EXILE ON MAINSTREAM: Liz Phair, TLA, Last Night [Photo by JONATHAN VALANIA]
1. On the whole, it was a tidy kind of show. Liz Phair went onstage shortly after 8, rolled through Exile In Guyville and a three-song encore, during which she played on three different guitars and an electric piano, engaged in some truly priceless audience participation (more on that later), patted the show on its butt and had everybody home before curfew.
2. I was kind of disappointed not to see more college-age and twenty-something females in the not-quite sold-out TLA audience, though I guess these days the young ladies just show their cooters on the Internet instead of writing dirty rock songs about them. These kids today.
3. Nice touch, I: Adding “Chopsticks,” from Whip-Smart, and “Polyester Bride” from whitechocolatespacegg as the encores. The songs actually made for a nice pair, showing the evolution of a view of sex that starts out casual to the point of boredom (“he said he liked to do it backward/ I said that was fine with me/ that way we can fuck and watch TV) to seeing it in its more significant, and infinitely more interesting, context. Go ask Henry, your bartending friend.
4. Nice touch, II: “How many of you bought the record just for ‘Flower,'” Phair asked, then asked for someone in the audience to come up and help out with the backing vocals. Up onto the stage she drags this guy. And let me tell you, he was easy on the eyes and the ears, and delivered Phair’s dirty words in a high, sweet tenor. Even the part that goes: Everytime I see your face, I get all wet between my legs. Crowd went nuts.
5. Fifteen years on, safe to say she never topped Guyville and probably never will. So she only caught lightning in a bottle once. The rest of us should be so lucky. — AMY Z. QUINN