The Black Keys kicked on their first North American arena tour on March 2nd in Cincinnati, tearing through 21 career-spanning tunes. "It feels larger than life," says frontman Dan Auerbach. "It's so fun to see people pogoing, going ape-bananas."
As a kid, did you dream of playing arenas?
No. I saw the Beastie Boys and the Grateful Dead in an arena . . . . But when you walk through that tunnel and it opens up to all those people, it can take your breath away.
How has your live show changed?
We have five video screens the size of a basketball court that form like Voltron. They show live footage of us playing, images of the Rust Belt – we're trying to bring the audience into our world.
Do you write down a set list every night?
For sure. We're a 45-minute band playing for an hour and a half. It kicks your ass ndash; we need notes to get through it.
This tour ends on May 18th. What's next?
I'm making a record – it's under wraps – but we are booked through next year: Europe, Australia, Japan, South America and more North American touring. It's gonna be crazy.
This issue is from the March 29th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.