Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
October 2, 2013
Concert Review: Phoenix at Barclays Center
It was with tremendous anticipation that we headed out to the Barclays Center on Wednesday night. The progression of the band Phoenix has risen like their namesake in a seemingly short amount of time. But on the heels of their fifth studio release, April’s “Bankrupt,” a sold out Brooklyn arena was the next logical progression for the French band, whose penchant for entertaining performances amid centerstage theatrics was on full display on this night. And with a catalog mix of alt-indie-pop tracks to choose from, the band’s setlist rounded perfectly into form in front of 17,000 screaming fans.
Phoenix’ reputation is built on relentless touring and as such the band catapulted into mainstream phenomena with the release of 2004′s “Alphabetical,” but subsequently with a tour spanning more than 140 dates that followed. If their previous effort put them on the map, 2009′s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” gave the band its own continent with singles like “1901,”Lasso” and “Lisztomania” being particularly strong showings for the band, and finding rewards as the album reached Platinum status.
Wednesday night with help from British openers The Vaccines, the Barclays Center was a frenzied buzz all night long. The band took the stage in front of two massive screens on opposite sides as a backdrop, sandwiching an ornate video board providing of visual stimuli behind them. Frontman Thomas Mars wasted nary a moment before leading the band into opener “Entertainment,” which coincidentally would also be touched upon as the show’s closer. Performing almost the entirety of their most recent, and admittedly more experimental effort, songs like “S.O.S. in Bel-Air” and “Chloroform” were particularly noteworthy. The band hit some of their previous hits earlier in the set, leading into “Fences,” an inspired version of “Rally,” and “The Real Thing,” which the crowd popped for almost immediately.
Closing the main set with “1901″ was an expected but still most effective touch, as Phoenix encored two separate times alternating between inviting their legion of fans to swarm and jump from the stage into the crowd of general admission attendees (which Mars himself followed suit) and exploding a cannon of confetti that rained down upon the sea of flesh in the audience. Regardless of how quickly it seemed that their ascension came, Phoenix’ live performance and elaborate stage show proved that they belong among music’s elite touring acts and one that the borough of Brooklyn welcomed warmly to town.
- Jane Van Arsdale