My family and I had the pleasure to see OK Go in concert on November 2.
The family-friendly show was a concert but also a bit of performance art —though they played live, their performances were often played in sync with the videos for which they are famous, many of which have gone viral.
And showcasing their creativity and playfulness, they invited the audience to download an app to their phones and play along with one of their numbers, with cues given onscreen on what notes to hit.
At various moments in the show, they also paused for some Q&A, displaying lots of humor and wit. And, of course, there was showmanship—in addition to the videos, at some points in the show, they had machines that blasted confetti onto the audience during a few numbers. For the encore, they invited kids to come on stage to dance as they performed a cover of Blur’s “Song 2,” as many in the audience joined them in their seats.
One of the highlights was their talking about how they stumbled across their niche, first playing the video clip below before they came on stage, from a local morning show in Chicago in 1998, when they were just starting out (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwoD4pfvuC4, though no need to watch it.)
After the band came out to sing their first number, they told the story behind the clip. Apparently, the show didn't have the capability for bands to play live, so acts were asked to lip sync their performance. So they instead decided to choreograph a boy band dance with a fake rock band air-guitaring in the background.
The lead singer at the time was working as an engineer at the National Public Radio (NPR) station in Chicago and asked co-workers at the radio station to play in the fake band—two of the people in the band in the above clip (who they showed in close up stills on screen) were now-notable NPR radio personalities Ira Glass (This American Life) and Peter Sagal (host of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me).
Shortly after this appearance, when Glass was doing some live shows, he asked the band to open for him—and specifically asked whether they would perform the boy band dance from the above video. They did and it got such a positive response from the audience it ended up becoming part of their act/niche. This led to their other videos—many of the questions during the Q&A asked about their creative process.
It was an enjoyable evening.