Tame Impala live @ Primavera Sound, Portugal
Tame Impala’s 2015 album 'Currents' is a revolutionary pop statement of artistry. The success of the record solidified Kevin Parker as a one-man band and skyrocketed him to international acclaim. Worldwide tours and multiple collaborations led to a five year wait for their 2020 album 'The Slow Rush'. Weeks after its Valentine’s Day release, the world headed into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The record's melodious node to themes of changing times and having patience unintentionally became an anthem for fans enduring a never-ending lockdown encouraging listeners to be optimistic and stay on track.
A canceled world tour challenged fans to endure a two year wait before Tame Impala would safely grace festival stages. Like many eager fans, I jumped at the opportunity to see finally see Parker perform his latest work in the flesh and witness his expertise as a vocalist, producer, arranger, and performer.
Prior to his entrance, a pre-show ad for Parker's “experimental new time therapy treatment” guided an ecstatic crowd into the trippy effects of "rushium", an imaginary drug that was the basis for the new record. This brought audiences into a frenzied haze of visual excellence before Parker calmly took the stage to perform 'One More Year'. A dazzling light set up then merged with a with crisp, synth audio levels to fade the crowd into 'The Slow Rush'. Each track was curated to perfection, blending into the next with ease. 'The Slow Rush' transitioned into 'Borderline', 'Nangs' and then a memorizing rendition of 'Breathe Deeper'. I stood in awe, mesmerized by the technicolor dream and immersive atmosphere.
The band's stage set up was captivating. Lasers and iridescent clouds of fog blended to create a hypnotic environment that brought each track to life. A giant spaceship-like ring spun vibrant colors as Parker grabbed his guitar and riffed old classics such as 'Elephant' and 'Apocalypse Dreams'. As an OG Tame fan, I was astonished by Parker's ability to effortlessly blend his old library with current hits.
Currents favourite 'Let It Happen' was accompanied by a confetti cannon that added an appropriate drama and created a multicolored rain as his cult like fans chanted “Let it happen! Let it happen!”. My personal favorite song of the night was his melancholy pop-rock tune Eventually. I'm sure I wasn't alone when I had to hold back tears as Parker’s falsetto floated angelically on top of the dreamy synth mix. Fans added to the splendor by rhythmically waving lit-up cell phones.
He ended his set list with two of his most acclaimed tracks 'The Less I Know The Better' and 'New Person, Same Old Mistakes'. This transfixing mix combined with confetti cannons left me breathless. Everyone had the biggest smiles on their faces. Parker’s ability to lore listeners into his psychedelic persona is truly exhilarating. I believe anyone, a fan or not, would appreciate the absolute fever dream that this show was.
Tame Impala is a master at creating an out of body experience for listeners looking to transcend into another dimension. “We were so close” continually rings through my ears even though the moment is over. Seeing Tame Impala live was a dream of mine and being able to experience this performance with one of my childhood best friends was unforgettable and left me feeling like a brand-new person.
Tickets for Tame Impala's European summer tour are available here.