Live and kicking

Live reviews: 2007 in review
By BOSTON PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  December 17, 2007
THE POLICE AT FENWAY: Peaking as a unit.

Yes, we suffer from an embarrassment of riches when it come to live music here in the Boston area. Whether it’s in theaters like the Orpehum, legendary clubs like the Paradise, or teeming indie venues like the Middle East, T.T. the Bear’s Place, the Abbey Lounge, Great Scott, and P.A.’s Lounge, there’s always music to be had. Even our museums (the MFA and the ICA) are getting into the action. The choices can seem limitless. So we do our best and aim, as a sage once said, to choose wisely. Here, in chronological order, are 10 of the best shows from 2007.

Sonny Rollins | Symphony Hall | April 6
Not everything was perfect for 76-year-old jazz-sax legend Sonny Rollins when he brought his sextet to town in April. As Jon Garelick reported, Symphony Hall’s acoustics were less than ideal for the group’s amplified sound. No matter: the show was “as flawed as any Rollins performance I’ve seen, and also one of the greatest.”

Peter Bjorn and John | Paradise Rock Club | May 4
Will Spitz was expecting a polite indie-pop set from Swedish upstarts Peter Bjorn and John back in May. What he got instead was “an aggressive, assured performance reminiscent of their fellow countrymen the Hives,” as a well as a cameo by Heather D’Angelo from Au Revoir Simone that helped “make the moment transcendent.”

Deerhunter | Institute of Contemporary Art | July 12
Bradford Cox, the arresting frontman of Atlanta’s Deerhunter, didn’t emerge wearing a frock or engage in the kind of self-abuse he’s known for when the band came to the ICA’s new Barbara Lee Theater. He didn’t have to: when the curtains behind the band parted to reveal the sun setting over the waterfront, Cox’s poetic turns of verse found their place amid the chime and churn of interlocking guitars and, as Matt Ashare wrote, everyone — band and audience alike — was simply “caught up in the moment.”

The White Stripes | Agganis Arena | July 23
Even without adding a third member, Detroit’s red-and-white-striped duo seem to sound bigger and bigger — and even in an arena-sized venue. Frontman Jack White manages to switch between Led Zep guitar riffery and overdriven organ interludes without missing any of the beats provided by the unwavering Meg White. Matt Ashare reported, “Their on-stage rapport remains unsurpassed, with Meg following Jack’s every little shudder and twitch as he moves from riff to riff, song to song, and solo to solo.”

The Police | Fenway Park | July 28
It’s become an annual rock-and-roll ritual: every summer someone big steps onto the stage at the nation’s most revered ballpark, and the result feels larger than life. This July it was the reunited Police. Brett Milano wrote that “the three band members seemed to be keeping their egos in check, determined to peak as a unit or not at all.” And peak they did.

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