Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

The emotional ricochet of Mitski at MGM Fenway Music Hall

Clara Faulkner

On Feb. 18, MGM Fenway Hall witnessed an enchantment as potent as the deep shadows cast by a grand, looming curtain at the center of the stage. As Mitski and her ensemble graced the platform, an ethereal presence descended upon the hall during the three-night stop on her “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” tour.

The evening commenced with a mesmerizing performance by Tamino, the Belgian-Egyptian virtuoso, whose soulful and contemplative melodies captivated the sold-out audience in Boston. With a hypnotic voice that seemed to transcend boundaries, he delivered original arrangements and moving lyrics with a minimalist style that hypnotized the audience.

Entwined within its album title, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We,” the tour delves into the intersection of nature, animality, and human connections, infused with Americana themes. The audience remained transfixed throughout the concert, their cell phones remaining in their bags, untouched. Mitski’s silhouette gradually emerged behind the curtain, shaped by unseen hands from beyond. Then, the gentle strumming of the song “Everyone” filled the air, instantly silencing the murmurs and turning heads in unison.

As the audience showered the singer with praise before her first song of the night, Mitski led them through a breathing exercise aimed at mastering projection from the diaphragm rather than the throat. This technique, she emphasized, is crucial for maintaining the health of her vocal cords.

Mitski possesses a unique ability to captivate audiences with her stage presence. Her choreography defies convention, while her ensemble’s harmonious backing vocals amplify the potency of her voice. Witnessing Mitski’s live performance surpassed all expectations, offering an immersive experience beyond what can be felt through mere streaming.

Mitski’s stage presence is marked by an autonomy that sets her apart from other artists. Rather than relying on traditional instruments, she harnesses the power of her own body to convey the essence of her songs. Through expressive gestures like air guitar strumming, mimicking violin melodies, and dynamic movements such as kicking and slashing, Mitski brings her narratives to life. 

Certain moments of the performance inspired silent wonder, while others evoked sudden jolts and shivers within a romantically charged atmosphere. As Mitski sang, a mysterious hush enveloped the audience, leaving an indelible impression. “Working for the Knife” introduced a distinctive ambiance to the show.

In the contemplative aftermath of Mitski’s introspective musings on the knife’s symbolic weight, the palpable silence of the audience hung heavy, each moment pregnant with anticipation. Then, like a beacon cutting through the stillness, came the unforgettable performance of “My Love Mine All Mine.” 

Mitski’s aura blended effortlessly with the shadows cast by the lights, capturing the delicate interplay of self and other, desire and restraint. Shimmering, flower-like panels descended from the raised circular stage lights during the song, adding to the enchanting atmosphere enveloping the stage.

Mitski’s impact extends far beyond the immediate gratification of a typical concert experience. Instead of leaving the venue with ringing ears and a euphoric high, her performance leaves one with a profound sense of introspection and understanding. 

As the final notes faded into the air, the audience’s yearning for more was palpable, prompting Mitski to return to the stage for an encore.

As Mitski delved into the soul-stirring melodies of “Nobody,” the audience couldn’t help but be swept away by the magnetic energy emanating from the stage. Applause filled the air, echoing the collective appreciation for Mitski’s evocative performance. 

A sense of anticipation hung as the opening chords of “Machine Washing Heart” reverberated through the venue. It was a moment of culmination, marked by a stirring crescendo of emotion. The audience rose to their feet for the first time that night, their applause thundering as Mitski delivered the final notes with unwavering intensity.

The raw vulnerability in her voice resonated throughout the venue, captivating hearts and minds alike. With every strum of the air guitar and every haunting melody, Mitski’s artistry left an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of all fortunate enough to witness her transcendent performance.

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About the Contributor
Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor
Clara Faulkner wears multiple hats at the Beacon, serving as both the Business Director and the Living Arts Editor. Prior to assuming these roles, she demonstrated her expertise as an assistant editor, specializing in living arts—a domain she is deeply passionate about, fueled by her love for pop culture and entertainment. Additionally, Clara served as a writer for the Boston Globe, is a part of NBCUniversal Entertainment Group, and contributed to the music team at Intersect Magazine. In addition to her editorial responsibilities, Clara actively participates in various campus organizations, including SPJ, Associate Entertainment Producer at WEBN-TV, programming director at WECB. fm, and AEPHI. Outside of her writing pursuits, Clara immerses herself in culinary exploration, cinematic enjoyment, and language acquisition, consistently seeking fresh experiences and knowledge.

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