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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, December 9, 2023

St. Vincent stuns the House of Blues with heartfelt performance

The stage of the Boston leg of St. Vincent's “'Fear the Future”' tour is pictured in Fenway on Nov. 30, 2017.

On Thursday Nov. 30, the enthusiasm for the Boston leg of St. Vincent’s “Fear the Future” tour was palpable in Fenway. Fans fervidly lined up around the block outside The House of Blues, as some gave in to the temptations of a hot dog stand for second dinner. The venue was brimming with guests of all ages, with a heavy representation of college students and frequenters of the Boston concert scene.

For St. Vincent, real name Annie Clark, “Fear the Future” marked the first tour in two years. The goal was to promote her recently released album “MASSEDUCTION” (2017). The hiatus from touring was a much-needed lull in Clark’s musical career, as she had been on the road since the age of 16, when she followed her aunt and uncle’s jazz band as an assistant. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Clark revealed that she traversed different stages during this pause in an exploration of her identity away from charter buses and daily live performances. Each track on the new album is a testimony to a different phase St. Vincent went through in the past two years, part of an evolution as an individual and as an artist.

And this willingness to display her growth also seemed to be evident in Clark’s decision to open her performance with “Marry Me” (2007), the title track from the first album in her career. The musician peeked from behind a sizeable blue curtain on the far stage right, donning a pink leather outfit, with matching thigh-high boots consistent with the “MASSEDUCTION” aesthetic. “Marry Me” showcased St. Vincent’s fragile side, with lyrics relatable for the ones among us who always seem to choose the wrong person for whom to catch feelings: “I would have to agree / I'm as fickle as a paper doll / Being kicked.”

Clark, who got a different colored guitar after every song, performed a few tracks from her eponymous album “St. Vincent” (2015), such as “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse.” The blue curtain initially on stage progressively started to open up, revealing a backdrop of a shrieking face reminiscent of 1980s horror movies in Technicolor. However, it is significant to note that compared to shows from her 2015 tour, when Clark would climb on top of speakers (and one time even fell off back onto the stage), this concert felt a lot more intimate and mature, even when she was playing songs from her previous album.

Much to the crowd’s jubilation, Clark then commenced playing track from “MASSEDUCTION," including the catchy “Pills." The second song on her new album, “Pills” tells of a side of St. Vincent’s persona that loved indulging in “bacchanalia," which the artist tried to separate herself from while collaborating with producer Jack Antonoff last spring. The chorus of “Pills” also told the audience of Clark’s past, as it was originally sung by the singer’s ex-girlfriend, supermodel Cara Delevigne.

Clark gained momentum with “Masseduction” and “Sugarboy," before reaching the show’s first climax with one of the album’s two singles, “Los Ageless." For this track, Clark collaborated with her aforementioned uncle and aunt to create a pop-y, effervescent sound that clashes with the song’s dark lyrics. The lines “I guess that's just me, honey, I guess that's how I'm built / I try to write you a love song but it comes out a lament” recount St. Vincent’s frustration with her past relationships and her difficulty to disclose her feelings.

After a few more songs, St. Vincent performed the much-awaited “New York” to stunning visuals in the background, which showed her pressing her finger into a telephone-shaped cake. Once again, the singer employed a mélange of a cheery melody with somber lyrics: “I have lost a hero / I have lost a friend / But for you, darling / I'd do it all again." Some say these lines might refer to the passing of David Bowie, who acted as a true muse for St. Vincent’s artistic production.

Overall, the show was a definite success, providing the audience with a phenomenal concoction of stunning, plastic visuals and, of course, great music. Perhaps, the one critique that this Daily writer would make to the singer is that the performance lacked the same amount of energy to which Clark's audiences had grown accustomed. However, St. Vincent compensated for this purposeful lack of dynamism by putting on a heartfelt, intimate show.

Summary Despite lower energy compared to her shows in years past, St. Vincent delivered a beautiful mix of great music, breath-taking visuals and intimate lyrics to conquer her audience.
4.5 Stars