Plains Of Abraham (Festival d’été de Québec)
July 12, 2018
On time, as it goes with Festival d’été de Québec, Phoenix took the stage at the Plains Of Abraham right at the crack of 8 p.m. and they were the perfect band to say goodbye to another beautiful day in Quebec City. Naturally fluent in French, these Versaille boys have always oozed good quality indie vibes. Remember how amazing their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was when it came out in 2009? Whether you do or not, you couldn’t help but be reminded as frontman Thomas Mars and friends burst into “Lisztomania” as the sun was setting while the Plains of Abraham started to fill up for the evening. With an estimated audience each night of approximately 80,000, it takes a bit of time to get all those bodies in bounds and ready to rock.
Phoenix has always been an extremely positive band, their bass drum even had a cute red neon heart on it and their visuals were colourful. Lots of pop culture imagery at play on the screen behind them and then a random shot of the Colosseum in Rome. You know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but neither was Phoenix’s fan base. That said they did rely on calling back all the old hits from their highly coveted fourth studio album; “1901” being the huge standout that got Quebecers shaking and in the perfect mood for the almighty Beck.
The French may have been defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham back in the historic battle of 1759 but everyone was winning when Beck took the stage. Looking dapper as ever in a black and leopard print button-up with a leather jacket and his signature chapeau, Beck started his set off with fan favourite, “Devils Haircut.” He wasted no time cutting straight to the nostalgia of yesteryear as he segued into “Loser,” but it wasn’t long before he was bringing it back to the present day with the first single off his latest album, “Wow.” That song doesn’t really make me say wow but the act is so tailored for festivals now that you kinda gotta think these songs were written exactly for moments like these.
Beck and his band work exceptionally well together. They’re like a family or something. He pays special attention to their contributions and each one is highlighted in their own way throughout the set. With no egos at play, the group of musicians collectively contribute to the legendary concert experience that hits all of the important touch points of the singer’s career, throwing in a little “Raspberry Beret” Prince tribute for good measure.
Beck started out as a folk artist but has been refining his craft as a top notch stadium artist ever since he got out of his Sea Change funk. Whatever science the young man is spitting, his fans are picking it up. And even tho he didn’t happen to speak the language, Quebec City was indeed fully immersed in the wow factor of 2018 Beck.