The Summer Odyssey Tour Review: Beck & Phoenix’s Electric L.A. Performance REVIEW: PHOENIX & BECK At The KIA Forum 8/7/23
LOS ANGELES, CA- Earlier this year, the renowned Beck and the captivating Phoenix unveiled a collaborative track, aptly named “Odyssey.” A seamless fusion of Beck’s signature art-pop panache and Phoenix’s new-wave rock essence, the song showcases a delightful vocal interplay between Beck and Phoenix’s lead, Thomas Mars, set against an effervescent groove.
Phoenix unveiled their seventh studio album, “Alpha Zulu,” in 2022 – marking their comeback after a five-year hiatus. Meanwhile, Beck graced fans with a slew of high-profile collaborations, including standout features on several Gorillaz tracks. He also surprised fans with an unexpected single, “Thinking About You.”
Given the rich tapestry of genres both Beck and Phoenix have traversed – encompassing rock, pop, electronic, and folk – their collaboration was almost serendipitous. Their illustrious careers in the music world suggest a likely overlap in fanbase, making this union one that would tantalize dedicated followers of both artists and likely draw in new aficionados. This synergy of styles was inevitably going to birth a harmonious masterpiece.
Complementing their collaborative spirit, Beck and Phoenix embarked on the “Summer Odyssey Tour,” gracing 20 cities across North America. Kicking off on August 1st in Seattle, the tour will culminate in Columbia, Maryland, on September 10th. We had the privilege of immersing ourselves in their electrifying performance at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum.
However, a concurrent event – Taylor Swift’s residency at the SoFi Stadium – threw a wrench in our plans. Traffic snarls meant we missed the opening acts, Jenny Lewis and Sir Chloe. It was a sore miss, especially since Sir Chloe was on my must-watch list.
When Phoenix finally lit up the stage, the audience was treated to an intoxicating blend of classics from their iconic album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” like “Lisztomania,” “Lasso,” and “1901.” They also regaled fans with tracks from “Alpha Zulu,” which echoes the pop-rock spirit of their previous monumental album.
As the first chords ripple through the venue, there’s a palpable sense of electricity in the air. This is Phoenix live, and it’s nothing short of a sonic revelation. The French quartet doesn’t just play music; they create a jubilant atmosphere that is infectious. Every concert feels like a celebration, a shared journey between the band and their audience.
Phoenix’s trademark blend of synth-driven melodies and sun-soaked rock takes on a new dimension when experienced firsthand. Frontman Thomas Mars, with his impassioned vocals and magnetic stage presence, seems to command the very energy of the room. Songs like “Lisztomania” and “1901” become anthems, anthems that every member of the audience feels a personal connection to. There’s a shared euphoria as every lyric is belted out in unison, every note resonates with shared memories.
The band’s meticulous craftsmanship in the studio is mirrored by their precision on stage, yet there’s an added rawness, a visceral quality to their live renditions that can’t be captured on record. The lights, the visuals, the very aura of the venue seem to synchronize perfectly with their setlist, creating a multisensory experience.
But what truly sets a Phoenix concert apart is its unpredictability. Perhaps Mars might leap into the crowd, as he did on this evening channeling Spider-Man, Mars navigated through the audience, scaling walls to greet fans in the balcony, before making a triumphant return to the stage. It’s this fusion of meticulous planning with spontaneous magic that makes every Phoenix show unique.
In essence, attending a Phoenix concert isn’t just about the music – it’s about the collective joy, the shared moments, and the memories that linger long after the final encore.
Beck’s performance was nothing short of electric. Opening with the robust “Devil’s Haircut,” he maintained that vivacity throughout. Anthems like “Mixed Business,” “The New Pollution,” “Loser,” “Exx Laws,” and “E-Pro” ensured fans were on their feet, dancing the night away.
Mid-performance, Beck took a moment to laud his band. Guitarist Jason Falkner, bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, drummer Joey Waronker, veteran keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., and percussionist Ian Longwell all played integral roles in recording his albums, guaranteeing the evening’s renditions were as authentic as possible.
The night reached its crescendo when Beck invited Phoenix back on stage. They belted out “Odyssey” before being joined by Sir Chloe and Jenny Lewis’s band for an exuberant finale with “Where It’s At,” complete with festive bouncing balls. It was a night for the books.
In the ever-evolving tapestry of modern music, a co-headlining concert featuring the enigmatic Beck alongside the electric sounds of Phoenix is be nothing short of a sonic pilgrimage. Beck, the chameleonic maestro, effortlessly glides between soulful acoustics and foot-stomping anthems, bringing with him a storied discography that defies easy categorization. Phoenix, with their impeccable French flair, effortlessly marries synth-driven beats with sun-kissed melodies, serving as a perfect counterpoint. This union is a symposium of musical evolution, a celebration of genre-blending at its finest. Audiences would be treated to a journey through decades of musical innovation, with two of the industry’s most revered acts joining forces, making it an unmissable event for any true aficionado. The air would be thick with anticipation, the energy palpable, and the memories made? Timeless.