On June 15, Phoenix played to over 12,000 people at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, alongside supporting acts, Mac DeMarco and The Lemon Twigs.
The French group entered in complete darkness, a single neon heart illuminating the stage – anticipation rose and all of us in the crowd were restless, eager to hear what song they would start the set with.
Thomas Mars, lead singer of Phoenix, kicked the night off with title track “Ti Amo,” from newly released album, Ti Amo. As their sixth studio-length LP, Phoenix has not lost their way in synthetic pop energy. Ti Amo has that electronic dance essence, and it was very evident throughout the night.
With the release of Ti Amo, I expected their performance to consist mainly of new tracks; however, Phoenix surprised us by performing several songs spanning over the duration of their successful 17-year long career. Phoenix delivered several oldies off album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, such as “Lasso” and “Lisztomania,” letting listeners know that they’ve still got it.
A sense of nostalgia filled the warm Summer air when they pulled out song, “If I Ever Feel Better” off 2000 debut album, United. There’s a certain way Phoenix’s music can automatically bring you back to any time or place where you first heard one of their songs. Whether it be in the vocal range of Mars, the way the synth perfectly aligns with vocals, or in the mere chord progression of the guitar, there were memories associated with several of their songs that truly made for a intimate experience.
With a technical and satisfactory performance, each member of Phoenix showed the mastery of their craft. Playing so smoothly and comfortably, the stage was their home. Phoenix’s visual set up is among the most incredible I’ve ever seen: an L.E.D. platform is their stage, while a mirror is hung directly above it, angled so the crowd has an aerial view of the band.
The floor at times would light up with scenic views of a sunset or waterfall, then change to an image of clouds and starry galaxies that formed constellations. Enamored by the mirror, we could see everything, not only from the front, but from above. The band was, at times, silhouetted against the background, making for a visually interactive experience for the thousands of concert-goers.
Phoenix was welcoming and loving towards fans. The night concluded with a four-song encore of “Countdown,” “Fior di Latte,” “1901,” and “Ti Amo Di Piu.” Mars went out with a bang, emerging from the stage to go hundreds of feet back into the crowd of the Hollywood Bowl, requiring a large enough cable to keep his mic in check.
Though the audience was full of thousands of strangers, we weren’t shy to Phoenix. Coming together in camaraderie, we belted out lyrics along with Mars to songs like “1901” and “Girlfriend.” The band concluded this memorable night with a blown kiss goodbye.
Phoenix will continue their Ti Amo tour throughout the Fall, concluding in Mexico City in November. For more details, visit their website here.
Opening for Phoenix, The Lemon Twigs were boisterous and vibrant, taking the stage by storm. Songs off their debut album, Do Hollywood held over well with the crowd, favorites including “These Words,” and a cover of Ronnie Wood’s “I Can Feel The Fire,” where they brought out touring Phoenix drummer, Thomas Hedlund.
Teen brothers, Brian and Michael D’Addario, showed immense skill in their craft with the interchanging of instruments throughout their performance, each with their own intense guitar solos. Danny Ayala on keys and a stoic Megan Zeankowski on bass tie this young band together.
There was a fire in their performance, their bell-bottoms, and in little brother Michael’s insane high kicks and jumps.
“This next song is a love song,” said DeMarco, singing off album Another One, “No Other Heart.”
There was a childlike persona to DeMarco and his band that made for an eye-catching show. Audience attention was focused on the band’s loose and playful performance, with DeMarco at times making bird noises or hitting himself in the head with his mic, or with guitarist Andy White even telling jokes.
Closing with “Chamber of Reflection” off album Salad Days, Mac DeMarco and co. presented themselves as humbled and skilled musicians.