Liz Phair played one of the year’s most-anticipated shows at the Turf Club last night as part of her Girly-Sound to Guyville tour. Advance tickets for the show had sold out in just a few minutes. Those who were lucky enough to get in were excited to be there for her first show in the Twin Cities in more than a decade.
Most of the people there that night were middle-aged and many of them likely were in their 20s when Phair’s debut studio album Exile in Guyville was released in 1993. Before the show, people gathered around, drinking beer and catching up. Many were dressed as if they had just come from work and on the projector screen played a bunch of old Warner Bros. cartoons that a group of men up front by the stage were intent on watching.
When the projector screen pulled up for Soccer Mommy to begin her opening set, the room was still filling up. Sophie Allison told the crowd that opening for Phair was a dream come true for her. Her acclaimed debut album, Clean, was released in March, and touches on many of the same themes Phair did on Exile in Guyville. The crowd was disappointingly inattentive, though; after Allison finished her set, everyone flocked to the stage to try and get a good spot to see Liz Phair perform.
Joined only by guitarist Connor Sullivan, Phair opened with “F— or Die.” She was in an understandably nostalgic mood, having just released a massive box set, and reflected on some her early work she produced as a young artist. “Sing along if you know the words,” she said, “because that’s what this is all about: to welcome back the super fans and celebrate the old times.”
During her show, Phair played songs from all across her albums, but since the tour was in celebration of her Girly-Sound to Guyville, box set, she played a lot of songs from both Girly Sound (1991) and Exile in Guyville (1993) — songs like “Girls! Girls! Girls!,” “Batmobile,” “6’1,” “Help Me Mary,” and “Wild Thing.” Between songs she talked about some of her hits, like “F— or Die,” which she wrote about AIDS and her father who worked as a infectious disease specialist.
Phair doesn’t let anyone put her down or tell her what she should or shouldn’t be doing with her music. At one point during the show, a male audience member yelled, “Get a drummer, Liz!” To which Phair responded, “Do you want to come up here? Come back in the fall, jackass!” with the rest of her audience cheering her on.
After she finished her last song for the night, some audience members slowly began to trickle out, but others stayed on for a while, cheering for Phair to come back onstage for an encore. While some may have been disappointed by her choice not to, to me it seemed like she was ready to be done after her last song and I feel like it was it was in true Liz Phair fashion to decide for herself how she wanted to end her show.
Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.