Photos - Liz Phair - Nov. 11, 2003, Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
Official Site
Much like a flower that blooms in the winter, Liz Phair is blossoming at a time that would seem unlikely to most. Early in her career, Phair was a solid favorite among young women coming to grips with their sexuality and those who should not be categorized as feminists, but rather understand and thrive on female spirituality. Then, after years and years of cloudiness in bubble gum pop, Phair burst back into a music scene in which she played a small role in shaping.

Not that Phair would ever be considered a bubble gum pop star, but Phair was one of the few who put her sexuality on display in both her lyrics and her actions, and it didn’t matter to her who was listening or watching. Now, we have Spears and Aguilera and every other young female rocker singing about being dirty and kissing each other, but it started a long time ago when Phair was singing about getting laid and young females getting in touch with their sexuality.

Now, Phair is gracing the same pages as these young stars with as much attitude and more sexuality and a better body than most. But Phair has also come to the table with a new record with as much attitude as pop and as much good music as good looks.

On tour, a great band and better music back Phair. Backing her latest release, the aptly titled Liz Phair and her first release in over 5 years, Phair and the crew have a very scaled down show, as one would expect. There is no glitz, no pyro and definitely no costume changes and dancers. These are a few amps, some guitars, and a ton of great, live music. Phair’s current radio success could lead new fans into thinking she is some pop star whom likes to be in the spotlight and be a traditional pop icon. But aside from her appearances on VH-1 talking about pop icons, Phair does not try to be one of them. Her show is as naked as her body on the album cover, and just like that same photo, the only thing protecting her from the outside world is her guitar. In 1993, Phair became the symbol of women angst with her Exile in Guyville, and has since been stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Because of her lyrics and fan base, Phair fell into the same cavern as Sarah McLachlan did when she started Lilith Fair. They became poster children for the women’s movement, when really all they wanted was to be themselves and be free in their expression.

So, maybe there should be a Lilith Phair? I doubt it. In fact, hell no! There should only continue to be women who rock like Liz. Women who be themselves and want to express their sexuality because they are comfortable with their vulnerabilities. Women who play their own instruments, write their own songs and perform not for the love of fame but for the love of music. Women who can be pop stars without being glamorized dolls. Women who can walk on stage with minimal gear and no choreographed routines and still put on a performance that leaves the audience breathless. Women like Liz Phair. Rock on, Liz, and okay, sure, it never hurts to pose in your panties, either.

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