I was in the middle of skeleton shirt wearing concert goers as I entered the outdoor Skyline Stage at the Mann in Philadelphia, PA. Many in attendance dressed like Phoebe Bridgers who sported the bones costume over the past few years. Additionally, Bridgers has a ghost on the cover of her debut album Stranger in the Alps. She believes they are “innocently creepy” (per The Ringer 06/20).
The artist from Pasadena, CA has been extremely prolific for years. She has collaborated with Maggie Rogers, Fiona Apple and The National (among others). Bridgers has two other musical projects: Boygenius (with Lucy Dacus and Julian Baker) and The Better Oblivion Community Center (with Connor Oburst). Her latest solo album Punisher was nominated for several Grammys.
When the show started, her band came out in matching skeleton costumes and Bridgers appeared in a dark suit. They played Motion Sickness from her first album about her infamous relationship with troubled musician Ryan Adams. Almost every single person around me sang the lyrics. It was touching to see the impact the twenty-seven-year-old singer has made to so many. The only problem was I was hearing the voices of her fans instead of Bridgers.
For the song Halloween, jack-o’-lanterns appeared along the stage. It sure felt like October 31st watching the skeleton clad musicians beside the carved pumpkins glowing under orange lights. Bridgers sang, “Baby, it’s Halloween/And we can be anything/Oh, come on, man/We can be anything.” I just needed some fun sized Snickers, caramel apples, and a stomach ache to be fully transported.
A demand for Bridgers to wish someone a happy birthday was ordered from an audience member between songs. Bridgers responded in a hushed tone, “Happy birthday. Now I’m going to play the saddest song I’ve ever written.” It was probably the funniest introduction to her song Funeral that Bridgers has ever done.
For the opening prologue of Chinese Satellites, Bridgers preached, “I think you need to believe in something. But there is no God.” At the end, a young woman shouted out, “My mom loves you!” I guess that was a complement. But it raises so many other questions. Like … Why did the song about atheism bring out this emotional declaration? Did her mother request the shout out? Does the shouter love Phoebe Bridgers as much as her mom?
When the audience chanted for the song Georgia, Bridgers explained, “That’s the same problem we had last night. We can either play Georgia or Me & My Dog .” After surveying the audience, Me & My Dog won out. A girl holding the Play Georgia sign near the front was clearly devastated.
The band ended the set with appropriate titled I Know The End by pulling out all the stops with multicolored lights and pounding electric guitars. Bridgers came back alone to play Georgia. I assume making the girl with the sign overjoyed.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one wishing your friend a happy birthday before a sad song is about to be begin.