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Mitski with Tamino - MGM Music Hall (Boston) - February 15, 2024

16 February 2024

MGM Music Hall has been in operation for only a couple and a half years but Mitski has certainly claimed the mantle of longest and most successful residency, selling out four consecutive shows at the somewhat cavernous venue that’s tucked in right next to Fenway Park. Moving 20,000 tickets is a substantial feat, especially considering that the set remained unchanged over the four nights and there was not a great impetus to go see multiple nights. Well, Mitski fans are pretty diehard so I’m sure there were a decent amount of people who saw more than one performance of this stand.

The venue has two large balcony sections and a wide and deep floor that’s typically general admission, but these shows were oddly seated. Perhaps it was a crowd control measure taken to help tamper the more fanatical of the Mitski audience, the portion of which is sizeable. This strategy seemed to have worked fine on the opening night and people for the most part were in rapt attention, not shouting out inane garbage though I did see one woman facetiming the show with a friend of hers who looked to be eating a bowl of cereal.

Unsurprisingly, nearly every song from her latest record The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We was played (what’s she got against “When Memories Snow”? Maybe trying to shoehorn a noun into being a verb?) but she started the show off to a dramatic start with Laurel Halo’s “Everyone,” facing away from the crowd until she walked behind a giant backlit cylindrical scrim in the center of the stage, just her silhouette visible with the band ringing the stage in low light. The shrieks of the crowd when she first walked out on stage were also a valid test of how well my earplugs worked.

The newer material sounded pretty adjacent to the country-ish side of Angel Olsen and when she wasn’t playing, she related that she learned she was the answer to a Jeopardy! question tonight (will Mitski print up appropriate shirts?) as well as going into a bit where ‘the olds’ don’t do therapy but are the impetus for everyone else needing therapy.

The stage setup and production was deceptively simple but really effective; on “First Love/Late Spring” she was bathed in a column of light, and during “My Love Mine All Mine” a metallic mobile with reflective plates shot beams of light throughout the venue. For an artist who has a lot to say and a strong commitment to what she says, though very theatrical in delivery, Mitski doesn’t clobber you over the head while doing so.

Credit to Mitski for having several different openers on this tour, and tonight Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad or just Tamino took the stage with just his guitars (and a lute or maybe it was an oud?) and strode out fearlessly on the stage. Singing in a rich baritone, the songs dripped with forlorn loss and I’d reckon he’s got a pretty good familiarity with Leonard Cohen. Good start to the evening!