You should have seen this coming: A while back, you thought it was cute when the person you were dating spoke of her love for Phoebe’s music.
Coming off quadruple Grammy nominations, indie rock favorite Phoebe Bridgers kept the momentum going with one of the first in-person concerts since March 2020. Hosted in the Wal Mart parking lot in Burbank (for social distancing reasons), a huge number of vaccinated fans turned out to give live music its first hoorah since “two weeks to flatten the curve” over a year ago. The “Kyoto” singer blasted through choice cuts of her lauded Punisher album as well as fan favorites like “Motion Sickness” and “Funeral” before smashing her guitar in a nod to her much-discussed SNL performance.
Looking around the crowd though, one thing quickly became clear. Everyone in attendance had at one point dated you. There was Charlene from Tinder, Lucia from your year studying abroad in Rome. Even Taryn who you met at that other Phoebe Bridgers concert three years ago. No one is quite sure how it happened. Maybe someone hacked into your phone and sent tickets to everyone you marked with a little heart emoji. Or maybe there’s just something about you that attracts the kind of empowered, emotionally-charged young women who flock to Phoebe in droves.
You have to wonder as they all pumped their fists in unison to “Killer,” if any of them were thinking grudging thoughts about you. I mean, most of these relationships ended far from amicably (Genevieve over there called you a selfish prick before slamming the door in your face). Plus Veronica and Dani could be seen chatting it up at the pop-up bar near Krispy Kreme donuts. They were probably trading nasty details about your respective time together. Sources tell us you cheated on one with the other. No wonder they feel catharsis singing along to existential angst like:
The billboard said “The End is Near”
I turned around, there was nothing there
Yeah, I guess the end is here.
You should have seen this coming. A while back you thought it was cute when the person you were dating spoke of her love for Phoebe’s music. “What is it about me and Phoebe fans,” you’d quip. But seeing the crowd at this triumphant return show, it’s truly no laughing matter.
After the second encore where Phoebe trotted out “Kyoto” and “Punisher” to roaring applause, we thought we spotted a lone person among the crowd who wasn’t involved with you at some time. Upon further consideration though we realized that no, this was Kaitlyn Knight from second grade. You would bring her a packet of Gushers from home and she would hold your hand through lunch. Twenty years later and her bedroom is adorned with Phoebe posters and she houses limited edition Punisher pajamas in her closet.
We’re starting to think all of this is far more than a cosmic accident. There must be some sort of cause and effect between dinner and drinks with you and an avid love for the mistress of TikTok depression bops.
Or maybe, just maybe, this isn’t about you at all. In a series of post-show interviews, many of the women in attendance had a hard time conjuring you from memory. Elizabeth, your college girlfriend of two years only had this to say about you: “Who?” You were just a truck stop on their highway to Phoebe. And honestly, how could you possibly measure up to one of this generation’s sharpest songwriters?
With live music on its way back, you may want to steer clear of Phoebe’s shows if you don’t want to open old wounds or remind these women that you, you know, exist. A Post Malone concert may be a better experience for you. But those tickets have already been bought up by all your high school bullies.
:: stream/purchase Punisher here ::
— — — —
📸 © Anthony Delanoix
an album by Phoebe Bridgers