Live Review: Phoenix

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Phoenix

Road Runner Mobile Amphitheatre

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Deal: Grammy Award-winning French band makes a pit stop in Charlotte for a set before Bonnaroo.

The Good: There's a lot to be said about a band that not only reproduces its album sound live but also enhances it, and Phoenix is a band you have to see live. While the bulk of the show was good with extremely crisp execution from the band, who at times seemed robotically into hitting every note just so, it was the last chapter of this show that was the story here.

Lead singer Thomas Mars literally created a moment putting together what had to be Road Runner Mobile Ampitheatre's (formerly Uptown Ampitheatre) first legendary encore that anyone who stuck around for will never forget. After covering Air's "Playground Love," the band went into their hit song, "1901" — that's when Mars took his corded mic, hopped off stage and proceeded to walk all the way out to the edge of the lawn, as audience members spilled out into the aisles to follow him and hundreds of feet of cable dangled behind him. He thanked the crowd sincerely then started singing again as he worked his way back to the stage by climbing over seats, hands and people before ending the show with a senior picturesque sea of humanity on stage to join him. Who cares if he's done it in other cities, it was a special.

Drunmer Thomas Hedlund (who actually isn't in the band) was great. "Borrowed" from his Swedish band, The Perishers, you'd never know he wasn't in the band from the way he went ape shit on the drums and sang along at the top of his lungs without a mic.

The Bad: Mars apologized for his voice early in the show, and you couldn't really notice then but as it went on you could tell he wasn't in tip-top singing shape, at some points being a low mumble or completely indecipherable. For those getting progressively drunker off the Bud Light tallboys, the lights were more blinding than cool.

The crowd was so unexpected. The sexting teenage girls and hipster emo chicks was standard but the flip-flop, backwards hat frat guys and middle aged couples all singing along was trippy, and at times the cross-section of people clashed in distracting ways (little girls hate when frat guys scream, play "Firebird" while their lusting for Thomas Mars).

Personally wanted to hear, "Napoleon Says" but they stuck with newer material.

The Verdict: Great show. Sure, a lot of the songs sound alike but at least they sounded good playing them. Mars  made sure that every fan left with their monies worth, and at the end of the day, his voice not being 100 percent wasn't a major issue. Nice tune-up for Bonnaroo and hopefully the first of many annual visits to Charlotte.

Setlist:

Lisztomania

Long Distance Call

Lasso

Consolation Prize

Fences

Girlfriend

Fallin

Love Like A Sunset

If I Ever Feel Better

Run, Run, Run

Rally

Countdown (Sick For The Big Sun)

Funky Square Dance

Everything Means Everything*

Playground Love (Cover)*

1901*

* - encore


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