Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Phoenix Flew High at The Pageant Thursday

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

 

–by Laura Tucker

Pop band Phoenix was in town Thursday night and played to a large crowd at The Pageant.

Warming up the stage for Phoenix was Porches. He was center stage in an eye-catching yellow shirt and sang with no inhibition. His style is a bit more wild and his sound, heavier, yet somehow melodic with his soprano vocals.

Porches performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

You know the phrase “If you’re on time, you’re late”. Both sets started 10 minutes early. I guess they couldn’t wait to entertain us. Fans were trickling in at 7:50 but he came out and brought the energy to the next level in preparation for the main performance.

Porches performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

The strobe lights from the side of the stage were intense and it was a relief to see them toned down for the next set.

Porches performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

At 8:50, the moment was here. The venue was packed and everyone was in place as the band from Versailles, France made their way back to the US and back to the Pageant. Touring in support of their latest album Alpha Zulu. This is the band’s seventh release since their inception. They have built a strong fan base here and were shown some serious American love on Thursday.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

They started with their uber-popular song, “Lisztomania”, from the Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album that won them a Grammy in 2009. I truly appreciate a set that starts with a fan favorite and gets the night off on the right foot. The audience clearly shares my point of view, and they were excited from the first note.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

The Pageant was filled with a mostly college-aged crowd but there was a really wide age range of music lovers in attendance. To call these guys Indie rock doesn’t really put the right label on them. It’s a techno, synthesized, French-Indie pop-rock style. It’s upbeat and danceable music with meaning. Lead singer Thomas Mars, who is incidentally married to filmmaker, Sophia Coppola, has a voice that is beyond unique and drives the sound, but the rest of the band brings it all together. They are all incredibly talented musicians. Laurent Brancowitz (Branco) plays guitar and keys/synthesizer, Deck d’Arcy (bass/keyboards/backing vocals), Christian Mazzalai on lead guitar and vocals, and oddly enough, there is not a drummer who is an original member but Thomas Hedlund has toured with them since 2008, and he was amazing.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

The show is a sophisticated experience for the senses. It’s more than just the music. The lights are almost always strobing while the screen behind them displays beautiful art, simulated lightning. moving geometric patterns and changing colors. There were some really cool moments throughout the night. During Love Like a Sunset, Part 1” a scene started with a guy laying on a picnic blanket in a park (in Chicago) and incrementally zoomed all the way out to outer space then zoomed all the way back and into his hand and deep into his cells, pairing it perfectly with this instrumental number.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

During the show they played songs both old and new and received enthusiastic feedback for all. They also flashed their larger-than-life, rainbow logo on the screen just past the half point of the set. It’s kind of like their bat-signal; and I for one, was looking forward to it.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

The song ”If I Ever Feel Better was another one of those moments. The song starts with a rap-like beat and tongue-twisting vocals and ends with Christian Mazzalai just ripping on guitar. Like, full on, rock show, serious guitar shredding.  We had no choice but to respond with a standing ovation. They left the stage for a brief break, and we kept it up while waiting for the encore.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

They also went wild when Mars did a bit of crowd-surfing during the last song “1901”. As if singing along and jumping up and down wasn’t fun enough, they got a special treat when he went out into the audience to walk around and high five the elated concert goers. So, what’s a pumped-up group of fans to do but lift him into the air. He actually signed someone’s book while atop the pile of fans.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

He made a comment that touring in America was like the part of Forrest Gump when he is running and picks up people along the way because here, fans follow them from city to city. He recognized one fan said the guy needed a new Phoenix t-shirt because his was worn out so he sent him to the sound board after the show to get a new one for free.

Phoenix performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis. Photo by Laura Tucker/ Laura Tucker Photography.

These guys are stylish, creative, professional and extremely talented musicians.  I have just one word for the performance of the Alpha Zulu tour… BRAVO!

 

Phoenix Setlist:

Lisztomania

Entertainment

Lasso

Too Young

Girlfriend

J-Boy

Alpha Zulu

Ti Amo

After Midnight (Live debut)

Armistice

Love Like a Sunset Part 1

Tonight

Rome

Winter Solstice

Identical

If I Ever Feel Better/Funky Squaredance

Encore:

Telefono/Fior di latte

Trying to Be Cool/ Drrakkar Noir

1901

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