Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Tame Impala takes Boston to a dimension untethered from time and space

Kevin Parker’s ‘Slow Rush Tour’ hits TD Garden performing an immersive mix of old and new
Caitlin Reardon / Daily Collegian

Tame Impala’s “The Slow Rush Tour” was representative of the shift in hope that the Boston community has long yearned for since the COVID-19 pandemic hit: a glimpse of normalcy.

Ticket holders stretched from indie college kids to older corporate-looking adults, the appeal of the act reaching any and all generations. Tame Impala brings all who listen onto what can only be described as a spiritual experience, their lyrics paired with intoxicating instrumentals, synth and haunting vocals drawing in all who are there to listen.

This kind of escape is one that we all have desired in the uncertain times of the past two years, that could at last finally occur. And occur it did.

The Australian band, whose front man is Kevin Parker, has widely grown in popularity over the past year largely thanks to TikTok where tracks like “Eventually” gained massive popularity. After the release of their 2020 album “The Slow Rush,” fans remained patient throughout the pandemic to experience the celebration that is a Tame Impala concert.

The March 16 show marked the act’s long-awaited return to the city. The last Boston appearance was their headlining role at the 2019 Boston Calling Music Festival. “The Slow Rush Tour” brought an experience that local concert goers have yet to see from Parker, an immersive experience of psychedelia to TD Garden.

The opening act for Tame Impala was rap artist Junglepussy who performed an experimental set centered around women’s empowerment and sexuality, particularly within the Black community. Junglepussy confidently paraded on stage with a sign in hand marked with the words, “This p—y don’t pop for you,” to which the female crowd enthusiastically cheered.

The choice of Junglepussy as an opening was not shocking to Parker’s fans, as he has long been an advocate for artists trying to break through in the music industry on their own terms. Parker’s own discography is unique and independent from industry standards, unlike much of what is heard in mainstream culture today.

Parker’s refusal to conform to mainstream standards paid off for the band, which got its start on Myspace in 2008, and 14 years later graces the world’s largest stages in front of sold out crowds.

Parker partnered with Australian pharmaceutical company AionWell to develop a fake vitamin that specializes in, “acute time metagrobolization in cells,” as stated on the drug’s bottle. Seeing as “The Slow Rush” album is one based on the concept of time, it is fitting that Parker decided to establish this fake vitamin, called “Rushium,” as the tour’s motif.

At approximately 9:15 p.m., the screen lit up with a message from an AionWell representative dressed in a lab coat. She instructed that everyone take their Rushium now as the show is about to start. While explaining the symptoms of the vitamin, the scientist’s speech began to slur and her face blur, the image morphing into pixelated colors and sound rolling into “The Slow Rush’s” opening track, “One More Year.” The crowd went crazy when Parker and his supporting band stepped on stage, kicking off an unforgettable night.

The thrill of seeing Tame Impala live is unmatched. It is apparent that Parker wants to create a holistic experience that fully encapsulates the music, almost as if we can see his sound come to life in front of our very eyes. Lasers, confetti, trippy graphics and rainbow lighting hypnotized the stadium throughout the entire performance.

Parker performed a setlist with both old and new in mind. “Eventually,” a fan-favorite from his “Currents” album gathered a belting crowd, as well as “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from the “Lonerism” album. Parker of course performed tracks off his new album, such as “Breathe Deeper” and “Posthumous Forgiveness,” among many others.

After playing “Eventually,” Parker spoke about how he had no idea where the song would have taken him in his career years ago. He thanked the audience for listening, calling the crowd “magic.”

Parker closed with, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” a lush and euphoric track that also concludes his acclaimed 2015 album, “Currents.” In a pleading cry from fans, the band went back on stage to perform “One More Hour” and “The Less I Know The Better” as their encore.

Parker’s setlist was almost perfect – my only wish being that “It Might Be Time” would’ve been performed. However, the intensity with which Parker played, sang and interacted with the crowd was truly beautiful– the show felt like a celebration of life.

While Parker does seem to have a more introverted demeanor, his interaction and enthusiasm for the crowd was evident. He made sure to talk to concert-goers about their signs, the music and more. It was fun to see him open up.

Not only did Parker appeal to the hits known by his newer fans, but he also turned back the clock and revisited the songs that enticed those who have been long faithful to Tame Impala. Parker smoothly transitioned newer singles like “Borderline” to 2012’s “Mind Mischief” and 2010’s seven-minute ballad, “Runaway House City Clouds,” transporting the audience to the roots of the mastermind’s genius.

If one thing is for certain, it is that those in attendance could experience just how powerful Tame Impala’s music can be. The tracks so many of us have heard for years, transformed to an indescribable new depth that could quite literally be felt within. The music, paired with the visual supplements of flourishing images, lights and lasers, had the magnetic ability to capture the attention of fans.

The nearly two-hour show took the crowd to a new dimension, one that cannot be replicated through studio or video recording. The sheer humbleness that Parker displayed towards his fans was impressive. While we were moved by him and his music, he was moved by us. When walking off stage after the encore, Parker was seen wiping a tear from his eye.

Tame Impala’s “Slow Rush Tour” in many ways is indicative of the new, modern age. After so much turmoil in recent years, the carefree and open environment facilitated by his music is an experience so desperately needed. One that you just have to be willing to immerse yourself in to experience.

If you get the chance to see Tame Impala live in the future, make sure to rush to get tickets.

Caitlin Reardon can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @caitlinreardon. Shanti Furtado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @shantifurtado.

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