It was chilly by the lake with a slight drizzle in the air as Phoebe Bridgers brought her Reunion Tour to the Huntington Bank Pavilion in Chicago on June 4.
The brisk night air proved to be the perfect pairing for Bridgers’ melancholic music as the singer-songwriter and her band wrapped the sold-out venue in a blanket of songs both comforting and cathartic beginning with the Stranger in the Alps single “Motion Sickness.” Much like her headlining set at Pitchfork 2021, the setlist unfolded in a series of fables as the giant screens on stage displayed a Punisher picture-book setting the scene for page-turning tales of heartbreak, regret, joy, escape and adventures of “dreaming through Tokyo skies.”
“How’s it going? It’s good to be back here,” Bridgers said early in the evening. “Happy Pride, everybody! Don’t let all the appropriation get you down.”
Patient and still “Smoke Signals” provided an opportunity to reflect on the past, look forward, and collectively yell, “f*ck the cops.” Bridgers serenaded the front row on “Punisher” and they returned the favor later in the night as she shared the microphone with fans. The sweet heartbreaking tones of trumpeter JJ Kirkpatrick (AKA Jimmie Lee Jr) were at the forefront of “Halloween” as Bridgers and guitarist Harrison Whitford shared a tender moment resting their heads on one another while exchanging vocals.
“Sometimes I talk about healthcare before I play this song,” Bridgers explained while introducing “Chinese Satellite.” “Sometimes I talk about how everyone should have access to abortions and all the stuff.”
She continued to explained that when she advocates for basic healthcare as well as trans rights or to be able to say gay, people have actually walked out of her concerts. While acknowledging that she is typically preaching to the choir, Bridgers says good riddance to those who want to restrict the rights of others.
“Get the f*ck out of the show,” she said to these oppressive forces before sharing her gratitude for the support of fans. “I love you guys so much.”
“Chinese Satellite” was one of the many songs on the setlist that started small and blossomed into an all out jam. In this case, a raucous ending fueled by drummer Marshall Vore and bassist Emily Retsas brought the spacey song to another galaxy. Elsewhere, “Funeral” slowly took on a joyful twang as thousands of voices united to sing of sadness while “Moon Song” felt like it was written specifically for every single individual in the audience.
Bridgers continually expressed her love for fans throughout the night and when one member of the audience needed medical assistance, she calmly stopped the show, asked for help, and made sure everyone was okay before finishing out the night with “Scott Street,” “Graceland Too,” “I Know the End” and more.
Earlier, Chicago’s own Claud – who is signed to Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records label – began the show with an entertaining set that included songs like “That’s Mr. Bitch to You” and “Jordan.” Being a local artist, their mom, dad, and other family members were in the crowd cheering loudly.
“Hi mom and dad,” Claud shouted out before sharing the “sad song,” “This Town.”
Phoebe Bridgers’ Reunion Tour continues to makes stops in the U.S. through mid-June. Click here to pick-up tickets and check out photos from the Chicago date below.
(Photos by Laurie Fanelli)