emembering what happened on the night of January 21 is the kind of hangover all music fans want to freeze in time and never forget. A day after their monumental show at the World Trade Center, French indie wonder Phoenix, posted a photo in their Facebook page with the caption “Maraming Salamat Manila!” showing a glimpse of the near-thousand attendees going bonkers over the show-ender spectacle.
Now, to feed the post-concert high, we list the 8 best moments of Phoenix’s concert in Manila.
During the band’s press conference, vocalist Thomas Mars revealed that his wife, Sophia Coppola, briefly visited the Philippines when her dad, Francis Ford Coppola, was shooting “Apocalypse Now.” Mars added Sophia knows the National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” and speaks a little Filipino. Also, hours before they hit WTC, the band visited Intramuros and got a little taste of our culture and heritage. Impressionnant!
Endless lines of diverse, well dressed, neo-hippies filled every space toward the gates of the venue. By the time the show started, the entire floor area of the World Trade Center was packed. It’s not an exaggeration to say that among all concerts held at the WTC, those who went and saw Phoenix came at the biggest volume.
Fans ranging from age 14 to (possibly) 45 were there, all coming together for a blissful live experience. Though coming from different cliques and beliefs, it felt like everyone agreed on something for the entire night. “Trying to be Cool” was definitely the motto of everyone who attended, though they didn’t have to. Just listening to Phoenix makes someone instantly cool.
Everyone who attended the show escaped their normal lives for a while and entered a vortex filled with Phoenix songs and dancing. Who wouldn’t wiggle to a live, larger-than-life version of “Lisztomania?” Aside from wanting to hear how the band sounded live, people paid to be there to pump their fists, jump, skip, and sway their hips all night.
Having someone spill their drink on your outfit because of an overabundance of skittering and bopping was a normal occurrence that night. And no “bar-dancing” can ever compare to how Phoenix managed to make that happy swarm of people dance.
Phoenix is well known for their live shows and dazzling visual accompaniment. The stage, equipped with a white backdrop, was the blank slate for many trippy images that morphed differently according to the melodies. It showed an orange sky behind a purple mountain, an art deco-inspired coliseum (or maybe a cathedral), neon colors, a winding road, and light tunnels that induced a natural LSD-like high.
For a moment, the fans felt like they were inside 1901’s music video with the vertical black and white strobes. The lights swayed from side-to-side, oscillating in a pulsating manner that made it seem like someone or something is going to be resurrected. Well, all the attendees died and went to music heaven thanks to the visual buffet.
The band went through 19 gems from their entire discography, opening the show and ending it with the most danceable hit in Bankrupt!, “Entertainment.” Familiar stunner, “Too Young” was stitched with “Girlfriend,” two of the band’s most popular tracks. A drum beat-heavy version of “Run Run Run” was played, followed by a medley of songs from their latest album—“Trying to Be Cool,” “Drakkar Noir,” and “Chloroform,”—followed by “The Real Thing.”
Of course, songs from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix were gloriously presented. To bring back the (g)olden days of their debut, they gave the crowd “If I Ever Feel Better” during the three-song encore between “Countdown” and “Rome. “
It’s a usual for visiting acts to ask the crowd how they’re doing and proclaim that they’re “happy to be here.” Being the French sweethearts that they are, the vocalist spoke to the frenzied crowd a couple of times, even asking “do you want more?” about four times during the final stretch of the show just when everybody thought the night was ending. As a result, the band gave us a satisfying encore, complete with couple of surprises that included…
When the band played an extended instrumental version of “Entertainment,” the vocalist walked towards the sound box situated at the farthest area from the stage. He then climbed, and gave those at the back a chance to see and celebrate that surreal moment up-close. It was like finally getting a great view of a museum attraction that everyone traveled far to see.
In other words, Mars gave those who only paid for gold tickets a surprising VIP experience. As if that wasn’t enough, the final sound escalation of the instruments was made even more startling by an unexpected…
The night was filled with musical dreams coming true, and the confetti was the perfect ending to a whimsical, astounding live experience. It was like a marriage of two things that our country would never dream of having: snow and witnessing Phoenix live.
Did you watch Phoenix in Manila? How’s your heart? Share your feels/highlights in the Comments Section.