Future Islands Prove to Be the Perfect Theater Band at Radio City Music Hall Concert: Photos + Setlist

Future Islands had only just kicked off the first leg of their tour supporting People Who Aren’t There Anymore when they arrived at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The record isn’t just one of the best of the band’s career, but one of the best releases so far this year, so it’s really no surprise they were at the top of their game on Thursday night. Still, watching the Baltimore synthpop outfit dominate that iconic stage confirmed what should have always been clear: Future Islands are the perfect theater band.

I’ve seen Samuel T. Herring and co. play everything from tiny warmup shows to major festival stages, and they always turn in impressive sets. Even so, you never know exactly what you’re going to get when a band likes this performs at a venue like Radio City, with its massive size, history, and association with more classical artistic presentations. Having seen Herring so many times throughout the years, however, I should have known his theatrics would only be elevated by the location.

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Always one to perform with the utmost passion, a theater stage is just the perfect place for Herring. Getting right into the beaming faces of the front row, throwing his fists to the back of the balcony, bellowing into the depths of the room, devouring fistfuls of imaginary dirt from the stage — I once described his performance style as “Shakespearian,” and watching him at Radio City was like seeing Laurence Olivier do Hamlet at the Old Vic.


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Future Islands’ new stage design also plays well in a theater space. Each band member is on a different leveled platform, an archway used for entrances and exits carved in the tallest one under keyboardist Gerrit Welmers. Lighting is deceptively simple yet effective, each member hit with a powerful light to cast their shadow on whatever wall is behind them, a few hoola-hoop-sized light rings set askew about the stage. With a single white globe set just off center stage left, there was a beautiful balance that’d make any stage designer proud.

In the cumulative, it all demonstrates that Future Islands may be built for theaters like this. The presentation and performance are a spectacle best taken in from the house seats — even if you’re only dancing in front of them.

Check out our exclusive gallery of Future Islands performing at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall below, followed by the complete setlist. Then snag your own tickets to their upcoming concerts via StubHub, where orders are 100% guaranteed through StubHub’s FanProtect program.


King of Sweden
A Dream of You and Me
Plastic Beach
Light House
Give Me the Ghost Back
City’s Face
Swept Inside
Shadows (with Ed Schrader)
For Sure
Say Goodbye
The Thief
The Tower
Seasons (Waiting on You)
Walking Through That Door
Inch of Dust
Vireo’s Eye
Little Dreamer


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