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  • Julia Finocchiaro

Mitski's Mesmerizing and Magical Performance at Boston's MGM Music Hall

In a post to her Instagram account @mitskileaks back in October, Mitski told us about her hopes of offering a “more intimate experience to the audience” during her residence-style tour this winter and spring in support of her new album This Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We. While I only got to see one show of many, Mitski absolutely delivered on this vision playing her third of four nights at Boston’s MGM Music Hall. With seating set up on the typically quite large GA floor, the venue was transformed into a quiet, welcoming theater for fans to enjoy the full experience of the show that Mitski was about to put on.

The night began with a gorgeous acoustic performance by opening act Tamino. With just a guitar, Tamino captivated the audience with his delicate but powerful voice. As someone who routinely attends upbeat pop and alternative shows, the seated atmosphere was something I was unfamiliar with, but something I greatly welcomed. You could hear a pin drop as seemingly every audience member paid full attention to Tamino, a level of respect rarely found amongst audience members at standing shows. Tamino played against a black curtain illuminated by just a couple spotlights for nearly forty minutes before thanking the Boston crowd and heading off stage, leaving the audience eagerly anticipating Mitski’s arrival.

During the changeover, I had the opportunity to roam around the floor and observe fans posing for pictures with their friends in front of the stage wearing all sorts of cool outfits and makeup looks. You could sense the joy and connection these fans had with each other through their mutual love for Mitski, even those who didn’t know each other. 

Around five minutes after nine, the lights went down and the intro music started playing. Fans scurried back to take their seats as the lights came up, welcoming Mitski to the stage. She opened with “Everyone” off of her album Laurel Hell, performing a large chunk of the song as a shadow behind a curtain draped in front of the center platform on the stage, creating quite a cool visual effect. She followed this up with “Buffalo Replaced” off her newest album, and “Working for the Knife,” once again off Laurel Hell. Although it was just her and the microphone for much of the first part of the set, you could tell that the show had been meticulously choreographed, down to Mitski’s hand gestures and movements throughout her performance. 

Throughout the set, Mitski would pause between songs to talk to fans. Her first interaction with the crowd was right before “The Frost” to tell them that she was “having a great day” after having visited “the love of her life” - a dog that she had met when visiting with an adoption group here in Boston. Unfortunately, she knew that her cats back in Nashville would not be happy about the prospect of a new four-legged friend, so she wasn’t able to take him home this time. She went on to sing some more songs, including “The Deal,” “Valentine, Texas,” and eventually, the somewhat ironically-named for the situation, “I Bet on Losing Dogs.”

Mitski also stopped to give a lengthy shoutout to Boston-based music blog Allston Pudding, commenting how they were the first publication to review her show back when she was performing at an apartment in Jamaica Plain. Since then, the blog has consistently covered her shows whenever she is in Boston, and as someone who knows many of the lovely and hard working folks at Allston Pudding, this was absolutely a well-deserved shoutout to a great team of music journalists.

Somewhere around song four or five, the curtain behind the center stage platform had dropped, revealing lights, her band, and other props like two wooden chairs that Mitski would use throughout much of the show. Mitski danced with light beams and sang amongst shiny metal ribbons hanging from the ceiling during the viral “My Love Mine All Mine” and “Last Words of a Shooting Star.” She would also take the time later in the set to speak with some of her much younger fans, asking if there was anyone in the audience who was born before 2012 (there was!). Mitski had a positive outlook for all of them, however, saying how she is currently 33 and “feeling great.”

Mitski went on to give stellar performances of songs across the whole range of her discography, including “Geyser,” “I Love Me After You,” “Star,” “Heaven,” and “Happy.” She closed out the main set with “Love Me More” and “Fireworks” before returning for a two-song encore of two of her more popular songs: “Nobody” and “Washing Machine Heart.” Fans, who had nearly universally remained seated and respectful throughout the show, finally stood towards the end of the encore to give her a well-deserved standing ovation and send-off.

As someone who went into this show not super familiar with Mitski’s music, I was absolutely blown away by her talent, both vocally and in the breathtaking visual design of the entire show. She truly isn’t afraid to be herself, and I think this comes across clearly both in her songwriting and her live performances. Mitski will follow up her Boston shows with seven nights in New York City before moving on to Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Nashville. She will also continue on to tour in the UK and has additional North American dates later this fall. You can find all of the upcoming dates here, though many shows have already sold out.

Photos Taken By: Julia Finocchiaro 


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