Live: The Struts @ Stage AE
As it turns out, the strange days are not, in fact, over.
Ready to come bursting out of COVID-19 shutdowns and back onto stages, The Stuts embarked on their Strange Days Are Over Tour, only to be met with a surging Delta variant and requirements for vaccines and face masks. And while the circumstances are not ideal, after nearly two years without live music, the band’s Stage AE appearance was a more than welcome one, and as always, they delivered.
Always ones for crafting near-perfect setlists, they came out with the power and attitude of “Primadonna Like Me,” the beginning of a set spanning nearly two hours. They continued with some of their most energetic tracks, like “Body Talks,” “Kiss This,” “I Hate How Much I Want You,” “Fire,” “One Night Only,” and “Dirty Sexy Money” before slowing things down with “Low Key in Love,” a fitting transition into the slow point of the set that featured a lovely acoustic cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and Struts live staple “Mary Go Round.”
The band sped things up again with “Put Your Money on Me” before launching into a wonderful medley of “Put Your Hands Up / These Times Are Changing / Bulletproof Baby / All Dressed Up (With Nowhere to Go) / Only Just a Call Away / Where Did She Go.” It was a wise choice — their three full-length albums give them plenty of material to choose from and cuts have to be made somewhere in the set, but a medley is a nice compromise, giving fans snippets of what some of them are undoubtedly wanting to hear the most without devoting precious set time to the full rendition. But we did get full versions of “Am I Talking to the Champagne (Or Talking to You)” and “Wild Child” before the band closed with “I Do It So Well,” and indeed, they do.
The aptly titled “Strange Days,” from the album of the same name, served as the first offering of a two-song encore — after an interruption that frontman Luke Spiller attributed to someone in the band setting off a fire alarm after lighting “a spliff” — with The Struts officially wrapping things up with “Could Have Been Me,” always guaranteed to have fans singing along and a great way to wrap things up for the night.
The strange days may not be over, but hopefully, that doesn’t mean we’ll have to go this long without a Struts show ever again.