Sleater-Kinney went out the way they always promised they would – all at once, not piece by piece. “Like a whole bucket of stars dumped into the universe,” as Corin Tucker sang in “Get Up,” and that’s what last night’s farewell New York show sounded like. It was a two-hour epic show, with Carrie Brownstein still busting out her guitar-hero kicks and spins after everyone else in the house was passing out from heat exhaustion. “Don’t lick each other’s sweat,” she warned us. Thanks, Carrie! Cameras were rolling for a future live DVD, and that’s good news, since this was one of the greatest rock shows I’ve ever seen. Has any band ever gone out on top like Sleater-Kinney? Not bloody likely.
The crowd was insanely into it, singing every word and screaming “Carrieeee!” between songs. (Corin and drummer Janet Weiss got their screamers too, but the Carrie fans definitely won the scream-off.) Nobody sat down, and nobody stood around in that bored-indie pose. This was a celebration of twelve years of Sleater-Kinney – in one more hour, we leave this room – and the mood was festive: Carrie and Corin pogoing in unison during “Jumpers,” Janet’s harmonica solo in “Modern Girl” the fearsome Hendrix/Sabbath guitar jam that exploded into “Entertain.” They began with “Start Together,” one of their best, and proceeded to bombard us with twenty-four fan favorites old and new, including nearly everything on The Woods and reaching back as far as Call The Doctor. They banged out surprise oldies like “The Drama You’ve Been Craving,” “Dig Me Out,” and “The Hot Rock.” And the encore — jeez. They did five classics in a row: “Ballad of a Ladyman,” “Oh!,” “Call the Doctor,” “Get Up,” and “Words and Guitar.” We all figured they were worn out. They weren’t. They came back again to play “Turn It On” and “One More Hour.” It’s funny, because I assumed”One More Hour” was the song they were guaranteed NOT to play – too damn sad. But that’s the way they ended it, with Carrie singing “I know it’s hard for you to let it go / You never wanted to let it go,” over and over. Then they let it go. What a night. Thank you, Sleater-Kinney.