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The Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Adventure

Brandy Cerne and Tashi Spragin | Thursday, December 10, 2009

On a regular Tuesday afternoon, the week before finals, we hopped into our car and drove three and a half hours to Pontiac, Mich., to watch a Phoenix concert. The French electro-rock band is on their U.S. tour, and our plan was to leave Notre Dame at 2 p.m., watch the concert and be back before parietals. Yet after a long drive on Michigan’s road kill infested highways, we arrived at the Clutch Cargos, a church-turned-concert venue, only to wait another two hours for them to actually start playing.
Due to the late start, we left later than expected and were hit with a snow storm. Also, because so many people were smoking at the concert, one of us (the only one with a driver’s license) got an irritated eye and couldn’t see properly, making it impossible to drive. A Holiday Inn Express shown like a beacon of hope in the dark snowy night. We had to drive back in the morning, and go straight to our 10:40 a.m. class with last night’s clothes.
In the end, was it worth it? Absolutely.
Phoenix put on such a high energy show that the crowd never took a break from dancing. The band played almost all their songs from their newest album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” as well as all their older fan favorites. Lead singer (and Sofia Coppola paramour) Thomas Mars seemingly did not stop to take a breath. The only times he did pause, it was to express his strong gratitude to the crowd.
Opening with one of their most popular songs, “Lisztomania,” Phoenix continued to play another two songs before even addressing the crowd, leading to the show’s fast paced momentum which fed the audience with their energy. This kept the crowd moving, singing and dancing the entire time. One girl even tried to crowd surf but failed horribly as she immediately fell and knocked one of us down.
One of their best performances, “Lasso,” came early — although all of them were incredible. Mars walked up to the audience and sang straight into the front row, which only further excited the crowd. From afar, all we could see were people’s hands touching his face and ruffling his hair. The band did an outstanding job at making their live music sound even better than on the record, largely due to the combination of their talent with their spirited performance.
After singing “Rally,” “Fences” and “Long Distance Call,” Phoenix slowed the pace down with “Love Like a Sunset,” a largely instrumental track allowing for everyone to appreciate their all around talent (and for the couples to dance closer together). Another notable performance, “Napoleon Says,” captured more excitement than when recorded, giving this older song new vigor.
Before we even knew it, Phoenix was announcing their last song, “Rome.” Yet, moments after exiting the stage they returned for a four song encore. They played an acoustic version of “Everything is Everything,” a beautifully preformed cover of the Virgin Suicides soundtrack, “Playground Love” by Air, and “If I Ever Feel Better.” Phoenix ended on a high point with their current hit, “1901,” making the crowd jump even higher and sing even louder than they had been before. As if we weren’t all going crazy for the band already, Mars also walked amongst the crowd from the end of the room and back, saying thank you the entire time.
Phoenix made our trip so worthwhile that the whole hassle of getting there and back only added to the excitement of our adventure. Definitely take the time to listen to their music. In short, they’re awesome.