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Liz Phair concert review (from Billboard)

Old 08-13-03, 07:46 PM
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Liz Phair concert review (from Billboard)

Liz Phair / Aug. 10, 2003 / New York (Bowery Ballroom



It's been an odd couple of months for Liz Phair. Since her 1993 debut, "Exile in Guyville," she has long held a special place in the rock world as a darling of the critics and a deified cult favorite. Nonetheless, most of middle America just didn't get her raunchy, gritty, introspective brand of hell-on-heals music, and her album sales proved it.

So, with the recent release of her new self-titled Capitol album, Phair has now unapologetically admitted her desire to convert the masses, and confided her willingness to hire the glossy, teen-pop production team the Matrix (Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears) to help make that dream happen. For that crime, critics the industry-over have been wagging their fingers in her direction, saying in so many words: "Shame on you, Liz Phair, for selling your soul to the mindless pop machine."

Perhaps with those critics in mind, Phair's 16-song set on Aug. 10 at New York's Bowery Ballroom contained only five new songs and consisted mostly of music from her three previous albums, "Exile," "Whip-Smart" and "Whitechocolatespaceegg." In any case, the audience didn't seem to mind. If the loud chorus of people who sang along to almost every song was anything to go by, this was not a room full of newbies. It was a packed house of hardcore fans -- ready to eat Phair up any way she was served.

From the moment Phair walked across the stage, it was evident she intended to put on a show so dirrty that it could make even Christina Aguilera blush. And she did -- but without a single gyration of the hips or lick of the lips. Phair was decked out in a black dress that sported not only a belly-button exposing V-neck, but a sheer mesh skirt that proved more of a display case for her black underwear than a garment. She launched immediately into "6'1'" and seductively played her electric guitar and wailed her way through the song like the rocker-grrl her longtime fans have come to love.

After flirting the crowd through three more songs -- the cynical "Polyester Bride," the sexy "Rock Me" and the defiant "Never Said" -- she reflected on her musical beginnings in New York and told the crowd that she often used to come to the Bowery to watch other bands play. "It's weird," she gushed. "It's really wild. It's like coming full circle."

Maybe in tribute to those beginnings or out of a sense of nostalgia, she slammed out three more songs in a row from her first album: "Glory," an homage to oral sex, "Help Me, Mary," a hotheaded hymn, and "Divorce Song," an obvious crowd favorite. Glowing from all the adulation, Phair gave the crowd some biographical info in the guise of a little comic fare: "It freaks me out that I wrote a song about having a son before I had a son, and a song about getting a divorce before I had a divorce. I'm going to write a song about winning the lottery, tomorrow."

For the rest of the set, she looked like she'd already won. Phair couldn't stop grinning and told the crowd they'd have a hard time getting her off the stage that night. Only further encouraged by this statement, the crowd bounced, shouted and sang along to songs new and old, particularly embracing her new single "Why Can't I?" and "Favorite," another tune from her new album.

Phair also pulled from her "large repertoire of dirty songs," time and time again, and it was "Flower," perhaps her most sexually graphic song, that proved the night's crowning moment. Phair pulled a woman from the crowd to provide back-up vocals to the melodic, spare ditty. For a couple of minutes, it was as if Phair and the fan were the only people in the room and that the audience was a voyeur peeping in on an intimate moment it was not meant to see.

While it was obvious to anyone at this point that the crowd had brushed Phair's critics' complaints aside, the songstress showed she had not forgotten the barbs. Before beginning the second-last song of the set, "Extraordinary," she said, "Much to the chagrin of some of my reviewers, I consider this my modern '6'1"."

As if to further prove its undying love and dismissal of her critics, the crowd coaxed her into what was a four-song encore, climaxing with "***** and Run." It was a request the audience had been clamoring for all night and one that Phair seemed happy to satisfy.
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Old 08-13-03, 08:57 PM
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Pics?
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Old 08-13-03, 10:21 PM
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Originally posted by evenflowddt
Pics?
Perv! Actually, there is only one promotional picture above the review on Billboard.com. I think it's great, and maybe smart (no pun), that Liz covered a lot of her older material. And *maybe* given her latest album's mixed reaction (both with the critics/fans/sales), she'll take a few steps back. And learn from this. I said this a few times before, lyrically, her latest is pretty much the same ol' Liz. Save for the underwear song. Although I think that shouldn't be taken all that seriously. It's just that production wise it sounds like a whole new Liz. And I think that the review above confirms her hard core fans love her regardless.
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Old 08-14-03, 01:33 AM
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Originally posted by evenflowddt
Pics?
My pix from the Liz Phair concert
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Old 08-14-03, 01:39 AM
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Originally posted by Buford T Pusser
My pix from the Liz Phair concert
I've seen those.

I wanna see this:

"Phair was decked out in a black dress that sported not only a belly-button exposing V-neck, but a sheer mesh skirt that proved more of a display case for her black underwear than a garment. "
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Old 08-14-03, 01:58 AM
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Originally posted by evenflowddt
I've seen those.

I wanna see this:

"Phair was decked out in a black dress that sported not only a belly-button exposing V-neck, but a sheer mesh skirt that proved more of a display case for her black underwear than a garment. "


could anything live up to the description?
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Old 08-14-03, 11:11 AM
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There is a not so good review of her 08/12 show in Philadelphia in today's Phildaelphia Inquirer. I did not see the show, so I cannot comment on the review's accuracy. Here's the relevant portion:

Phair came on first, coyly trafficking in innuendo. "Ooh, this water bottle is so big!" she cooed. "I wonder what they were thinking." Immobile at the microphone, Phair is hardly a dynamic performer, though she's far better now than in her stage-fright days a decade ago.

