Are Phoenix, an electronic pop group from France, the greatest rock band in America right now? This was the question that started buzzing in my mind as I walked out of the Hollywood Bowl last night, or rather danced out, with hundreds of other fans still humming and glowing from what was unquestionably one of the best shows I’ve seen in 2017. The band are touring behind their sixth, sun-kissed album, Ti Amo, out last Friday, and though I fell in love with the band back in 2009 along with the rest of the country, last night was my first time seeing them live. They blew me away.
Are Phoenix the best rock band in America right now? Maybe, on Thursday night at the Hollywood Bowl they were. Or at least the greatest band in LA; or at least the greatest band in the Hollywood Bowl, which was packed out with The Lemon Twigs and Mac DeMarco, both, as openers; or at least, the greatest band in the world to a girl sitting in Terrace 3, Row 1031, Seat 3.
A band is only as big as their biggest fan on that one definitive night, right? That was me last night, watching Phoenix perform songs off their brand new Ti Amo, along with many songs from all the albums before that, “Long Distance Call” off It’s Never Been Like That, and of course, “Lisztomania” off Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the album that made me fall in love with them in the first place.
First of all, the band performed with a huge sheet mirror angled just above them, so their every move was reflected back, in reverse, above them. A magnificent light show emanated around and across the stage all night, flipping from bright, white light to soft pastels, technicolor bursts, and rainbow-hued stripes. It too, was reflected back in this huge mirror. Overhead shots of a band are always the coolest f*cking thing, but usually you only get to see those later, via the work of a resourceful concert photographer. Instead, this view was also present the entire show, giving us shots of them dancing and jamming out upside down; at times it made it seem like two bands were onstage, and all throughout, Phoenix definitely had the energy of at least two, maybe three bands. They were rockstars, professionals, and it looked like they were having the time of their life, too.