Dinosaur Jr kicked off their seven-night Where You Been? 30th anniversary run at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night in typical low key but very loud style. They’re playing the album in full each night followed by a second set of songs where they bring out special surprise guests.
They’ve done this before — back in 2015 at Bowery Ballroom to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary and debut album — but Where You Been? is one of their most popular albums and Friday felt a little more exciting, to me at least, though the crowd at MHOW mostly bobbed their heads to the hits (a very small pit did try to start a couple times). It is also an album that Lou Barlow doesn’t play on but he was having a blast on Friday night, even when he was a little unsure about things — he apologized before and after “What Else is New?,” saying they didn’t practice this one and hadn’t played it since their London run two weeks ago.
Usually not the most talkative guy on stage, J Mascis was downright loquacious (for him), telling a story before “Hide” that when he listened to the album in preparation for these shows he had no recollection of the song at all…despite it being where the title “Where You Been” comes from. Regardless, it was one of the highlights of the set — Lou really thrashed around, his hair a blur — alongside “On the Way” and the album’s three singles (“Start Choppin,” “Out There,” and “Get Me”).
After playing the album J, Lou and Murph launched into the second half of the set without leaving the stage, opening with “Garden,” Lou’s standout single from their 2021 album Sweep It Into Space, followed by You’re Living All Over Me‘s “In a Jar.” Then came the surprise guests. The Walkmen‘s Hamilton Leithauser, who told the crowd “I live down the street,” joined the band to sing “Feel the Pain.” After that, they brought out Modest Mouse‘s Isaac Brock, who seemed a much better fit with the band than Leithauser to be honest, to play and sing on “Watch the Corners” and then an awesome version of “Freak Scene” to close out the main set.
They returned for a two song, no-guests encore of “Gargoyle” and their ferocious cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” Fun show!
A few other notes:
- They were filming this show, with three remote controlled cameras on tracks at the front of the stage, a guy with a camera in the photo pit, more cameras on tracks back by the soundboard, and a camera behind Murph at the kit.
- There was also a keyboard player on a few songs, hidden behind J’s wall of Marshall stacks and beside Murph
- Purple has long been Dinosaur Jr’s color of choice with J’s amps and guitars, Murph’s drums and even the gaffer tape in various violet shade
Check out a few pics and video from Night 1, along with the setlist, below.
SETLIST: Dinosaur Jr @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 12/1/2023
Where You Been
What Else Is New
On the Way
Not the Same
I Ain’t Sayin’
In a Jar
Feel the Pain (with Hamilton Leithauser)
Watch the Corners (with Isaac Brock)
Freak Scene (with Isaac Brock)
Just Like Heaven