Guyville is the classic example of an artist's early work that ardent fans can't get over. Liz Phair has been received as a betrayal, a sellout in which frank sexuality has given way to tawdry courtship of the mainstream, and Avril Lavigne's song doctors have been called in to (unsuccessfully) manufacture hits.

That's unfair, because Liz Phair doesn't stink: It's just a mediocre guitar-pop album with no real identity.

At the Factory, Phair demonstrated what a savvy songwriter she can be on oldies such as "Divorce Song" and "Supernova," and the new boy-toy ode "Rock Me." But her band gave even the Guyville songs a generic sheen, and once-shocking grabbers such as "Flower" came across as the titillating acts of a careerist.
Here's the whole thing if'n you care.
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Old 08-14-03, 12:53 PM
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At this point, I'm beginning to think Liz Phair has the highest "threads devoted to to records sold" ratio in the history of DVD Talk's Music Talk board:

New Liz Phair : SMOKIN! (Started by Daytripper)
Bigger Sellout - Jewel or Liz Phair??? (Started by cungar)
New Liz Phair EP on her official website (which should please her old fans) (Started by Daytripper)
Liz Phair attempt at sales fails (Started by cungar)
My pix from the Liz Phair concert (Started by Buford T Pusser)
Liz Phair concert review (from Billboard) (Started by Daytripper)

Anyone see a pattern here?

But, moving on. . . I saw her two months ago when she opened for the Lips. Personally, I enjoyed her five-or-six song acoustic set, but probably mainly because I've been a die-hard fan of hers for almost ten years, and that was the first time I'd ever seen her live. The rest of the crowd was. . . less than enthusiastic, and I later saw her set described as "dull" and "flat". Now, that may have been, but I didn't care, because I was glad that I could finally take her off my "must see" list.

Oh, and she definitely was playing up the "cocktease/sex kitten" angle quite a bit in OKC, too. Speaking of which, where's those pics?
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Old 08-14-03, 02:07 PM
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Originally posted by Virex
At this point, I'm beginning to think Liz Phair has the highest "threads devoted to to records sold" ratio in the history of DVD Talk's Music Talk board:

New Liz Phair : SMOKIN! (Started by Daytripper)
Bigger Sellout - Jewel or Liz Phair??? (Started by cungar)
New Liz Phair EP on her official website (which should please her old fans) (Started by Daytripper)
Liz Phair attempt at sales fails (Started by cungar)
My pix from the Liz Phair concert (Started by Buford T Pusser)
Liz Phair concert review (from Billboard) (Started by Daytripper)

Anyone see a pattern here?
Um, no. And unless I'm reading you wrong, only one of these threads is devoted to actual record sales.
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Old 08-14-03, 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by Daytripper
Um, no.
So you don't see the "She's great!/She sucks./She's great!/She sucks./She's great!" pattern? Call me crazy. . .

And unless I'm reading you wrong, only one of these threads is devoted to actual record sales.
No, what I'm saying is, for an artist who really doesn't sell all that many records, comparatively speaking, she sure has a lot of threads started about her here at Music Talk. That's all.

Just a couple of observations.
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Old 08-14-03, 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by Virex
So you don't see the "She's great!/She sucks./She's great!/She sucks./She's great!" pattern? Call me crazy. . .



No, what I'm saying is, for an artist who really doesn't sell all that many records, comparatively speaking, she sure has a lot of threads started about her here at Music Talk. That's all.

Just a couple of observations.
OK, now I understand what you were trying to say. Well, if it's patterns you want, you forgot one very important piece that's missing. And although I agree, I never started such a thread:

She's great!/She sucks/She's hot!./She's great!/She sucks/She's hot!......
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Old 08-14-03, 04:19 PM
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I can't believe that both Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair will be playing in Indianapolis next month.
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Old 08-14-03, 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by AndyCapps
I can't believe that both Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair will be playing in Indianapolis next month.
The scenario for an ultimate threesome, followed by a very stringent and disciplined recording session with experienced producers.
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Old 08-15-03, 11:32 AM
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There's a really good article on Liz in today's Washington Post (she's in town this weekend). First time I've seen her *really* address the critics and backlash.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Aug14.html
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Old 08-15-03, 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by Daytripper
There's a really good article on Liz in today's Washington Post (she's in town this weekend). First time I've seen her *really* address the critics and backlash.
That is a good article. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 08-15-03, 03:10 PM
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She talked about the album here too (after Derogatis' review)

http://www.suntimes.com/output/derog...y-phair22.html
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Old 08-17-03, 10:23 PM
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Originally posted by AndyCapps
I can't believe that both Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair will be playing in Indianapolis next month.
I met Julianna awhile back and came away less enamored of her. She was kinda a downer and not looking too good. Maybe she was having some issues.
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Old 08-18-03, 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by Buford T Pusser
I met Julianna awhile back and came away less enamored of her. She was kinda a downer and not looking too good. Maybe she was having some issues.
I used to be a big fan and I still love her voice, but has anyone EVER seen her smile? I don't think she's ever seemed happy about anything. That worked for me in the early 90's, but not anymore.
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Old 08-19-03, 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by dolphinboy
I used to be a big fan and I still love her voice, but has anyone EVER seen her smile? I don't think she's ever seemed happy about anything. That worked for me in the early 90's, but not anymore.
I saw Juliana open for Aimee Mann last year. At one point of her (short) acoustic set she said something like "Believe it or not, I'm not an unhappy person". I can't remember why she said it. But it was kind of cute. As was she. Plus she's a lot smaller than I imagined.
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