During their appearance at the 2022 Lollapalooza stop in Argentina, The Strokes delighted their South American fans by breaking out ‘Eternal Summer’, the fifth track from their most recent LP, The New Abnormal, for the first time live. This means that the band are just one performance of ‘Why Are Sundays So Depressing’ away from having performed all of The New Abnormal Live.
In 2020, Julian Casablancas expressed an interest in diversifying the band’s live set with deeper cuts and more variety. “We hadn’t played for a while,” Casablancas told NME after The Strokes’ live return that year, “so it was still fun, but when you start playing 30 or 40 shows, the music doesn’t move you. You feel phoney. To some extent, that’s why I play with Voidz. I couldn’t care less about playing ‘Last Nite.‘”
And yet, you’d be hard-pressed to find a show that doesn’t feature that iconic Is This It cut. It should come as no surprise that the band’s most celebrated album makes up the bulk of their concert setlist on any given night, with all 12 of the album’s tracks having been performed live numerous times. That includes ‘New York City Cops’, which has always been a live favourite despite being pulled from the U.S. version of the album. The replacement track, ‘When It Started’, has been played 78 times according to setlist.com, while ‘New York City Cops’ has been played over 400 times.
Just as well, all 11 songs from the band’s sophomore album, Room on Fire, have been performed live as well. The first album to find an ignored live track is First Impressions of Earth, which has seen all of its 14 songs played live except for a single track, ‘Fear of Sleep’. After that, the lineup of albums and live performances starts to fall off as The Strokes entered their difficult middle period.
Angles was recorded during a contentious time in the band, and the live performances that followed only occasionally incorporated the songs from it. The band’s performance at Lollapalooza saw the first time ‘You’re So Right’ has been played since 2016, while the album’s main single ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ hasn’t been played since 2016 either. All told, ‘Two Kinds of Happiness’, ‘Call Me Back’, and ‘Metabolism’ have yet to be broken out on stage in any capacity.
Things get even dicier with Comedown Machine. The Strokes refused to tour behind the album, largely seeing it as a contract fulfilment and nothing more. The group took a long hiatus after the album’s release, and when they fully returned, the band were officially hovering around their 20th anniversary. Perhaps it’s no surprise that only half of the album’s tracks have seen retroactive live debuts, with the songs’ Tap Out’, ’50/50′, ‘Slow Animals’, ‘Partners in Crime’ and ‘Chances’ having still never seen the light of day in live performances.
The band have picked up the slack by having tried out all three tracks from Future Present Past live, even if ‘OBLIVIUS’ was only tried once. The New Abnormal is on pace for the full live treatment, but as it stands right now, the number of Strokes songs still not yet performed live stands at ten.
Songs never performed live by The Strokes:
- ‘Fear of Sleep’
- ‘Two Kinds of Happiness’
- ‘Call Me Back’
- ‘Tap Out’
- ‘Slow Animals’
- ‘Partners in Crime’
- ‘Why Are Sundays So Depressing’