Sparks @ Lincoln Theatre – March 26th 2022
Sparks @ Lincoln Theatre – March 26th 2022

Live Review: Sparks @ Lincoln Theatre – March 26th 2022

While many bands have been forced to take the past two years as time off waiting for things to return to some semblance of normal, Sparks has been busy. The duo of brothers Ron and Russell Mael started the pandemic with the release of their 25th album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip. 2021 saw the release of both the Edgar Wright-helmed documentary The Sparks Brothers and a movie musical written by the brothers and directed by Leos Carax, Annette (which won them the Cannes Soundtrack Award, and Carax Best Director, at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival). And early 2022 sees them on an extensive 17-date tour across North America, which stopped this past Saturday night at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC.

For a band that’s been at it for five decades, Sparks still maintains a youthful energy that would make a band half their age envious. The falsettos might not always be quite as high or as frequent as they used to be, but for nearly two hours Russell dances and runs around the stage non-stop. Ron is as stoic as ever, except of course when he isn’t, like when he takes over the vocals for “Shopping Mall Of Love” or gets up to dance wildly in the middle of “The Number One Song In Heaven.” If you know Sparks, you know the schtick – but you probably love them for it.

Rather than focusing only on their latest material, the setlist ranged throughout the band’s entire career. They opened with one of their newest songs, “So May We Start” from the Annette soundtrack, but reached as far back as their first album from 1971 with “Wonder Girl.” Their 2015 collaboration with Franz Ferdinand as FFS made an appearance with “Johnny Delusional,” and even some more obscure tracks like “Tips For Teens,” “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth,” and “Under the Table With Her” made the cut. Few bands managed to ride the wave through 70s rock, glam, disco, new wave, and modern rock (along with a musical soundtrack!) so successfully, but the breadth of their setlist showed just how much coherence they managed to maintain through all of those. Highlights of the set included some of their most well-known songs, including “Angst In My Pants,” “I Predict,” and, of course, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us.”

The band is headed to Europe next, and at the end of the show, Ron gave a brief update on their activities… As it turns out, they’ve already recorded another album, and are already working on another movie musical.

Sparks Setlist

So May We Start
Angst In My Pants
Tips For Teens
Under The Table With Her
Get In The Swing
I Married Myself
I Predict
Wonder Girl
Stravinsky’s Only Hit
Shopping Mall Of Love
Johnny Delusional
We Love Each Other So Much

Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
Lawnmower
Music That You Can Dance To
The Rhythm Thief
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth
When Do I Get To Sing “My Way”
My Baby’s Taking Me Home
The Number One Song In Heaven
This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us

Suburban Homeboy
All That

PHOTOS © MATT CONDON

Sparks

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