More than a decade after the release of the iconic “Midnight City,” M83 is back in the game with new album Fantasy and their first tour in several years. The group kicked off their run with two nights in Phoenix, resurrecting tracks that haven’t been played live in more than a decade and bringing the new album to the stage.
Anthony Gonzales, the mainstay of M83, was a man of few words during the set, keeping the focus on the soundscapes that reverberated throughout the venue. From the rock-tinged “Oceans Niagara” to the modern classic “Gone,” the group washed the crowd in blues and greens as everyone remained transfixed on the ever-changing visuals. Projections behind the live band depicted artwork from Fantasy, and smoke spilled off the edge of the stage like a gentle waterfall. The colorful streams of light only added to the ethereality of the backdrop.
With smooth transitions from one song to the next, it often felt there were no breaks in the performance — in fact, it was a jolt of surprise when Gonzales thanked everyone for coming out to see the show and closed the main set with “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea.” And there was a low-grade panic in the crowd, full of fans who wanted to see “Midnight City” specifically.
It didn’t take long for M83 to deliver. Gonzales, Loïc Maurin, Kaela Sinclair, and
Joe Berry reemerged as Gonzales shouted, “Phoenix!” louder and louder to rouse the crowd. Their ultimate hit kicked off a short encore that also featured “Mirror” before the outro, one final collection of synths and melodies that left the fans mesmerized and grateful for the group’s comeback.
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Story and photos by Taylor Knauf