Liz Phair visited today to play a few tunes, meet some of her adoring fans, and promote her upcoming album titled simply Liz Phair. This was part of the Fishbowl Series, in which musical artists visit Amazon and play some tunes in one of our conference rooms to thank us for selling lots of their albums (I'd say they were thanking us for our support, but since our catalog is virtual we support every CD that's issued). Past notables whose voices have tickled our walls include Aimee Mann, Dido, and Johnny Marr.
Liz looked, ummm, really hot in her leather jacket, boots, and mini, mini skirt. She doesn't look like she's aged a bit since Exile in Guyville came out in 93. Thank god, because it made me feel young (I may have to start attending more plays, classical music concerts, and operas, because those are other places I feel young). Liz has never been shy about playing up her looks, and that sexual honesty and aggression has been part of her image and music since the beginning.
Accompanied by some dude on guitar, she sang three oldies and two tracks, Why Can't I? and Rock Me, off of her upcoming release. The new album includes four tracks produced by The Matrix, most well-known for their success with Avril Lavigne. As such, the album's rumored to be more radio-friendly. Why Can't I? is one of the Matrix tunes, and it's definitely a sweet little love ballad with pop sensibility. Rock Me's lyrics play like a tamer version of her sexual predator persona, sung as they are to seduce some young boy, a boy too young to even know who Liz Phair is, and someone she'd like to play XBox with on his living room floor.
Divorce Song
Why Can't I?
Rock Me
Johnny Feelgood

Liz in person is very approachable. She's hardly the angry, sarcastic alt-rock goddess you might envision after listening to her music. She joked around ("I've always wanted to play this room"), laughed and smiled while she sang, and genuinely seemed to have a good time. People who love their work have that certain glow about them, as if they recognize how blessed they are. When they finally let us in she serenaded us with Extreme's More Than Words, and she tried to get us all to sing along at the end of her performance, but we young Amazonians were too jaded and self-conscious to participate.
Her voice sounds like it's matured a bit. No one will ever confuse her pipes for those of Celine Dion, but I think even her detractors will have to admit that she's now more than a vocal storyteller. I happen to enjoy her raw voice--it enforces the emotional honesty of her music.
I sat in the front row, just a few feet from her, and when she looked at me for a moment while singing Divorce Song my brain started to heat up and I spent the rest of her set sweating like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. Afterwards, I waited in line to meet her, as nervous as a virgin on prom night. She signed all my CD jacket covers and a black and white publicity still. On each one she wrote my name in a different handwritten font, and on the cover of Exile in Guyville she wrote "COME BACK!!"
I never left, Liz!
The sexiest person to ever grace this conference room (not hard when it's used primarily by computer programmers). Liz looks a bit like Meg Ryan or Alicia Silverstone, but more mischievous (naughty?).

Lucky, lucky guitar.

For the last song, Liz grabbed the guitar from that dude who needs a haircut and proved she still rocks.

P.S.: You'll notice a lot more photos in my blog recently. I finally gave in and bought a digital camera, a Minolta F300. I can't tell if I like it yet. If I had to do it all over again I'd probably buy a Canon Powershot S50, and some things about digital cameras really annoy me. The slow zooming in and out, the lag time between when you hit the shutter and when you capture the shot. I'm definitely not ready to give up my analog 35mm Nikon yet.
Still, the great thing about digital cameras is how quickly photos can be transferred to a computer and posted online. My 35mm was in the shop, so the digital camera saved me today.