Ogden Twilight: Phoenix

Phoenix • May 16, 2024 • Ogden Amphitheater

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Concerts have officially moved outdoors! I can’t explain how much I love the feeling of the first outdoor concert of the year.  It means that not only is the weather warming up, but that we’re in for a great run of outdoor concerts, and festivals.  It was a perfect evening in Ogden as we commenced with the first show of the Ogden Twilight Concert Series of 2024.  French Indie Rock band, Phoenix seemed very fitting as the series opener.  Last year, Beck embarked on his Summer Oddessy Tour with Phoenix as his support.  When Beck made his stop at Ogden Twilight, the show was more of an intimate acoustic set.  Because of this, Phoenix wasn’t in the lineup.  So while we had to wait a bit, it was worth it to finally see them grace the Ogden Amphitheater stage for the very first time.  

Walking into Ogden Amphitheater brought a rush of good feelings.  It was amazing to see all the great things that are great about this incredible series.  The variety of food trucks lined up at the back of the venue with their lines full of interesting people.  The merch line filled with a wide variety of the latest shirts and items of each band.  And of course the crowd packing in every available space in the place.  I was unfortunately unable to make it in time for the opener, Metric, but I could feel the energy of their performance and by all accounts, it was a perfect way to set the table for Phoenix.  

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

Phoenix took the stage to a roaring crowd.  People rushed from grabbing food or drinks to join their friends as the headliner walked out.  With the sun still out, I can assume it was easy for the members of Phoenix to see the faces of everyone in the audience.  I wonder if they enjoy that change of scenery.  I’d imagine most shows are dark with the spotlights in their face limiting their view of the audience.  But maybe it’s awkward seeing everyone looking at them.  Who knows.  They didn’t seem to be phased by the sun still being out.  The band like the audience seemed pretty fired up to get the show going.  

Phoenix started strong with “Lisztomania”. What an opener!  Ogden Amp was electric.  And they never slowed down all night.  It was fun to be in the photo pit, between the band and the crowd.  In between taking photos, I could see the people along the railing already in mid-show form.  For Phoneix to start the show with a song that could have easily been a show closer or at least an encore song was a great move.  As much as I was loving being in the photo pit grabbing shots, I was a little jealous of everyone who was dancing away to the music. 

Lead vocalist, Thomas Mars greeted the audience.  I could tell he felt a little funny addressing us by “Ogden”.  I’m sure every stop this band has ever made to Utah has been in Salt Lake City.  He asked the audience if they were mostly from Ogden or if they came up from Salt Lake.  Everyone just yelled out their answer giving no clarity as to where the majority was actually from.  Which made the band laugh. 

Later in the show, Mars asked the audience if they knew who Nolan Bushnell was.  Judging by the silence of the audience he realized that they didn’t.  He told them that they should. Bushnell is one of the founders of Atari and that Atari computers is what Phoenix first used to make their music.  Thomas shared that Nolan Bushnell is now a resident of Ogden, Utah.  The crowd showed their age but also their appreciation for the fun fact and the show continued from there.  

Another time Thomas Mars addressed the audience, he told us that this was the first time Phoenix would be performing Love Like A Sunset at Sunset.  I thought that was pretty cool how well they timed it up.  As the sun went down, the audience got up for the crowd favorite.  

I was so impressed with how great Phoenix sounded live.  This was my first time getting to see them in concert and I really enjoyed it.  They far exceeded expectations.  The band played phenomenally and Mars sounds just like he does on the albums.  Of course, a huge highlight was the mega-hit, “1901”.  Now this song sounded incredible live.  People were going crazy.  It was such a fun song to see performed live.  There just seemed to be an extra punch to the song.  That is my favorite thing about hearing songs live.  The added energy that a crowd can give a great song.  I figured once the song was over, the show would come to an end.  I was wrong.  

Once the song ended I thought Phoenix would wave and walk off stage.  But that didn’t happen.  Instead, they started playing again.  I thought, “Ok cool, another song!”.  Thomas Mars never sang on this song.  Instead, he made his way through the crowd with his microphone and long (and I mean long) red cord. He thanked the crowd as he walked through the VIP to the lawn, and around the back of the amphitheater.  It was as if he was trying to thank each of us individually. 

Once he made his way to a certain point of the venue Mars was propped up on people’s shoulders and being held up by others.  He stood up and waved to the crowd and said, “Goodnight! You’ve been the best!”.  The band continued to play as Mars was crowd-surfed from the GA lawn back in to the VIP section, and finally back to the stage. I’ve seen singers go into the crowd.  But this was at a whole other level.  The amount of trust he had for this crowd was something else.  And I have to hand it to this audience.  They seemed to be respectful in their enthusiasm.  With Thomas Mars now returned to the stage, the band closed out their long vamp, and the show ended with another roar from the audience.  

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see Phoenix live.  It was announced that they would be taking a break and that this was one of only a few shows in The States.  Upon hearing that, I felt that much more fortunate.  I think they’re going to record a new album.  So look out for that down the line.  In the meantime, what a way to kick off the Ogden Twilight season, and what is no doubt going to be a fantastic summer of outdoor shows.

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