Liz Phair has played only a handful of L.A. concerts since the release of her critically acclaimed first album, “Exile in Guyville,” in 1993, and last week’s sold-out show at the downtown Mayan was the first one of the bunch at which she appeared relaxed and having fun.
Chalk it up to the three-year break that the Chicago native took following her uneven sophomore album “Whip-Smart,” or to her marriage a couple years ago and the subsequent baby boy, or even to playing in this beautiful hall, which she announced she’d been quite looking forward to.
Phair, in light of this exultant performance, finally appears ready to live up to the lofty accolades that have been heaped on her since her sexually charged debut opened the door for a ’90s crop of edgy female rock musicians that includes Alanis Morissette, Paula Cole and Jewel.
Show began with a nod to the past as Phair, once again touring with a full band (her last local show in 1995 was a solo perf), opened with the pensive and delicate “Explain It to Me” and the Rolling Stones-ish fantasy “6’1″,” both from “Guyville.”
But the songs in this show that had the most impact and reflected her song writing talents more were the ter-rific and confident cuts from her new Matador/Capitol Records release “whitechocolatespaceegg.”
“Do you want to flap you wings and fly,” Phair asked during the country-tinged “Polyester Bride,” a rhetorical question that conjures endless possibilities and that begins to explain the hypnotic hold that she seems to have over many of her fans, who sang and cheered through all 18 songs.