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Show Review: half alive takes fans through the seasons at Phoenix tour opener

A massive white sheet obstructed the stage as the first notes of “Tip Toes” resounded through the speakers, and shadows danced behind the curtain to create dizzying changing shapes — such was the memorable introduction to half alive’s set in Phoenix, their first show on the U.S. leg of their Conditions of a Punk tour. 

As any fan of the trio can attest, the live performance is rather theatrical with song and dance almost equally represented. JA Collective dancers Jordan Johnson and Aidan Carberry tour with half alive and bring a captivating element to the show that’s rarely seen outside of arena tours or large pop groups. And throughout the 25 (!) song setlist on Saturday night, the dancers showcased their fluid, entangled choreography — both as a duo and sometimes with vocalist Josh Taylor. 

On the music side, the setlist was structured to transition between seasons, starting with Summer (and “Summerland,” naturally) and progressing through a calendar year. So many of the trio’s songs reflect on the passage of time and the changes of life, and they were brought to life beautifully as seasons: “Hot Tea” as part of Winter, “still feel.” as part of Spring, and “Never Been Better” as part of Fall, just to name a few. The changing colors of the stage added to each section of the set and added to the ambience. 

Fans at the barricade screamed every word, and even the attendees who hung toward the back filmed most of the show (especially the cover of Phil Collins’ “Strangers Like Me” from the Tarzan soundtrack.) The crowd was fully invested from start to finish, and the merch line that wrapped around the lobby proved it. 

After some heavy hitters (“RUNAWAY” and “creature”) during the final season, half alive closed their set with the blooming Spring on stage fading back into Summer. The cycle was complete — and will begin again in a different city with a different crowd.

Check out all the photos! 

Story and photos by Taylor Knauf

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