Phoenix found themselves in an unusual situation at the Budweiser Made in America Festival on Saturday night. The French rockers, who typically headline music festivals (most recently Coachella and Sweetlife), served as the last of the openers for headliner Beyonce. Playing second banana to Queen Bey meant that Phoenix had to fight harder to win over her audience, most of whom had claimed their spots upfront hours beforehand.
Their show started off as it typically does, launching into an energetic version of "Entertainment" and continuing with songs including "Lisztomania" and "Girlfriend." This was all par for the course and everything was going along swimmingly until the instrumental break combination of "Love Like A Sunset" and "Bankrupt!" Having these songs as part of their show is nothing unusual. Even lead singer Thomas Mars laying down on stage during this time was completely normal. But the audience's energy level dropped significantly. So much so that after performing "Consolation Prizes" and "S.O.S. in Bel Air," Mars asked the crowd "Are you awake?" He then put it upon himself to wake them up.
Leaving the stage to sing at the audience barrier (again, not an unusual move by the singer although he tends to leave it until the end of the show), Mars positioned himself by a fan who had been holding a "Funky Squaredance" sign and, propped up by security, sang directly to the fans now surging towards him. Signaling to the rest of the band members, who were still on stage, that he was going to remain there, Mars and Phoenix continued with "1901" and "Rome" with the crowd happily bopping along.
Still not satisfied with the results, Mars crowd surfed momentarily. Once he returned to land, Mars bolted towards the mid-field towers and promptly climbed the scaffolding. Meanwhile, the rest of Phoenix, now playing a reprise of "Entertainment" could only watch (with fingers crossed) as Mars climbed down the tower and decided to return to the stage by crowd surfing the entire audience from back to front. That Mars made it back in one piece to the stage is pretty miraculous.
So Phoenix definitely wins the award for best crowd interaction for the festival. No other band or artist on the bill was as determined to make sure that the crowd enjoyed their show whether they wanted to or not. And rising to the occasion, and winning over fans that weren't necessarily theirs to begin with, is what currently makes Phoenis one of the best live bands right now.
Trying to Be Cool / Drakkar Noir
Love Like A Sunset/Bankrupt!
S.O.S. in Bel Air
For more information on the 2013 Budweiser Made in America Festival, click here.
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