I fucking love Phoebe Bridgers.
I know that writers should probably try to come up with a much more elegant, funny, or otherwise charming anecdote to begin articles such as this, but sometimes it’s really just not necessary. Plus, I don’t even consider myself much of a writer anyway, so the rules don’t apply to me.
Phoebe fuckin’ rips and that’s all there is to say about it.
Her rise over the last few years has been nothing short of magnificent, too. From opening shows for Julien Baker at the Triple Rock Social Club (RIP) in 2016 to smashing a guitar on SNL and pissing off white men across the globe earlier this year, anyone who’s been lucky enough to catch a performance of hers during that time understands exactly why she rightfully deserves every accolade she has earned.
I was lucky enough to see her at 2018’s Eaux Claires festival, and remember it not only being one of the few highlights of the entire weekend but being totally captivated and left hanging off every soft-spoken word of hers.
It was clear just a few short months later during a performance with fellow boygenius bandmates at First Avenue that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with going forward, and she’s taken full advantage of every opportunity to step out on her own and capture the hearts of music fans all over the world.
Now out on her Reunion Tour, Bridgers was initially scheduled to perform back-to-back shows at St. Paul’s Palace Theatre, shows that both sold out almost instantly before ultimately getting canceled and turned into one single vaccine-mandated outdoor performance at Surly’s festival field in Minneapolis due to the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Thankfully for all of us, the tour has been going strong without a hitch, and on Saturday night it was finally time for the Twin Cities to gather ’round and collectively cry our eyes out on a big patch of grass with 5,000 of our closest friends.
Hammered and weeping at a @phoebe_bridgers show. Nature is healing.
— Erik Thompson (@eriktmpls) September 12, 2021
I was unfortunately forced to miss most of what seemed to be an absolutely blistering set from openers (and members of Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory Records) MUNA, who are likely on an impressive arc to stardom of their own, and arrived shortly before it was time for our “mom” (as MUNA’s Katie Gavine described her), Phoebe to take the stage.
That was all Phoebe had to say to the crowd before immediately kicking off her set with her breakthrough hit “Motion Sickness” written about her ex-boyfriend and well-known creep, scumbag, crybaby piece of garbage, Ry*n Ad*ms.
After that, the next 75-minutes were pure auditory and emotional bliss as Bridgers ripped through tracks from both her Strangers in the Alps and Punisher records with a wonderful, constantly changing storybook-style video backdrop with custom imagery to coincide with each track.
I probably wouldn’t be allowed to cover a show in Minnesota ever again if I didn’t mention, and praise, the fact that she tossed in a cover of The Replacements’ song “Here Comes a Regular” which she of course described as “The saddest Replacements song that exists.”
Of course, the highlight of the night for me came during the encore, in which she stuck to the tradition of closing each performance of this tour with a cover of Bo Burnhams “That Funny Feeling” from his incredible pandemic-inspired Netflix special “Inside” which was released earlier this year.
It should also be noted that at one point during the show, I believe it was either during “Chinese Satellite” or “Moon Song,” Phoebe stopped the band and helped get a member of the audience proper medical attention when they needed it before safely resuming. That was real big mom energy and an incredibly kind gesture from an artist that has clearly put audience safety at the forefront of this tour.
All in all, Saturday’s performance was as impeccable as anyone could have expected, and it felt amazing to be around so many people willing to take safety seriously enough so that we can continue having nights just like this again.
Go get vaccinated, and then go see Phoebe Fucking Bridgers the next time she comes to town.