The marring knot in my heart was kneaded out much like the one in all the hearts of those at Union Transfer the night of July 7. This can be credited to Mitski, her heart-rending lyrics and the unearthly show she put on for the sold-out venue.
Around 7:45 p.m., an assorted mass of fans began congregating at the front of the stage in anticipation of the show. Many spoke of the songs they couldn’t wait to hear, some claimed to their friends to be familiar with the openers and the older woman standing to my right asked me how to go about capturing the show on Facebook Live. In a swift 15 minutes, the formerly comfortable space became exceptionally compressed and the air terribly sweltering.
The show kicked off with the lively three piece Half Waif who played a set charged with invigorating beats and equally compelling melodies. This was perfectly balanced with Julia Jacklin’s somber solo act that followed. The two opening acts finishing up meant only one thing to the animated crowd — Mitski was to take the stage soon.
After discussing how hurt I’d be should Mitski decide not to play “Francis Forever,” one could only imagine my feverishness upon hearing its deadened guitar intro while the lights grew dim. I wasn’t sure how the night could get any better having heard my favorite track as the opening song and having lost all my breath screaming the words. Since I am wrong about most things, it serves as no surprise that the night only managed to get better.
It wasn’t until after the third song that Mitski spoke to the crowd, laughing as she asked, “do I look like a princess?” In a delicate pink dress, she explained that since she was living her dream, she figured she should really “do it up.” This, in addition to the stone-cold look on her face while singing, painted Mitski as the ethereal, nebulous being I imagined her to be. The crowd soon roared and howled upon realizing the band was getting back to the set with the esteemed number, “Your Best American Girl.”
I was admittedly worried about “Bury Me At Makeout Creek” being eclipsed by the more recent “Puberty 2.” Luckily for me, Mitski played nearly every song on the iconic album and then some. Some of the best tunes of the night were “Townie,” “Last Words of a Shooting Star,” and “Once More to See You.” I would set the screaming of “Drunk Walk Home” as my alarm if I could, seeing as it perfectly depicts how I instantly feel after opening my eyes every morning. “First Love / Late Spring” was unparalleled in comparison to all the other songs performed (which were exceptional, nonetheless) as it felt like a punch to the gut I gladly accepted and had everyone in the crowd attempting to sing the Japanese line of the chorus.
Seeing Mitski play was more or less a wondrous experience. I’ve been to shows where many people sang along with the artists, but never as passionately as Mitski’s fans belted out every word to every song. Halfway through the night, friend and fellow concert-goer Jesse Antonoff wiped a wet finger on my arm and said to me, “feel my tears.” This small interaction was enough to encapsulate the entire night.