April 6, 2022
Photo by Raymond Ahner from an earlier performance
It seemed fitting that the chorus to the opening song, “Prodigal Daughter,” was “Baby I’m Back,” as Lights is indeed back from her covid-induced slumber. While the talented multi-instrumentalist had kept herself busy during the lockdown, pumping out plenty of big-name collaborations and a brand new album, where Lights really shines is on stage playing in front of her fans.
So, Wednesday night’s show at the Regency Ballroom was indeed a memorable one as it was the start of a long-awaited touring cycle for Lights and her new backing band, now consisting of drummer extraordinaire Jess Bowen and longtime guitarist/bassist Brodie Tavares. With a bunch of bright LED screens backing them, it never felt like this three-piece version of Light’s band was her smallest ever; in fact, it seemed at times as if there were more people on stage as the live sound was so full and dynamic.
It was apparent from early on that the crowd would be an active participant in every song, singing along to every booming chorus. This became even more apparent as Lights delved into some of her earlier material, including one of her first singles in the form of the catchy pop of “Ice.” Even though the most-recent Lights album, PEP, had only been out for a few days, that did not stop the crowd from singing along to songs like “Salt and Vinegar” and “Voices Carry,” leading Lights to remark, “It’s been like three days, shouldn’t you know all the words by now? Actually, I’m really impressed.”
Halfway through the set, Lights toned things down to play a few songs with just her guitar as an accompaniment, remarking that “This is the part of the show where I get to play whatever I want,” Lights said before asking the crowd what they wanted to hear next. “I guess that’s the whole show, but you know what I mean.”
The crowd cheered hard for the ballad “Banner,” which Lights played most before switching to a recent Illenium collaboration, the soaring “Hearts on Fire.” The song seemed to go over really well with the audience and got them pumped up for the remainder of the 20-song set. Lights’ songs are so entertaining because they bubble with an infectious type of energy; it’s hard not to crack a fun smile or two.
Then the band tore through a couple of high-energy anthems, such as the upbeat rock of “Running with the Boys” and the soaring electronica of “Love Me,” which saw Lights step onto the barricade and sing directly at the fans.
To close out the evening, Lights debuted a live version of her deadmau5 collaboration, “When the Summer Dies,” before closing with the rolling groove of “In My Head” from PEP. After so many years away from the stage, you could tell the whole night was an emotional one for Lights, who again thanked everyone for attending before walking off stage one last time.
Prodigal Daughter | Ice | Up We Go | Salt And Vinegar | Siberia | Savage | New Fears | Voices Carry | Banner/Hearts On Fire | Quiet | Real Thing | Dead End | Batshit | Beside Myself | Running With the Boys | Okay Okay | Love Me | Giants | When the Summer Dies | In My Head