Phoenix at the Fillmore

Published on May 10th, 2017

Phoenix at the Fillmore

 

Credit SandraSonik | Click to Enlarge

Phoenix live in Miami Beach, Fillmore, May 12, 2017

They did it. Phoenix topped their last performance at the Fillmore Miami Beach, at the premiere of their new world tour for their sixth album Ti Amo (due June 9). This writer personally thought that the French indie pop rock outfit had an uphill battle to face in one-upping their last appearance at the venue nearly seven years ago(!). Two albums later (including the one yet to be released), and they can still make an intimate theater feel like a giant stadium.

Credit SandraSonik| Click to Enlarge

Last time, they projected giant shadows of themselves on a screen over the stage during an epic version of “Love Like a Sunset” (now known as “Sunskrupt!”) and even sat on the barriers at the edge of the stage to get as close as possible to the crowd for a couple of more mellow tunes. Then they ended the night with singer Thomas Mars pulling up as many audience members from the pit as possible to dance on stage with him.

Credit SandraSonik| Click to Enlarge

These were grand, sweet gestures to connect with the audience beyond Mars’ usual crowd surfing. Still, there were limitations to these approaches, as they failed to include the entire audience at any one time, whether you were right up close or all the way at the back of the top balcony. This time, however, a lighted floor on stage projected an array of complicated animated images on a series of smartly arranged, giant mirrors behind and above the band. The mirrors also gave the audience a full overhead view of their duo of touring members, Robin Coudert on keyboards and percussion, and the muscular drummer Thomas Hedlund, who pummeled the hell out of the songs’ particularly bass-heavy rhythms throughout the night.

New songs like “Ti Amo,” which kicked off the set, “Ti Amo Di Piu,” which closed it, and the new single “J-Boy,” hint that the new album may actually groove harder than any Phoenix record before it. In a live setting, the songs were strong, especially the busy layers of electronics in “J-Boy.” Mars also sang stronger than the kind-of-rap he pulls on the single. The more spare “Lovelife” was salvaged from banality by a recurring keyboard run by Laurent Brancowitz, who actually looked a bit grayer since we last had the band here. Finally, “Role Model” and “Fior di Latte,” were the last of the new tunes that were played last night. You can watch the latter song in its entirety in the video below.

It’s a well shot fan video from right up front that captures the great sound and the impactful visuals of the setup that night. Some animations were grander than others. “Entertainment” was the first song to feature a full on image: an animated waterfall. Though it made for a dramatic impact, it actually paled in dynamism compared to the patterns that made for the night’s trippier visuals, like Mars lying on the floor as black clouds crept up to envelop him as he awaited to sing the finale of “Sunskrupt!” or the prisms that burst into swipes of primary colors during the chorus of “J-Boy.”

Credit SandraSonik| Click to Enlarge

As stunning as the visuals were, it could never work without the musicianship, and of course these men, now together for just over two decades, can still deliver. Christian Mazzalai wields his guitar like a contortionist firing off lazer gun melodies with sweet precision and Deck d’Arcy slips between the role of keyboardist and bassist with stealthy grace. The show felt short, but at least “1901” made for a triumphant encore, capped off with another new song, “Ti Amo Di Piu,” during which Mars, surfed the crowd all the way to the soundboard and back while still on a microphone. After all this time, Phoenix has not let up on the energy and continue to perfect their live show, brewing up proper excitement for their soon-to-be-released sixth album.

~ Hans Morgenstern | The Independent Ethos (indieethos.com)

Credit Chris Delgado| Click to Enlarge

Setlist:
Ti Amo
Lasso
Entertainment
Girlfriend
Long Distance Call
J-Boy
S.O.S. in Bel Air
Trying to Be Cool
Lovelife
Role Model
Sunskrupt!
Lisztomania
Armistice
Rome
If I Ever Feel Better / Funky Squaredance

Encore:
Fior di Latte
1901
Ti Amo Di Piu

Credit Stefan B.| Click to Enlarge

Credit Stefan B.| Click to Enlarge

Photos by:
SandraSonik
Stefan B
Chris Delgado

Clip to Evernote