About The Performance
Before Phoenix took the stage for their Live on Letterman webcast, no one knew exactly what to expect. It was just a week out from release day for Bankrupt! The album received rave reviews and charted at or near the top worldwide. The quality of their latest work (and the work that had preceded it) was never in question. However, in a pre-show interview, the band had told us that following the success of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and their live shows that it had become “hard to impress” themselves. They told us their main goal was to surprise and inspire each other, and when we pushed to find out what was in store for their coming tour, they only commented “it’s a surprise, even for us.”
What followed when the Frenchmen graced the stage would surely impress even the most jaded musician. No gimmicks, no tricks, simply a twelve song set of unrivaled musical artistry. From the moment the opening notes of “Entertainment” rang out, the crowd was on their feet and Twitter was set ablaze. The stage, flooded in red lights glowed with the pulsating energy that only Phoenix can bring.
Thomas counted out, “Un, Deux, Trois!” and Phoenix launched into “Lasso” with a punch-heavy two drummer set up pounding every beat home and across the globe. From there, they stayed with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to shake and swing the theater with “Lisztomania.” Though the track may be over four years old, and it has been played millions of times, it was as fresh as the first time you heard it. Phoenix didn’t hold back on the new material either. Following “Lisztomania,” the played several songs off Bankrupt!, all of which held their own next to the Parisian powerhouse’s biggest hits. “The Real Thing” sounded massive live, filling the entire theater with a fuzzed out sonic soundscape, while also remaining clear and focused.
“Trying to Be Cool” proved to be extremely powerful live, despite its overall laidback vibe. “Chloroform” literally shook the house with a hypnotic and driving low end hitting hard and smooth. “Don’t” swung out a pounding yet contemplative sound that just isn’t being done by anyone else.
Phoenix mixed the hits into the new material as well, sounding like the biggest rock and roll band to come out of Europe in decades as they hit “Armistice” and “1901” hard, and the audience screamed for more.
All in all, Phoenix proved to be one of the most unique and unparalleled shows in the series. No one else could have pulled off that performance. Phoenix stood alone in their rock and roll grandeur, both timeless and extremely in the here and now, creating the soundtrack that defines and pushed this very moment.