Musical Muses: Phoenix in Concert

Posted at Aug 11, 2013 1:57 pm in , , , ,

Phoenix band photo


Like a lot of authors, I’m inspired by music and make it an integral part of my creative process.  I create playlists for my novels and find that certain artists really capture the mood(s) of my characters. Listening to songs that represent scenes or characters is a great way to put me instantly into my writing groove and headspace.

This week I was lucky enough to attend a concert of one of my favorite bands, Phoenix. I love their blend of French pop and rock, and listened to them obsessively during the writing of my most recent novels.  Certain songs will definitely be on the playlists I’m creating for these books.

When I saw they were coming to Red Rocks, my favorite venue (oh the perks of living in Colorado), I snatched up tickets right away. I’d been looking forward to this for months, but the day of the concert was gray and rainy, with predictions for big thunderstorms in the evening. I’ve been to many concerts at Red Rocks, some of them in the rain. Anyone who’s seen the iconic U2 videos knows that concerts in the rain at Red Rocks can be mystical.

So I was really bummed when my phone and email lit up with the news that the concert had been moved to an indoor arena. I called Red Rocks multiple times to clarify and to beg them to change it (yeah, like I have that kind of power, right?).  I whined all the way to the arena and during the prequel band. Or maybe they should be called prologue bands?

But once Phoenix hit the stage, their music worked its magic and I was transported to my super happy place, surrounded by others who felt the same.  I didn’t even mind when the guy behind me spilled beer all over my shoes and bag. What’s a concert without spilled booze, anyway?

I danced the whole night, along with most of the crowd, and got chills when they played songs that (for me) represent worlds I’ve created in my stories. It’s the first time I’ve been to a concert after I’ve used a band’s music to inspire my writing, and it was truly an otherworldly experience.

Another amazing part of this concert was how genuinely the band connected to the audience. We’ve all been to shows where performers just go through the motions. Phoenix seems to truly love performing and to love their audience. Their super-cute lead singer, Thomas Mars, came down on the floor to sing, surrounded by giddy fans.  And for the last song, he bounced through the crowd on the floor, waving and grabbing hands, and was carried back to the stage by the “mosh pit” fans passing him overhead. Talk about connecting with your fans!

I’ve been thinking a lot about art and audience, readers and writers, and the magic of connection. Artists create, yet the viewer/reader/audience also creates alongside, bringing their own experiences and emotions to the book or music or artwork, resulting in a synergistic experience that’s unique for each person, and yet also a shared experience. Art also inspires new art, which is what music does for my writing.

The amazing show by Phoenix connected me to the band, the other fans, and the words I’ve written while listening to their music.  It was pretty freaking awesome, even though it wasn’t under the shadows of the iconic Red Rocks.

When the band took the stage, Thomas Mars said, “We all wanted tonight’s concert to be at Red Rocks, but with your help, tonight can still be epic.”

And it was.


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