Let me tell you, Fun. never disappoints with their live show. From seeing them open for Panic! At The Disco in 2011, at the Tabernacle earlier this year, and then again at the Family Circle Cup ion Daniel Island last Tuesday, I always leave the venue beyond satisfied.
Tegan and Sara have been opening for them on this leg of the Most Nights tour. It’s rare to go to one your favorite band’s shows and have the opener be yet another band you’re a big fan of. I was beyond pleased with their set, even though the one song I really wanted to hear live (“Dark Come Soon”) wasn’t played. Most of the songs in their set are from their most recent album Heartthrob, which was released earlier this year. For me, the highlight of the set was their performance of “Where Does The Good Go” from their album So Jealous. It was nice to hear one of their older, more stripped down songs, free of synth beats and poppy overtones in the midst of the material from Heartthrob.
I would love to see Tegan and Sara play as headliners in the future–they’re so in tune with each other musically, which can be attributed to their bond as twin sisters. For many in-the-family music groups, the dynamic becomes twisted after years of touring in an attempt to gain momentum. It surprised me to find out that they’re both in their thirties, have been touring since they were fifteen with the likes of Neil Young, The Pretenders, Ryan Adams, and Weezer, and they’ve just begun to gain the momentum they deserve. I feel they’ve found the right audience to distribute their music to while touring with Fun. Many Fun. fans such as myself are appreciative of Tegan and Sara’s diversity–they can produce a whimsical, folky ballad that takes your heart out of your chest and beats it with guitar strings, but have also proved their ability to write pop anthems with just as much emotional impact, just delivered in a different package. Their song “Now I’m All Messed Up” isn’t as mopey as anything found on their previous records, but played live it’s tear-inducing, what with the spoken and unspoken messages battling it out in the chorus with the lines “Go (please stay), go if you want, I can’t stop you.” They closed their opening set with the most popular song from Heartthrob, “Closer,” which left us all beyond amped for Fun. to take the stage.
After a sample from “Stars,” a spotlight falls on Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, and Andrew Dost in the back corner of the stage, dressed in cocktail jackets and bow ties, playing the first notes of “Some Nights (Intro).” At this point I started freaking out simply because I had been dying to hear that song live since first hearing it. It was the perfect way to start the set and it was impossible not to scream along with. Yes, I am that girl.
They launched into “One Foot” next, a song that can only be described as a romp with a strong sociopolitical message about overcoming the burdens placed on us by mixing organized religion with politics and repression of basic human rights. A lot of people underestimate the message of this particular song, and only appreciate its sick beat and “f*ck you” tone. I was beyond excited to hear the beginning notes of “Walking the Dog,” my second favorite song off of their first albums Aim & Ignite. Again, I became that obnoxious fangirl acting she was seeing one of her all time favorite bands for the first time when it was actually her third. It was incredible.
They played “All Alone” and “Why Am I The One” before playing “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be),” another of my favorites from their debut album and leading into what is arguably the most popular song from Aim & Ignite, “All The Pretty Girls.” The fact that they played “Carry On” and “The Gambler” one after the other almost put me into a coma simply from the sheer joy I felt. “Carry On” is special simply because it’s so empowering and comforting, mixing subtlety and extravagance in the music and coupling that with uplifting lyrics. “The Gambler” is my absolute favorite Fun. song, hands down. It’s full of love, nostalgia, and sentiment–the simple piano and guitar picking during the show just added more of those feelings. They accomplished the difficult feat of making an arena spectacle feel like an intimate coffee shop performance. Again, freaking incredible. During “Carry On” the confetti canons were set off, making those few minutes even more surreal.
Before closing the main set with a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Nate engaged the crowd in a nice singalong during the bridge of “We Are Young.” Even though most of us seemed to be having some trouble, it was still a beautiful moment and the band seemed proud of us for trying as they left the stage. After a few moments of nonstop screaming with consistently growing hysteria, they came back and threw down on “Some Nights.” The crowd went wild–even the stoic, seemingly annoyed gentleman sitting next to me was singing along. They closed their encore with “Stars,” the unofficial anthem of us crazy Fun. fans. It was beautiful; everything from the lights to the noise to the other fans dancing like idiots right alongside me.
One of the things that has always impressed me about Fun. is their ability to work a crowd, no matter the size. Nate Ruess has a ridiculous amount of energy and his performance would probably have put a common man in the hospital from overexertion after the first two songs. He’s constantly running all over the stage, trying to give each section an equal amount of attention. Jack Antonoff is one of the most talented guitar players in contemporary popular music, a talent he really show cases in his band Steel Train, but with Fun. he only really gets the opportunity to do so on stage. Andrew Dost is the undoubtedly backbone of the triad, constantly manning the piano and carrying the harmonies in songs like “All The Pretty Girls.” The touring members were all enthusiastic, constantly interacting with each other as well as the main three. It’s obvious that they all genuinely care about each other and love the music they play night after night. I’ve never left a show feeling so satisfied. I felt like I had completed a crazy journey in the span of three hours, what with Tegan and Sara setting the bar very high and Fun. beyond surpassing it. Everyone who doubts Fun.’s legitimacy as musicians has obviously never even seen a video of their live performance, let alone see one in person. It’s hard to describe the experience using only words–they’re so useful most of the time but they can’t do this stop on the Most Nights tour justice.
*I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I couldn’t take my DSLR into the arena, but I did my best with my trusty iPhone.