"They'll be nothing to keep me away"
(photo by johnny leather)
Phoenix played Music Hall of Williamsburg last night. Going into the show I couldn't help but dread that my first Phoenix show--something I've been waiting four years for--would be plagued with the far too familiar stoic hipster crowd (also infected: Silver Jews, Jens Lekman singing DJ, Deerhunter). Praise the God(s) this didn't happen. The "Of Montreal" crowd showed up instead, bringing the most energy I've ever seen at a Music Hall show.
Lightspeed Champion started off the late night (Phoenix played Letterman earlier that day, which might explain the late start). They slowly warmed up the crowd, who responded affectionately to a more-rock/less-80's cover of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels". It was an above average set that seemed to leave a generous impression on the few hundred anxious Phoenix fans. Unfortunately for Lightspeed Champion, any memorable moments were soon forgotten in the wake of one of the best rock shows I've seen in a while.
Phoenix took the stage shortly after midnight. They came out blazing--opening the night with "Liztomania" before jumping into a handful of singles from It's Never Been Like That ("Long Distance Call", "Consolation Prizes", "Rally"). The "sold-out" crowd (which seemed a little thin thankfully) was fully engaged at this point with all eyes on Thomas Mars and the gang. A handful of new songs got fantastic treatment, and the audience seemed to know all the words.
They encored with an awesome (and slightly re-worked) version of "If I Ever Feel Better" and a nearly ear-damaging rendition of "1901" which included an impromptu refrain in which Thomas Mars sung from the audience. Other standouts included "Sometimes in the Fall" and a killer "Love Like a Sunset".
Phoenix plays Terminal 5 tonight, and if I didn't have an unavoidable engagement, I would seriously consider going back for more.
Phoenix - Sometimes in the Fall (LIVE) [from 2006's It's Never Been Like That (Bonus Disc)]