MGMT: Live on Letterman
Photos by Amy Jacques
MGMT performed a special nine-song set at New York’s famed Ed Sullivan Theatre last night as part of the new Live on Letterman concert series. After taping the song “Brian Eno” on The Late Show With David Letterman earlier in the day, the members of MGMT commandeered the talk show host’s studio for a special webcast and radio simulcast.
The group entered the venue from the back of the theater with frontman Andrew VanWyngarden and bassist Matt Asti walking arm and arm as if to poke fun at their surroundings. Once onstage the group jumped into “Flash Delirium” from its new album Congratulations, yet the band quickly looked back on its career with “Destrokk” from 2005’s Time to Pretend EP and “The Youth” and “Electric Feel” off of 2008’s Oracular Spectacular. Throughout the 50-minute set, the group mixed newer songs like “It’s Working,” “Song for Dan Treacy” and “Congratulations” with more familiar numbers like “The Handshake” and “Time to Pretend”—the latter of which got the seated crowd to its feet 40-minutes into the performance.
VanWyngarden, who dressed like a decidedly British, ‘60s-inspired psychedelic character from one of the band’s music videos, made more than a few irreverent comments throughout the performance: he described “It’s Working” as a song about drugs, misled the band by calling “Congratulations” a Billy Joel song and mentioned the show’s encore, a jammed out version of “Brian Eno” was a jazz song. He also bantered with guitarist/percussionist James Richardson after a few technical difficulties knocked over his bongo drums.