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Devo | January 13, 2012


Having been touring up a storm since the release of Something for Everybody in 2010 (the first studio album since 1990!), Devo made a return visit to San Francisco, this time with two nights at the Fillmore.  With the the small stage crammed with a huge LED screen and equipment, it was obvious to the packed house even before the band took the stage that Devo had come to  deliver the goods.

Wasting no time diving into the new material, the band took the stage donned in Everybody masks and track suits and busted into Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man) which got the crowd bopping along in a way that suggested that most were on top of the new stuff.  Things really started to gather steam with a fast costume change and a return to stage with the classic energy dome hats (now in blue) for a trio of tunes off of their break-through, Freedom of Choice.  By the time Mongoloid hit, the liquored-up crowd of 40 and 50-somethings up front were bordering on fisticuffs as the pogoing hit high gear (I’m looking at you, drunk dude from Portland).

The setlist seemed to stick to the script of previous shows (apologies in advance for any misses below) and while I would have preferred that they mix things up, it’s hard to think of any glaring omissions.  The band was tight but I had to wonder whether they looked a little ready for something other than the well-scripted and well-executed set which featured instrument musical chairs, more costume changes and than a Cher concert and hand fulls of souvenirs being tossed into the audience by Mothersbaugh.

But amongst the synthpop, it’s easy to forget that that the band has always carried a serious message that still resonates today; during the encore Freedom of Choice was a keen reminder of this. And while everyone is quick to remember the big hits and get distracted by the theater, great songs run deep within the Devo catalog and the 80 minute set proved that in spades.


  • Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)
  • Peek-a-Boo
  • What We Do
  • Going Under
  • Fresh
  • That’s Good
  • Girl U Want
  • Whip It
  • Planet Earth
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  • Secret Agent Man
  • Uncontrollable Urge
  • Mongoloid
  • Jocko Homo
  • Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
  • Gates of Steel


  • DEVO Corporate Anthem
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Beautiful World

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© 2012 Alan Snodgrass | Please do not use without express permission (contact). If you like what you see, leave a comment below and subscribe so you can be notified of new posts. You can also become a fan on Facebook.

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  1. Drunk Dude from PDX

    I’ll cop to being the drunk guy from Portland. My apologies for any problems. Too many pre-show cocktails at the Tonga Room is my only excuse. Great show, thanks for the nice photos.

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