TVD Live Shots: Phoenix with Giorgio Poi at the Fonda Theatre, 9/10

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | On the third night of a five-night sold out show at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, for a Phoenix fan, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. The Fonda, a small and intimate 1920s art deco theater in the heart of Hollywood, offers a proximity to performers that other venues just can’t beat. Phoenix’s fans soaked up every minute of the bands electric energy, as a lite brite heart with the words “Phoenix Ti Amo” inscribed in the center pulsated in flashing colors.

Before the show started, fans were welcome to hang out on the terrace and enjoy classic Italian cocktails: Negroni and Campari and Soda, along with a local pizza and gelato station, a welcomed and cool departure from the usual concession stands.

Giorgio Poi, the opener hailing from Italy, stunned the crowd with a flute solo during a dark melodic instrumental session that was soul evoking. As the crowd awaited the change of stage, a light guided our direction to the right side of the wall, where a pretty woman in a men’s tuxedo attire welcomed Phoenix to the stage in Italian.

“J-Boy,” from Ti Amo was the opening song bringing in bright lights, deep base lines, and their familiar electro pop feeling. The first half of the show brought the audience to their feet as favorites like “Lasso,” “Entertainment,” and “Lisztomania” came right after another. In, all they played 20 songs, combining a couple of songs together: “Too Young”/ “Girlfriend” and went back to basics “If I Ever Feel Better”/ “Funky Squaredance” from their earlier albums Alphabetical (2004) and United (2000). In the middle, a version of “Sunskrupt!,” which is a combination of “Love Like a Sunset Part I & Part II,” that was just spectacular. There was something for everyone at this show.

No matter how loud you blast their music, Phoenix is one of those bands whose brilliance and creativity can never fully be appreciated unless you see them perform. The clarity of Thomas Mars’ voice and the execution of their live music is unparalleled. There is a reason why these understated guys known for being on the uplifting side of rock have had the longevity and success that they are now known for. And after this show, it doesn’t seem like their fervor is diminishing anytime soon.

The end of the show wound down with Mars crowd surfing a couple of times and coming out to sing “Telephono” from an actual telephone booth installed on the main floor as the start of the encore. It’s rare to see a lead singer so generous with his/her space when it comes their fans. The crowd just couldn’t enough of these intimate theatrics. They finished the show with their long-awaited “1901” followed by “Ti Amo,” their latest album’s namesake. As the guitars riffs of “Ti Amo” sexily banged on, there was that lingering feeling of any awesome show that you never want to end because it took you to another place because it was just so damn fun.

GIORGIO POI

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