When a band tours without a new album out, you always know there are a two possibilities for the setlist: greatest hits (best case scenario) or trying out new material live (worst case scenario). For Phantogram‘s latest tour, it was in-between but somehow it never felt like the worst case scenario.
Of the 17 songs played, five were new songs including their set opener, “News Today.” This felt like a classic misstep, opening the show with a song not everyone can sing along with. Phantogram fans seem pretty resilient and stuck with the band. They were rewarded with a five song run that spanned the bands career, including the much loved “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” before getting another new track “Into Happiness.”
I’m willing to give the band a little break here because “Into Happiness” was released as a single at the end of May and it seemed like a lot of fans in attendance knew it. The same can be said for the band’s latest single “Mr. Impossible” which came out at the beginning of August. When the band played that song nearing the end of the set, it played like an old favorite.
They followed “Mr. Impossible” with one of their biggest hits “Fall In Love” before closing the set with a new track, “Ceremony.” Before “Ceremony,” however, Sarah Barthel took to the spotlight to talk about her sister, Becky, who committed suicide during the recording of Phantogram’s last album, Three. It was quite a moving speech, especially since musicians are generally expected to take out their emotions in the music and not really talk about it. Between the speech and “Ceremony,” which is about Becky’s death, a lot of the crowd was in tears as the set closed.
There was a small break between the end of the set and the encore which allowed the crowd to dry their tears as much as to allow Sarah to compose herself to carry on. The band finished off with “Answer” from Three and their biggest hit, “When I’m Small.”
It was a little bit of a weird vibe leaving the venue. Some people were clearly still shaken from Sarah’s speech; others were just thrilled to have heard their favorite song. Either way, everyone left the Tabernacle happy that September night.