Phoebe Bridgers’ “Reunion Tour” came to the Skyline Stage at the Mann in Philadelphia on September 22. The “Reunion Tour” is a support tour for Bridgers’ newest album, “Punisher,” which was released during last year while touring was not possible. It marked her second studio album, and was nominated for four Grammys in 2020 (Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance (“Kyoto”), Best Rock Song (“Kyoto”), Best Alternative Music Album (“Punisher”).
After two opening acts including duo Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill and MUNA, Bridgers finally made her way to the stage, opening with “Motion Sickness,” a song off of her first album “Stranger in the Alps.” Despite being a relatively slow song, the audience went crazy for it and were dancing along. After the instrumental “DVD Menu,” Bridgers segued right into “Garden Song” as heard on the “Punisher” album. Then came “Kyoto,” perhaps the most up-beat song about having an identity crisis. Audience members were having a blast bopping along to a song that talks about payphones in Japan.
The momentum of the concert takes a slow turn after “Kyoto,” as the titular track off of “Punisher” was played, followed by “Halloween,” and “Smoke Signals.” The middle of the section of the set is far more ambient, thus the crowd was standing still but was very much into her music. It’s important to note that Bridgers’ music is not for everyone; the ambient and occasionally depressing tracks don’t make for a party-like atmosphere in a live setting, but her voice and backing band make up for the lack of excitement in her set. Most of the audience seemed content, filled with skeleton outfits like the ones being worn on stage by Bridgers and her band.
The finale of the main set came with “I Know The End,” a track that features Bridgers belting out a blood-curdling scream at the peak of the crescendo. A fitting end to the main set, and the crashing crescendo had fans screaming in unison like it was a heavy metal concert. After a few moments, Bridgers and her band came out to play “Georgia,” a song from “A Stranger in the Alps,” and then ended the show with two covers, one was Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling,” from his Emmy-winning pandemic comedy special “Inside.” The second cover was “Here Comes a Regular” by The Replacements. A set consisting of the “Punisher” album in full, five songs from her debut solo album, and two covers is a great start to a blossoming touring career.
Bridgers’ current “Reunion Tour” is set to make stops all throughout the country before commencing in Atlanta on October 24. This is far from the end for Bridgers; in fact, this is only the beginning for the young star. It was a reported sold-out crowd by the Mann Center’s official Twitter, so let’s hope that Bridgers makes another stop in Philadelphia the next time she is making her rounds on tour.
(Emmys.com, Grammy.com, The Mann Center)