The Strokes played their first London show in five years on Thursday (June 18), headlining the first night of the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park.
The returning New York five piece played an 18-song set featuring songs from their five studio albums, a collection of fan favourites and classic singles, but no new material.
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At their first London gig since a secret show under the alias Venison at the capital’s Dingwalls venue in 2010, the band played to a star-studded crowd which included members of the Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Gwyneth Paltrow, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Alexa Chung, Roman Abramovich, Fearne Cotton and more.
Arriving onstage to enormous cheers, the band opened their set with ‘Is This It’, the title track from their 2001 debut album. They continued with the album’s ‘Barely Legal’ before heading into ‘Welcome To Japan’, taken from their most recent album, 2013’s ‘Comedown Machine’.
Still sporting his red and green hair, frontman Julian Casablancas welcomed the London crowd, “What’s up sexys. Young ladies. Damn, this is beautiful,” he said.
Before launching into ‘Someday’, the third single from ‘Is This It’, he joked, “Beck was going to come out for this next song but now he isn’t.” He then pretended to introduce Jamaican dancehall musician Shabba Ranks instead.
Casablancas wore a camel coloured jacket while guitarist Albert Hammond Jr sported a bright red shirt. Drummer Fabrizio Moretti kept his shades on, sporting an ‘It’s Miller Time’ T-shirt, referring to the US beer brand.
Following ‘Hard To Explain’ Casablancas addressed the cheers from the crowd, saying, “It’s like the 90s down there. There’s a mosh pit!”
They went on to play ‘Reptilia’ from second album ‘Room On Fire’ and ‘Heart In A Cage’ from third album ‘First Impressions Of Earth’, ending the main set with ‘New York City Cops’ from ‘Is This It.’
They returned after a short break for a three-track encore, ending with ‘Take It Or Leave It’. Casablancas told the crowd, “I hope you enjoyed our brand of funk music. Can anyone name five funk bands right now?”
“This has been so fun,” he concluded, before leaving the stage. “Be safe, but not too safe.”
Albert Hammond Jr recently hinted that the Hyde Park concert might be the band’s “last show” adding, “I’ve got no idea. So I take each one like it’s my last and I hold and I cherish it.”
The show will be followed by Hammond’s forthcoming solo album, with the band’s bassist Nikolai Fraiture also working on new music. However, frontman Julian Casablancas recently revealed that the band are working on new music together, following their last album ‘Comedown Machine’ in 2013.
The Strokes played:
‘Is This It’
‘Welcome To Japan’
‘You Talk Way Too Much’
‘Heart In A Cage’
‘Hard To Explain’
‘Vision Of Division’
‘Under Cover Of Darkness’
‘One Way Trigger’
‘New York City Cops’
‘You Only Live Once’
‘Take It Or Leave It’