SHOW RECAP + GALLERY: Phoebe Bridgers and MUNA took Boston by storm
Scroll to the bottom for Emma's photos from the gig!
When the global pandemic shifted from “2 weeks off” into a tangled mess of politics, halted deadlines, and fully-booked zoom calendars, I heard Punisher for the first time. Though I’d heard a few tracks from Phoebe Bridgers before, I had never experienced the singer-songwriter in the way I did on my first full album listen. In my opinion, Punisher’s entrance into the world came at the perfect time; the raw and unrelenting story the album tells came as a comfort and collective voice in a time when many, including myself, attempted to grapple with what was left of the way things were.
Fast forward to Monday, a sold-out crowd awaited Bridgers’ set at the Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA (her second of two sold-out nights at the venue). Aptly titled the “Reunion Tour”, fans packed into the venue, many for the first time since the global pandemic. To echo Bridgers’ in “Graceland Too,” there was a lot of living through it to get to this moment, and the feeling only grew as the night unfolded.
The evening started with MUNA, an LA-based electro-pop group with surprisingly deep lyricism, and a seemingly irrepressible energy. I truly cannot sing enough praises for MUNA’s performance last night; their energy brightened the venue from the second the group took the stage, and immediately got the crowd on their feet.
Their set was a mix of their more upbeat tracks, including “Number One Fan” and “I Know a Place," as well as some moodier tracks sprinkled throughout. MUNA also gave fans a sneak peek at the set to come, bringing Phoebe Bridgers to the stage during their new song “Silk Chiffon,” which features Bridgers’ vocals in the second verse. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to MUNA yet, now is the time. If you missed them on this tour, they’ll be on the road again with Kacey Musgraves and King Princess in early 2022!
With the stage set, it was time for Phoebe Bridgers and her skeleton-suited musicians to take the stage. The sold-out show seemed impossibly intimate, as the crowd was fully enraptured by the band from the first note to the final bow. Almost all of Bridgers' set consisted of songs from her 2020 album Punisher, played almost completely in sequence. Spliced in were a few tracks from her debut album, Stranger in the Alps, including "Motion Sickness" which lead off her set, as well as “Georgia,” “Funeral,” and "Scott Street".
It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly Bridgers makes you feel, but she makes you feel it a lot. The set, reflective of her music itself, was both nuanced and cathartic. With completely rapt attention, the audience held on to every syllable that left her mouth. During “Halloween” and “Savior Complex” there were moments when the entire venue fell silent, with the exception of Bridgers’ ethereal vocals and steady acoustic strumming. During “Georgia” and “I Know The End,” however, Bridgers’ belting was reflected throughout the crowd. Let’s face it: after the past year, what could be better than screaming your lungs out with 5,000 people?
I would be remiss to leave out the stunning visuals paired with each of the songs of Punisher. Flipping through each track as if it was a page from a storybook, illustrations moved and grew behind Bridgers and her skeleton crew, illuminating deeper meanings hidden inside the already intricate songwriting. During “Garden Song,” fans were greeted by a serene garden bridge, whereas during the closer, “I Know The End,” a house slowly burning seemed more apt.
Completing her set with a cover of Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling”, Bridgers and her band said their farewell to Boston. The lights came up, and fans with tear-stained masks filed out into the streets, myself included. I truly cannot thank MUNA, Bridgers, and their teams enough for the incredible show, and the venue’s staff as well for keeping the show as safe as possible for all in attendance. Here’s to feeling feelings, keeping each other safe, and many, MANY concerts to come.