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Six things we learned from Phoebe Bridgers live at Glasgow Barrowland

As the singer-songwriter heads back out on tour, we find out just how cathartic it is to scream in a room full of 2,000 strangers.

Phoebe Bridgers’ long awaited debut UK tour kicked off with two nights in Glasgow’s iconic Barrowlands, and although there was a slightly disappointing lack of boyfriend and Normal People star Paul Mescal in the audience, nothing else was lacking.

So what can we learn from being right up front at Bridgers’ electric second night at the Barras?

1. Bridgers’ fans are nothing if not dedicated

Queuing for the concert began around 10am. Doors were at 7pm. There is no denying that people were desperate for a good view, and who could blame them? Bridgers’ outfit, a sparkly white two piece with beads embroidered onto the shape of a ribcage, was definitely worth seeing up close. It even had a little bow tie just as the final pièce de résistance.

2. A LOT of the fans are not keen on partners’ mothers

In the song ICU, the line: ‘I hate your mom’ was taken very personally by a lot of the crowd. It seems that enough people have dated men with Karen-esque mothers for it to be considered a fairly universal experience now. For all the girls last night who had someone in mind while they screamed that line – stay strong. There’s only so many Christmases and birthdays you have to endure.

Phoebe Bridgers. Credit: Annie McNamee
Phoebe Bridgers. Credit: Annie McNamee


3. Phoebe is truly for everyone

Although there were certainly just as many floral dresses as you’d expect, there were also a few outside of the box fans having just as much fun. I spotted a group of young guys who’d have looked more at home at a Metallica concert drying tears after Saviour Complex, and a dad very near the front who knew every word to Punisher. I like to think he was one of the early queuers.

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4. Glasgow crowds are perfect to ease performers back into live shows after a long lay-off

After two years of staying inside and fearing crowded spaces, it’s easy to forget just how sublime being in a room full of people singing together can be. Glasgow is famous for crowds that go all in, and this was no exception. Every song was met with excitement, tears, screams, and a crowd so loud at times it was difficult to actually hear Phoebe’s voice. Even despite the nature of the songs being extremely depressing at times, everyone seemed to be having fun the entire time. Bridgers’ said that the crowd had made her laugh during a slow number because, “Usually people wave slowly for a song that’s kinda slow, but you guys were going like, super fast – it just hit me, I was laughing in my head”.

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Phoebe Bridgers' setlist. Credit: Annie McNamee
Phoebe Bridgers’ setlist. Credit: Annie McNamee

5. Screaming is a very cathartic experience

If you give people an excuse to scream as loudly as they can without consequence, they scream. During the outro of I Know The End, famous for its chaos and Bridgers screaming to see out the album, I expected people to go for it. I did not expect over a minute of 2,000 people letting out all of their pent up anger from the last decade. The Devil himself would have been slightly startled by the noise that was coming out of that room.

6. It always gets better

Critics of Bridgers often argue that she indulges in sadness, with depression, alcoholism and toxic relationships being common motifs in her music, she spoke with the crowd about how writing about these things after the fact helps her deal with what she’s been through, “I wore pyjamas for a year, in a cute way,” she explained during a monologue before Funeral. In the end, the final and most important takeaway from the concert came from Bridgers herself: “I’m never over anything, but, it gets better, is what I’m saying.”

Annie McNamee is on TikTok and Instagram

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