One of this fall’s most exciting tour lineups, consisting of PVRIS, Lights, and Flint Eastwood, came through Chicago on the final day of PVRIS’ North American headlining tour. Due to a miscommunication on the venue’s site about the show time, myself and hundreds of others lined up outside the Riviera Theatre, waiting to get inside while Flint Eastwood played. Most people got in around the last 30 second of Flint Eastwood’s final song and eagerly waited for Lights’ set to begin during the set changeover.
I was able to see Lights for the second time in November 2015, which is the last time she was headlining a show in Chicago. I remembered being so impressed not only by her music and how it translates live but also by her wonderful stage presence. She seems to always have so much fun playing music and being able to interact with fans, and this time around it was no different. The band got on stage, starting the intro for Lights’ newest release, Skin and Earth. She walked out on stage to cheers, covered in blue lights, going right into “Skydiving”. Without skipping a beat, she went right into “From All Sides”, a bonus track from 2014’s Little Machines. Taking her microphone off the stand, she made it a point to walk around all sides of the stage to interact with fans on the barricade while showing off her vocal ability, not missing a beat. She continued with a few more songs off Little Machines, such as “Speeding” and “Same Sea”, followed by “The Last Thing On Your Mind” off of 2009 debut full-length, The Listening. She closed out her 12-song set with “Giants” off of Skin and Earth, and ended with fan-favorite, “Up We Go” off of Little Machines.
Street lamps set up towards the back of the stage lit up as drummer Justin Nice, guitarist Alex Babinski, bassist Brian MacDonald, and vocalist Lynn Gunn took the stage, immediately going into “Heaven” off of their newest release, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell. Lynn Gunn sat at a piano, lit by strobing street lamps, before walking up to the mic set up center-stage to continue the song. Next, they played “St. Patrick” off of 2014’s White Noise, followed by “Smoke”. The band has a way of bringing the mood and visuals they establish in their music and videos to life and they’ve done it especially well on this tour. It’s also complemented by the energy they all have on stage when songs pick up in pace. By the middle of “Smoke”, a fan on the barricade had thrown a pride flag on to the stage, which was picked up and proudly displayed on a mic stand. The rest of the set consisted of songs off of both records, including “You and I” off of the deluxe version of White Noise. The band ended their set with “Anyone Else”, “My House”, and played “No Mercy” during the encore. The last time I had seen PVRIS was on Warped Tour a few years ago and then opening up for Pierce the Veil, and they’ve absolutely outdone themselves this time around. It’s clear that they have a precise understanding of what they want to do, how they want to be seen, how to put on a memorable show, and how to make all those things work together, and they’ve done it flawlessly.