@AndyShore Phoenix didn’t waste any time at Coachella 2010, opening their set with fan favorite “Lisztomania.” Thomas Mars knows what the fans want. He moves about the stage, goes into the crowd and lies against the stage with his head on his monitor. All the classic rock and roll moves. What’s most impressive about Mars is the notes he hits live. You hear some of those notes he reaches on the album, and doubt it can be replicated live. Mars not only does that, but repeats the choruses over and over as the fans sing along. He’s among the best frontmen around.
The sunset set from Phoenix was one of the highlights of the weekend. The huge crowd sang along to almost every song. Not just the ones from their US breakout album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “1901” closed the set…and quasi encored with it. The band left the stage as the lights were dimmed. Mars reappeared in the crowd to sing the chorus repeatedly amongst the fans.
@ZackTeibloom With their lighting guy stuck due to the volcano in Iceland, Phoenix had to rely on their songs. Luckily they have a strong set of them. “The light guy didn’t make it, Mars told us. “It will have to be all about the music. Enjoy the sunset.” We did. They started with “Lisztomania,” like they did the last two times I saw them. No complaints, though. It’s a perfect show starter. They’re taking a victory lap with this album. And why not? It was arguably the best of 2009. You can milk an album for a year and a half.
Here’s the thing. I’ve seen them three times this tour. And it’s the same thing every time. Again, that’s OK. Some bands give you a completely different set list and experiences from show to show (Phish, Les Savvy Fav, Umphrey’s) and some do the same exact thing (Phoenix, Paul McCartney, Green Day.) The point is to do it well. Phoenix certainly does.
This experience was a little different for me for a couple reasons. During their epic two-part “Love Like a Sunset” we decided to take a sandwich break and sat down. Being so low to the ground, the “boom” before the chorus comes back in rattled us deep in our eardrums and chests. Was it the same as the warm bath of lights that feels like they tell a story during their usual show? Of course not. But it felt good.
Also, Mars asked for the house lights on the crowd so he could at least see them. We responded kindly with all arms in the air. It was easily the least thrilling Phoenix show I’ve seen, but was still one of my favorite sets of the festival. That’s saying something.