To the editor:
Permit us to deconstruct Warren Sentence’s review [October 30] of Liz Phair’s October 25 concert at the Vic Theatre, which we too attended.
Two paragraphs about a novel that is, tangentially, “about” Phair. Two paragraphs about the slide show that preceded Phair’s performance. One paragraph about Phair’s concert appearances of five years ago. One paragraph about Phair’s onstage comfort level–or, more accurately, Sentence’s perceptions thereof–at the Vic. And finally, two paragraphs about Phair’s choice of songs.
Hmmm. What’s missing? Only the concert itself. In eight sizable paragraphs, Sentence makes no mention of Phair’s distinctive singing voice, which was in fine form; her musicianship, which likewise impressed; her work’s consistently incisive lyrical content; or the audience’s enthusiastic response throughout (no small feat for Phair after that interminable and redundant slide show). His estimation of the actual musical performance is confined to a single word, namely his description of Phair’s backing band: “crack.”
The “confidence [and] sex appeal” Sentence was hoping to find in Phair were very much in evidence; he may have found her “hard to watch,” but trust us, she was anything but. Perhaps Sentence should have come down to the main floor and pushed himself up close like we did, because from where he sat, he missed one hell of a show. We’re positively dazzled, though, by his ability to identify by name all those “Wicker Park fixtures” pictured in the slides. And, after all, isn’t that what good rock criticism’s all about?
Paul and Christine K. McComas