On Tuesday, September 21, I had the pleasure of attending the Raleigh show of Phoebe Bridgers’ Reunion Tour at Red Hat Amphitheater. I got my tickets back in July when it was going to be held at The Ritz, but because of the changes Bridgers made to make the tour more COVID-conscious with rising cases (which I covered in “Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Reunion Tour’ Makes Some Changes”), it got moved to Red Hat. Due to this change, my two friends and I were in the pit. I’m not the biggest fan of pits, especially after avoiding crowds for so long, but with everyone masked and vaccinated, it made the experience a lot better.
Doors opened at 7:00pm, and MUNA came on a little before 8:00pm, and boy, were they great. The electro pop trio gelled together perfectly. Their chemistry, talent, and stage presence combined was truly something special. Not to mention, Katie Gavin, the lead singer, had a spectacular outfit.
They performed several songs including “I Know A Place” and “Crying On The Bathroom Floor.” They also performed their brand new single “Silk Chiffon” that has a feature from Bridgers, who came on stage to perform it with them during their act.
MUNA was energetic, fun, and electric, and I was worried (albeit very momentarily) that Bridgers’ melancholic sound would not lend itself to the same energy.
That worry faded to dust once Bridgers and her band walked on-stage in a single file line to “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas. They then jumped into performing “Motion Sickness” and the screen behind them morphed into beautiful visuals. Don’t be fooled by her whispery-singing, Phoebe Bridgers is a solid vocalist, and she delivered during “Motion Sickness,” at one point holding a rather high note for what felt like ages (but was probably like thirty seconds, an impressive feat).
Her stage talk was frank and honest, and she made comments throughout the show about how humid it was, saying that the air in North Carolina was like clove-cigarette smoke (it rained on and off during her and MUNA’s sets, and torrentially downpoured after). Before performing “Kyoto,” a song about her rocky relationship with her father she remarked “This one’s for everyone who’s ever had to lie to CPS.” Similarly, before “Savior Complex,”’ she said, “This one’s about alcoholism.”
Uniquely, Phoebe did something she said she had never done before; she let the crowd choose two songs for her. Firstly, she let us choose between “Scott Street” and “Georgia.” How did she determine it? How loud we cheered. The crowd was loud for “Georgia,” but everyone erupted for “Scott Street.” Toward the end of the show, she stated that she enjoyed letting us choose earlier and that we could choose again. This time, between “Georgia” and the boygenius song “Me & My Dog.” “Georgia” lost out again (I love the song, but I wanted to hear the other two just a tad more, so I was happy with both choices).
She closed out the night with a beautiful cover of “That Funny Feeling” by Bo Burnham. Shortly after the release of “Inside,” Phoebe said on her Instagram stories “every bone in my body wants to plagiarize this.” Instead of doing that, she added it to her setlist, doing what she says in the first verse of “Chinese Satellite”: “I wish I wrote it, but I didn’t so I learn the words / Hum along ’til the feeling’s gone forever.”
The visuals were stunning, her band was fantastic (especially the trumpeter, JJ Kirkpatrick), and overall, the night just felt safe. The show was very intimate and magical, and for me, an amazing return to seeing live music, after not seeing anyone live for over two years.
If you’re interested in the setlist of exactly what MUNA and Phoebe played whilst in Raleigh, Spotify user Noah East created a playlist that you can stream.
Be sure to also check out Lise Nox’s review of her experience at the Charlotte show.