Show Review: Liz Phair at Royale

By Curtis Heimburger

Last night at 10:15 on the dot, Liz Phair took the stage during her fourth to last show of her tour, as thunderous applause filled the venue. This tour being a recognition of the 25th anniversary of her influential debut album Exile In Guyville, there was no shortage of old tunes as it made up almost half of the setlist. This tour was definitely one for her fans and they couldn’t have been happier.

Before her ’93 debut release, Liz was living and playing in Chicago. At the time, the indie rock scene was heavily male dominated, making her stand out from the crowd quite a bit. Exile In Guyville was an instant hit in the underground, selling just under half a million copies in only a few years. Soon after her success, labels started signing and recording more singer-songwriter type acts that might’ve been viewed as risky before. Even today her influence is still prevalent in bands such as Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy.

Ms. Phair continued her legacy as she sold out the Royale last night during her “Amps on the Lawn” tour. Her set, lasting just under an hour and a half, was filled with energy and nostalgia. the band backing her was well rehearsed and tight sounding. Although I noticed that there really wasn’t much movement between the band, looking around at the audience, Liz had their full attention. She’s clearly no stranger to controlling a crowd.

Twice during the set she hinted at something that was going to happen after the show and sure enough it did. Just before she left the stage for her encore she said “Stick around everybody, we got something special for you.” As anticipation grew and the cheering reached its peak, Liz walked back on stage accompanied by Juliana Hatfield and Sadie Dupuis (Whose band, Speedy Ortiz, has been opening up for her during the tour). Together they did an amazing cover of “Please Mr. Please” by Olivia Newton John. Afterwards, the pair left and Liz finished off the night with “F#@* and Run” as well as “Divorce Song” that included a noteworthy guitar solo from her lead guitar player which made for an explosive ending to the night. It was a show her fans are never going to forget.