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Haim At Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, May 17th, 2022, Reviewed

The difference between a very good evening out and a crappy one was in the hands of the organizers of the “One More Haim” tour that visited Madison Square Garden last night and then had us freeze to death and twiddle our thumbs. Here is what would have made it a real women in rock moment moment:

Doors: 630pm – 730p

Faye Webster: 730p – 8p

Princess Nokia: 815p – 845p

Haim: 9p – 1040p

This is what we got:

Doors: 630pm – 730p

Faye Webster: 730p – 750p

Princess Nokia: 830p – 9p

Haim: 950p – 1120p

Why did the shy but game Faye Webster get a lousy 20 minutes? Why a forty minute break followed by a 50 minute break? At the end of a work day, Haim had us waiting endlessly (frozen, the a/c was rampant) for longer than the fucking band played? In three and a quarter hours we saw 50 minutes of music? To what end? The inevitable happened: I had to leave early, get home, go to sleep as fast as I could, and here we are. It ruined the entire evening for not just me. Though admittedly Haim’s dogged 20 something, mostly coeds and first job out of school girls night outing might not mind, that doesn’t make it alright. Haim considered themselves 20 minutes late. Fine. But why were they starting their set at 930pm anyway? What is it with fucking bands not sending huge warnings via social media THAT THEY WOULDN’T GET ON TILL THREE HOURS AFTER THE DOOR?

It is so unprofessional, it is so arrogant and irritating… unlike Haim themselves.

Because, Faye Webster was a cool cinematic bedroom popper and seeing Princess Nokia was a real treat. The Bronx based rapper left her foster home at the age of sixteen where she was beaten by her foster mother. Nokia (named after her cheap celly) worked on her music at her Grandma’s and thirteen years later here we are. I wasn’t particularly aware of her before this show but I am a fan now, the queer star can rap so well, her hooks are beats oriented rat-a-tats, her dancing with her backing dancers was excellent and her tone superb… when you can hear it: the bass was so loud it drowned (real name) Destiny Frasqueri, the sound has a lot of high hat and some weird experimental stuff and whenever she concentrates on rapping, she blasts off. Both “Tomboy” and “Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.)” were good and would have been great with a better soundsystem.

Alana Haim can’t get over “Licorice Pizza”, and when she started crying while calling this the best day of her life you might be remembering another member of the tribes words: “when I saw you break down and cry real tears, it was the best acting I saw anybody do”. If Alana hadn’t claimed to be near tears at the Hollywood Bowl because they sold out their hometown it might have had more import, thank God Haim didn’t sell out MSG, they’d have had to stop the show. It was not the only time I shook my head at the updated Bangles vibe band, but really? Danielle Haim remembering how they had to share a bedroom on tour must be the lamest travails of touring story known to the human race, though the next bit, an oldie but goldie cellie hook, up was quite amusing. Este is a great drummer…

Having said all that, they are seriously better than the last time I saw em on stage, opening for Mumford And Sons in 2013 (here). Not every rock band can play an arena, it takes a front person and it takes extroverted personalities to push themselves past the song itself, Haim, from choreographed dance moves through auditorium contests, to drum smacking tribal breaks, to some of the best armpits in the business, had that times three, every member of the band has the personality to front their own band, in leather pants and black bras they looked quite exquisite and the harmonies were even lovelier. Some of their game playing was fun (the sing the first line from the first song on the album was a blast) and the constant energy level was women in music part iv – x

Musically, if you liked Women In Music, Part III, their excellent 2020 last album, you’re gonna love the show, Haim lean on those songs heavily, fourteen of the eighteen songs come from it (their best release to date for sure) it’s been out for long enough so the fanbase knows it and it really is great. It would be good if only for “Summer Girl” and “The Step” but it is their most accomplished work, based on this album ex-Vampire Weekend Rostam Batmanglij would make a better Jack Antonoff than Jack has ever proven himself to be. The songwriting is instantly superior to their first two albums, and the arrangements are complex yet summer sun desirable romantic malaise: imagine Bethany Cosentino without the crippling insecurities.

However, the height of the evening was when they got their Fleetwood Mac on during “Leaning On Me” (think Christine pop not Stevie) and “Los Angeles” with its “New York is cold, I tried the winter there once, nope, clearly the greatest city in the world, but it was not my home, I felt more alone” (almost identical to Best Coasts’ complaint at Gov Ball) and I would be much more pissed if I hadn’t just frozen for six months.

The performances were beyond solid, the girls looked great (wait, girls? Este is 36 years old, and the other two are in their early 30s), the songs were terrific. And if sometimes the schtick is just schtick, well sometimes schtick is schtick. But to spend TWO AND A HALF HOURS DOING NOTHING in fucking antarctic air condition, it was awful. The biggest insult you can throw at a concert is: I wish I hadn’t gone.


Grade: C (without the shenanigans? B+)

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