By Emily C. Pfeffer
Last Sunday, French alternative rock group, Phoenix, rocked house at Cornell University’s Barton Hall as Ithaca College students returned from fall break.
Knowing people who have seen the band live before, I was pretty much guaranteed a good time if they performed with their light show. Also, having seen videos online of them live before, I had high expectations.
Being a Phoenix fanatic, looking up the opening act seemed to slip my mind as I alternatively checked out the 17-song long set-list before the show. You can imagine that I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was Jenny Lewis and her boyfriend, Johnny, setting up the crowd for an awesome night. Their bass was deep and easy to dance to; their jargon was silly and fun, all making for a lighthearted start to the evening.
While Jenny and Johnny’s bass may have controlled my heartbeat, Phoenix’s made my bones shake. As soon as they opened with “Liztomania,” my ears rang and my eyes rattled, but it didn’t matter as the crowd and I continued to shout the lyrics and bop to the beat. The whole venue seemed to shake as I thanked the heavens I wasn’t epileptic.
The lights were unbelievable to say the least, perfectly in sync and flashing with the music; transition wise, and color wise. They went in all directions, forming fences during “Fences” and sunsets during “Love Like a Sunset”(which was played in all three parts, starting at part III)!
In the middle of the show, a large white curtain was dropped down in front of the stage as tiny green lights, as well as a rainbow of pigment colored the screen. After watching the lights move to the music for a few minutes, the curtain fell to the ground and Girlfriend began to become the tune to which the building shook and the blood pumped.
I’m happy to report that the audience seemed to have very high energy throughout the entire performance, but towards the end I could tell everyone was getting anxious for “1901”. When it finally came at the end of the four-song encore, Phoenix wonderfully played the shit out of it. Halfway through the 10-minute rendition, lead singer Thomas Mars passed himself around the crowd, as lead guitarist Christian Mazzalai stepped on the speaker in front of me and continued to play.
Phoenix sure are crowd pleasers, from the music and lights to the crowd surfing and curtains, they really know how to put on a kick-ass show. I would see them again any day. Well they are playing tonight at Madison Square Garden, (with Wavves and The Dirty Projectors)… hmm.