Fans who stayed on the polo field until nearly 1 a.m. Sunday for the very end of French electro-rock band Phoenix’s set probably did so because of the rumor that French house-music duo Daft Punk was going to make a surprise appearance. No such luck.
Last week the same rumor circulated, but with a tasty surprise center in that R&B; and hip-hop king R. Kelly made a totally unexpected appearance with Phoenix. Maybe the Daft Punk rumor was planted as a red herring to keep the R. Kelly thing a secret. It was a persistent notion nonetheless, and it did make the surprise-free ending of Phoenix’s second main stage set a bit anticlimactic. A consequence both predictable and unfair.
The band’s light show was so sparkly and extreme that it only added fuel to that fire. Amid the massive explosions of pink and blue that flashed across multiple screens, it was easy to picture the two helmet-headed DJs emerging from the frothy ether in a giant pyramid. If that had happened the crowd would have lost its mind.
With minds intact, however, the audience still managed to dance its face off to Phoenix’s many hits including an extended jam version of “Fences,” during which singer Thomas Mars’ expert use of falsetto, Bee Gees style, was on full display; and “1901,” the delightfully chewy synth song that has girls across the world asking how to make Mars be anything they ask and more.
“This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for,” Mars said at one point during the set. “So this is a huge deal for us.”
For its encore the band chose to do a super-slow version of “Countdown.” It was sweet and simple, and later Mars climbed up high on the stage rigging before throwing himself into the audience for a long, slow, somewhat awkward, crowd surfing session.
It was no “One More Time,” but in this increasingly EDM-fixated era, what could be?