The Show Must NOT Go On
The other night I finally got to see Phoebe Bridgers live. It was a bit surreal to finally hear all those songs in person after having heard them so many times during the pandemic without the opportunity to see the real thing because, for me, Bridgers was one of those artists that I learned about during the pandemic. I think her Punisher album was that for many people and it was such a validation of what I’d enjoyed for the last couple of years to take it in live. Now, first off, I did feel a little bit old at this concert and also the fact that I was there with my buddy, not a lover, didn’t help either but I didn’t really fucking care because I wanted to hear Phoebe so I found the one guy in the crowd in a Dead t-shirt and talked to him and his girlfriend.
She opened with “Motion Sickness” which was probably the best opener you could ask for then quickly dropped into the opening of Punisher. I almost thought she was about to play the whole album straight through but after “Halloween” she threw in a song from Stranger From The Alps and that was the trend for the night, she played every song off Punisher, sprinkled with a couple other of her other songs, ended with I Know The End, encoring with the Boygenius song ”Me & My Dog”. It was really all you could ask for from her, she was truly there for the crowd and she showed it.
This was a very unique concert to me in a couple other ways. When we showed up to the venue, The Cuban Club, the line to get in was insane, wrapping several blocks down the street. It was hot and that is usual for Florida but, as we waited for them to set up for Bridgers, the roadies were throwing out bottles of water almost the entire time, I’d never seen so many bottles of water given away, I think clubs in Miami charge $12 for those. This seemed amazing but I was still a little confused. What was even more confusing was when Phoebe finally did come on and stopped in the middle of four different songs to see if people were okay, six times by my count in total because I think there were two stops in between songs. I don’t mean any insensitively here and will also note that someone told me people had been waiting there for four hours to get the spots up front but I’d really just never seen anything like this before. I’ve seen some shit too, I’ve ran to get EMTs for people, I’ve had to help a friend catch some air, I've even fainted at a set once myself but it was always my friends, it was always the crowd that took care of it. I don’t know what was going on up there but it seems wild to me that an artist should have to stop their show that many times but it was not surprising to hear Travis Scott’s name floating around during these times.
The thing is, I know Phoebe was just doing it out of the goodness of her heart, because she does care about her people, much like Billie Eilish did when she caught headlines for doing the same thing. I even recently saw Run the Jewels do this when I was streaming their Coachella set but never to this extent. I get that an artists cares about their audience and things can escalate quickly like they did at Astroworld but at some point these interruptions start to ruin the performance. And that’s the question I have, when must the show go on? When are we as the audience responsible for ourselves because I can’t imagine The Who pausing “My Generation” seconds before smashing their instruments to pieces because someone looks like there having a bad time? Where will we draw the line?