyone in the venue joyously sang along.