It should not really have come as a surprise — given their Grammy win, the rock-radio success of songs like "1901" and "Lisztomania" and the rather heartfelt exchange they had with Snooki — but when [artist id="508292"]Phoenix[/artist] were asked to film an episode of MTV's "Unplugged" earlier this year, well, they were all sorts of surprised ... and a little scared.
"To be honest, we cannot believe it," bassist Deck D'Arcy told MTV Radio back in April, hours before they taped their "Unplugged" performance. "If it goes well, we will have achieved lots of our fantasies. ... So we are a bit scared but very excited. It could collapse, but it could work."
"Yeah, it's dangerous," guitarist Christian Mazzalai laughed. "We are entering the danger zone."
Luckily, everything went according to plan, and on Monday (June 21), Phoenix's "Unplugged" performance finally premiered. You can watch it here, right now. The six-song set — featuring four tunes from their breakout Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album plus a plucky take on "Long Distance Call" from 2006's It's Never Been Like That and a spare cover version of Air's "Playground Love" (from the 1999 film "The Virgin Suicides," directed by Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars' girlfriend, Sofia Coppola) — showcases their unerring knack for melodies, deft pop sensibilities and a rather fearless attitude, as evidenced by the new arrangements and instruments they rolled out just for the occasion.
"We've decided to try out some brand-new arrangements ... for all of the songs," Mazzalai said. "And we're using instruments we've never used in the live situation before ... so who knows?"
So you could keep reading about the harmonium or the vibraphone they broke out for the show, or you could just watch. We recommend the latter, because even though they were scared, Phoenix pulled it off, and the end result is one of the most exciting "Unplugged" sets in recent memory.
What do you think of Phoenix's "Unplugged" set? Share your thoughts in the comments!