Date: 15th January 2014
Venue: The Star Theatre @ The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore
Promoter: Now/Live
Review by: Nate Eileen Tjoeng
Special Thanks: Dan, and the Now/Live team

Merci Beaucoup, Phoenix

Fans frenzied upon hearing the news that French indie rockers were landing in Singapore for the first time. A treat for the new year, the Grammy Award-winning band had their debut headlining concert on January 15 at The Star Theatre.

The Star Theatre is a huge auditorium and it was an amazing sight to see that Phoenix fans filled up the lower tiers of hall. Their dream to see the band live after their long wait has finally been realised. After five albums, the latest one being Bankrupt! which was just released a couple of months ago, the French men finally noticed the tiny red dot on the globe.

The band entered the stage sending the auditorium into Lisztomania. The crowd roared and stood up, rushed to the front and in their ecstasy, never sat down again. Albeit this was supposed to be a seated concert and the seats were actually quite cushy, no one probably bothered to realise that.

They heralded the evening with Entertainment, a hit from their recent album. Their performance was completed with the visuals that set the mood for each song. Although some were just simple colours with gradient, the shades fit the tempo of each piece. Be it during the old favourite Long Distance Call or the energetic grooves of S.O.S in Bel Air, the room was consumed with their vibes. During songs like Run Run Run the band was set against a black and white moving image of the streets of Paris.

Thomas Mars, lead singer, was seemingly grateful as he peppered his few words with a “merci beaucoup” and “thank yous”. Feeling the hearts of Phoenix fans, he said, “It took us 14 years to come here.”

Delivering their anthems in an infectiously high-octane manner, the members’ energy kept the crowd on their feet throughout the show. There were moments of creative spurts when Phoenix mashed up their own songs. They put Trying To Be Cool, Drakkar Noir and Chloroform together and performed “Sunskrupt!”, which combined “Bankrupt!” and parts of “Love Like A Sunset”, with perfect precision.

Taking the audience back to 1901 in their own way, the band finished off their set keeping everyone on a high. Everyone knew they would be back for an encore, and when they did, only Mars and Christian Mazzalai the guitarist came back for a stripped down version of Countdown. During the song, Mars sat at the side of the stage and let the fans in front swoon over him with their uninhibited touches.

After the contemplative piece, the whole band went back on to inject the auditorium with their single If I Ever Feel Better and Funky Squaredance, after which they led the dancing feet to Rome. The journey was truly complete when Mars shocked the audience by walking into the crowd. The incredulous fans screamed as he mingled amongst the crowd while repeatedly thanking everyone. Yet another shocking moment dawned upon the fans when he returned on stage – inviting them up with him. The delirious pack literally jumped at the offer, went on stage and took the opportunity to get upclose and personal with the band. When Phoenix exited, they left everyone with fond memories and a tearful eye.

Merci beaucoup indeed Phoenix.