The four-artist billing closed out their tour run and the summer concert season in true indie fashion.
Back in July, rock royalty Beck and Phoenix teamed up on the song “Odyssey,” their song-of-the-summer track that also served as the kickoff to their Summer Odyssey Tour. Joined by Weyes Blood and Sir Chloe, the four-artist billing crossed the country from Washington state more than a month ago all the way to Washington D.C., where their tour reached its conclusion on September 10. They ended it in style, with extravagant visuals, crowd participation, and sing-alongs that made you forget that not only the weekend was ending, but the summer too.
Sir Chloe kicked the evening off with reverb-soaked guitars and frenetic drumming, drawing from fuzzy ’90s rock and fast-paced 2000s post-punk. It was a raucous, exciting performance that drew equally from their latest album “I Am the Dog” and their breakout 2020 hit “Party Favors.”
Weyes Blood has a track record of stunning crowds already with a sold-out stop at 9:30 Club just this past February. Her transcendent voice, reminiscent of the Karen Carpenters and Joni Mitchells of the world, paired with the lush, ethereal sounds she and her band create, translated well to the outdoor amphitheater. The emotional, goosebump-inducing core of her set was “God Turn Me Into a Flower,” from 2022’s “And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow” as dozens of video clips played around her — of love, heartbreak, laughter, rage and every emotion in-between — as she threw white roses into the crowd.
Phoenix loves a good LED backdrop as much as Beck does, and puts it to great use during their powerhouse set that showcased their 20+ years of earworms. They performed in front of grandiose backdrops that could easily be mistaken for a large-scale installation at the Louvre (where they actually recorded in early 2021). From “If I Ever Feel Better” on “United” in 2000, to “Lisztomania” from 2009’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” to “After Midnight,” from 2022’s “Alpha Zulu,” Phoenix left no stone unturned, performing songs from nearly all of their albums. Thomas Mars played the poised, consummate frontman, knowing when to break out on stage and when to let his bandmates shine in the spotlight (especially drummer Thomas Hedlund, who often played standing up instead of sitting on his stool). As is tradition for Phoenix shows, Mars took into the crowd to jump onto the railing in front of the lawn seats to thank fans for coming to the show, then crowd surfed in the pit as the band concluded with an instrumental version of “Identical.”
Beck is a musical chameleon, switching musical styles since his very first album from hip-hop to folk to synth-pop multiple times in his 29 years of recording music. There’s only so much musical ground that can be covered in a live set, but performing songs from eight albums is as impressive as his charismatic presence and dance moves on stage. Surprisingly, the funky “Midnite Vultures” was the most heavily featured on this night, including “Mixed Bizness,” “Sexx Laws,” and the Prince-indebted “Debra.” Each song had an inventive backdrop to go with it, whether it was a modernist living room, a neon sign-filled street, or a junkyard of TVs catching on fire. Near the end of the set, Beck invited Phoenix and Weyes Blood to sing a slightly more upbeat version of “Lost Cause” and, of course, this summer’s “Odyssey.” The show (and because this was the last night, the tour) concluded with “Where It’s At,” where all of the artists and the road crew joined on stage for a big costume-filled dance party with massive balloons thrown into the crowd. A rousing ending for a tour filled with rousing artists.
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