When Phoebe Bridgers takes the stage, she does so quietly, ever so unassuming. She hardly says hello to the sold-out crowd gazing up at her in awe, and still in between songs she’s demure, even when an audience member tries to start a fight and a girl asks Phoebe to quell it. “Oh…I don’t know man,” she says, quickly shifting into the intro to her next song.
When she sings though, her walls come down. She closes her eyes and opens her lungs, filling the room with a bone-shaking sadness that is abrupt yet appropriate, the size of which you still do not quite expect, no matter how many times you’ve replayed the album. The songs off her stunning debut Stranger in the Alps feel bigger than the Troubadour, and she runs through them with such effortless ache that you hardly blink when she mentions that this, the last show on the “Farewell Tour,” is their 41st show.
She brings out her confidant Conor Oberst to perform “Would You Rather” and “Double Joe” by Simon Joyner, and later Noah Gunderson for an assist on “Killer,” but despite her famous friends, all eyes are on Phoebe. She carries it with her, glowing through the set, unable to muffle her smile in between songs. She breaks our hearts with a cover of Tom Petty’s “It’ll All Work Out” and later stitches them back together, ending the set, as well as her first headlining beast of a tour, with Sheryl Crowe’s “If It Makes You Happy.”
The first time she played the Troubadour, she paid to play. Once, she says, she ran up onstage and kissed the bassist of Born Ruffians.
She says everyone she loves is in her hometown, at the Troubadour at that moment; her band, her friends, her mom, maybe even a girl that saw her very first show. But most of all, tonight, Phoebe is there.