TEMPE, Ariz. — CHVRCHES, Scottish synthpop / indietronica band, began their set at Marquee Theatre with the first track of their Every Open Eye album, “Never Ending Circles”. The power of their performance was a force to be reckoned with. Lauren Mayberry’s vocals were very impressive and unique, which could especially be appreciated live. The show was sold out, and the energy of the crowd was beautiful. The high-production light show behind the band was dazzling.
It was during only the second song, “Keep You On My Side”, that something seemed to be amiss; as Lauren’s vocals started cracking suspiciously early into the show for vocal strain to be an issue. In the midst of “Empty Threat”, Lauren stopped singing for what one might have assumed was exacerbation about an equipment failure. Her band mates continued playing a bit longer, until it was clear that she just wasn’t having it. They looked over at Lauren with clear concern and made haste to put the show on pause, explaining that she was very sick.
If a vocalist pushes to perform when they are truly too sick to be singing, they can permanently damage their voice. Any true fan, or person with a shred of compassion for that matter, should be glad that she was taking care of herself instead of running that risk. It must have sucked for the band and crew too, since they were producing a motion picture about the band at this concert; as indicated by a print-out at the box office window.
A personal opinion: The experience of the first 2 and 1/2 songs alone was enough to satisfy.
The crowd waited in anticipation for a few minutes, before CHVRCHES came back on stage. Determined to give their fans a show worth their time and effort to make it out, Lauren Mayberry and Martin Doherty traded places. Martin sang “We Sink”, which is normally sung by Lauren, and he BROUGHT IT! This was Martin’s time to shine, as he saved the night owning the performance with magical energy and ear candy vocals. Concert-goer grins were huge as they were cheering him on for taking the role, and the roar of the crowd was deafening!
That atmosphere carried through as Martin fronted two more songs that he regularly sings – “High Enough to Carry You Over” and “Under the Tide”. We were all thrilled and united in heartfelt support, and didn’t feel shafted.
Lauren came back to sing for the last song on their set that would be cut short. She told us she would be taking measures to avoid vomiting on stage. Speaking of her performance up until then, she shamefully confessed and apologized that she didn’t have pitch due to the illness. Fans nearby could be overheard speaking in a tone of surprise about how they hadn’t noticed. She gave a heartfelt monologue expressing their gratitude to fans, and assuring that their tickets would be good when CHVRCHES comes back to Arizona in October.
CHVRCHES closed their concert with “The Mother We Share”, after which the crowd quickly funneled out. In my opinion, this wasn’t a terrible time to finish, considering it was Sunday night… Any 9-to-5ers can typically relate to this sentiment. Of course CHVRCHES was, without a doubt, worth coming out. And even though they gave us 7 songs vs. their full set, that sentiment certainly rang true to the dense crowd.
No regrets. We are grateful that CHVRCHES did everything they could to satiate hungry fans, and their live concert was incredible regardless of the length (…which really wasn’t that short). Get well soon Lauren! We appreciate your professionalism, and you don’t need to apologize. You are human – take care of yourself! Arizona will eagerly anticipate your return!
Update: The make-up show is Thursday, October 6. Your ticket from the April 24th concert will be accepted for entry.
If you would prefer to have a refund issued, contact the Marquee box office by phone at 480.829.1300 (M to F, 12p-6p) or by email at email@example.com no later than May 18 to process a refund. Have your ticket confirmation # handy.
A special thank you to Dustin Mitchell for contributing the setlist for this review.