Liz Phair Live--Strong as Ever
J. Gordon
8/9/2003 1:20:34 PM

In one of the dumbest pairings this side of Lollapalooza, rock-goddess and legend Liz Phair is touring –and opening for—folky-pop boy-come lately, Jason Mraz. The audience at sold-out show at St. Louis’ Pageant last week were a dissimilar crowd, one half thirty-somethings and the other half teeny-boppers, and Liz no doubt taught the kids a thing or two.

Touring for her eponymously titled fourth CD [Capitol] Liz also loaded the set with the best from her ground-breaking debut, Exile From Guyville, which put her on the map.

Still breaking down expectations of women performers, Liz Phair is sexy--but not kittenish, and just as raw and honest and wonderfully unladylike as we’d expect. Wearing a wife-beater T and short army shorts with pointed high-heel boots sharpened to kill, Phair’s live show was refreshing in the way that her songs still feel rough and as real as the early days. Songs like her opener, “6’1” and “Divorce Song” hold an emotion and strength that can’t be tamped down. The new material feels much more polished but heard live, it had a fun, rocky edge that the slightly over-produced album lacks.

She joked about the cover of the new album, which featured her topless and pressed against her guitar with an orgasmic expression, and said that when she went into her dressing room, tour partner Jason Mraz had imitated the pose and left of Polaroid snapshot, which she now has hanging in her tour bus.

Some of her strongest songs on the new album played were “Extraordinary,” “Why Can’t I”, and “Favorite,” a song about her favorite pair of old shredded undies. “Maybe next year they’ll go on sale on Ebay or something.”

To Liz’s big-eyed delight at the fan appreciation, she launched into her biggest radio hit from her Whipsmart CD, “Supernova.” The kids in the crowd stood mouths open and stupified as she sweetly dropped out her naughty lines with a cherubic grin on her face, the older women grinned and the men hooted enthusiastically. Other Exile tracks included “Help Me Mary”, “Fuck and Run,”—which she mentioned got her in a lot of trouble with her parents—and her closing acoustic solo, “Flower,” which introduced a new generation to her shocking explicit beauty. With her show at under an hour, the set was way too short—and such a talented, fun and dirty girl needs at least two hours for four albums of great music. Hopefully, she’ll keep her promise of coming back to headline her own tour soon.


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