Issue 7 Contents

Liz Phair, Avalon, 10-6-98

We've waited for about 5 years for Liz Phair to make her way to the Boston/ Providence area. While waiting many of us have sat patiently in our rooms listening to the monotone delivery of her storybook songs of tragedy and heartbreak. For three albums and one EP we waited- until now.

Liz Phair's new CD whitechocolatespaceegg leaves the foul mouth at home, but is no less frank than the others. Motherhood perhaps has taken her mouth out of the gutter, but it has also helped give her the courage to perform in front of a crowd.

Most of the people in attendance at the Avalon were glad just to finally see Liz Phair perform. They were a little less enthusiastic about the slide show that opened up the evening.

Instead of getting some opening band to tour with her Liz instead opted to show 30 minutes of slides (set to music) of herself, and her family and friends. Maybe Liz was trying to set up an evening of intimacy or maybe she just likes to look at her self, it was hard to tell.

Anyway we watched slide after slide go by (and then repeat) while some interesting tunes set the mood. Who would have thought that the indie-darling would admit to liking Prince's "Little Red Corvette?" While some of the people up front really didn't like the slides, I have to say it wasn't that bad. It set up the mood for the evening- you were going to get Liz Phair, nobody else just her. Plus, I got to watch the whole thing from the front row inside the barricades- so I wasn't all squished on the floor waiting and waiting.

Before long the band took the stage. Liz is travelling with a 5-piece band of unnamed people- drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, and backup singer. They played the first few bars of "Explain it To Me," before Liz stepped out from the shadows and began the night. A roar went up from the crowd when she came on, but everybody piped down quick to hear.

The Phair one looked pretty swell in a long black skirt and red top, but only about ¼ of the guys were actually there to ogle the upper middle-class singer babe. All the fuss about her stage fright also seemed to be much to do about nothing- right after "Explain it to Me," she yelled out a quick 'Hello Boston' then went right into "6"1'."

The set list drew fairly liberally from all her releases.

Whitechocolatespaceegg has too many ballad type songs on it, so to keep things lively she did only four or five songs from it. Since Liz often challenges her voice with really strong high notes it was a good thing she had a backup singer to add some timber to the songs.

Throughout the night she would stop to chat briefly with people up front, or to introduce a song. She didn't bust a major sweat over all the people, and she seemed relaxed enough to do a little dance every so often.

As I stood in the middle of the floor watching I noticed that almost everybody was singing along with every song. Boys held their girls tight and those of us alone swayed back and forth. Nobody really danced- even to the more rocking numbers like "Never Said." It was a strange vibe because most of us have sat home alone listening to her music, not in a crowded bar. People were courteous but wary of each other it seemed.

Liz sounded great as far as I was concerned. She's been taking lessons to help her hit some of her high notes and the practice seems worth it. Her style may be somewhat monotone, but she really tries to give her performances something extra by slowing down and really pronouncing some of her songs. "Flower" and "Dance of the Seven Veils" were a good example of this- she slowed them both down and really tried to hit the notes.

While it was awesome to finally get to see Liz Phair perform it was short. An hour and 15 minutes after she took the stage she was gone. She closed he set with her most famous song- "Fuck and Run," which turned the place into an even bigger sing along. Liz let loose with some major jumping around on stage, but most people didn't join in.

After the show I stood around and talked with some of the people leaving the show. I ran into two girls conforting another on the sidewalk. They couldn't have been too old since they were bumming cigarettes.

One of them was weeping and I asked her why. She responded with, " I'm crying because Liz Phair is gone- she means everything to me." I told her not to worry- her career was doing fine. She blubbered, "But I may never get to see her sing again." I couldn't promise that she would so I lit her butt, told her to pray for good fortune and went home to listen to Liz Phair in my room.