Live photos: The Strokes at Madison Square Garden

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

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Photograph: Jon Klemm

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Appropriately, the Strokes culminated their first Madison Square Garden concert with a blistering performance of "Take It or Leave It," the snarly closer of their 2001 debut, Is This It. After more than ten years of groundbreaking music and many inglorious starts and stops for the beloved New York band, that song has taken on a whole new meaning.

Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture talked with Hank Shteamer earlier this week about whether the changes in the lives of the bandmates have altered the group's musical mission. Fraiture assured him that despite everything else, their artistic aesthetic remained pure. And last night proved it. Regardless of the venue, the Strokes are still an insurmountable force of deceptively complex garage-pop. The musicians didn't play atop an enormous light pyramid or have giant inflatable pigs floating above the crowd; they came and they played their songs, quickly and passionately. Take it, or leave it. 

The band satisfied their die-hard fans playing favorites from the entire Strokes catalog. Surprisingly, the new material from this year's Angles, which ended a six-year hiatus, held up well amid classics like "New York City Cops" and "Last Night." Frontman Julian Casablancas was electric, hopping off stage frequently into a pool of foaming-at-the-mouth fans. The six-string interplay between guitarist Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr. was razor-sharp with ear-shredding, trebly riffs that cut through the band's tight rhythm section.   

It's old Twitter news that Elvis Costello was there to open the show and support the band as it ran through its new-classic "Taken for a Fool." Check a video of the performance after the jump.

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