Liz Phair Swings By “Sessions” As Phish, PJ Harvey, Brian Setzer, Others Wait Their Turn

Just one week after playing New York as part of her U.S. tour, Liz Phair returned to that city on Thursday to shoot an upcoming episode of the PBS series “Sessions at West 54th.”

Phair now joins a list of performers including Phish, Lyle Lovett, PJ Harvey, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Steve Earle, Lou Reed, Natalie Merchant, Elvis Costello, and others who will soon turn up on the show.

The move seemed an unlikely one for the traditionally stage-shy Phair, who joked between songs about her recent concert-friendly turn, “I used to hate performing, now I love it.”

After series host David Byrne praised Phair and her songwriting ability as “an inspiration,” the singer/songwriter took the stage and delivered an hour-long set thick with tracks from her 1993 breakthrough album “Exile In Guyville.” Phair, of course, also offered a number of tracks from her new album, “whitechocolatespaceegg.”

During a technical break late in the filming of Phair’s set, the singer broke from her
designated setlist, playing the audience request “F*** And Run” before wrapping up with “Perfect World.”

Phair’s edition of the series, which is presented by New York PBS station WNET, should hit the air early next year. In the coming weeks, “Sessions” will feature John Hiatt and Imani Coppola (weekend of October 17), Medeski, Martin and Wood and Holly Cole (weekend of October 24), Lou Reed (weekend of October 31), Natalie Merchant and Virginia Rodrigues (weekend of November 6), Brian Setzer Orchestra and Jimmy Scott (weekend of Nov. 13), Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach (weekend of November 20), and Cowboy Junkies and Kronos Quartet (weekend of November 27). Air dates and time vary, and potential viewers should check local listings.

The series will also bring in Phish, Joe Henry, Rufus Wainwright, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Lyle Lovett, and PJ Harvey in the coming weeks to shoot episodes that will air next year.

When Phair’s half-hour “Sessions” episode rolls out next
year, it will feature material culled from the following hour’s worth of songs she played on Thursday:

  • Mesmerizing
  • Johnny Feelgood
  • Never Said Nothing
  • Support System
  • whitechocolatespaceegg
  • Uncle Alvarez
  • 6’1″
  • Dance of the Seven Veils
  • Polyester Bride
  • Supernova
  • Divorce Song
  • F**k And Run
  • Perfect World