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last night's gig

Phoenix Say Good-bye to Summer in Central Park

Summer officially ended with the fall equinox on September 22, but this weekend's two Phoenix shows at Central Park SummerStage — the last big outdoor event of the season that everyone you knew seemed to be at — felt like a better send-off. On Saturday evening, the weather was crisp, but inside with the very pale, very preppy crowd, it was almost mid-August muggy. Two bands whose stocks have risen significantly this year were on the bill, beginning with openers Passion Pit (a no-brainer in the booking department, in terms of musical temperament), which already had a packed house to deal with, and did so well. The polite Frenchies in Phoenix — all in tucked-in shirts, and blazers over sweaters over collars — sneaked out in the dark during the set change and drop-kicked the proceedings into gear with "Lisztomania," arguably their best song.

As the band churned out electro-pop, svelte front man Thomas Mars stalked the stage, crooning, smiling, and thanking the crowd (in both English and French!). Mars prefaced "Fences" by saying, "This is a song we never play — please be nice!" but he shouldn't have bothered: Not only was the crowed whooping and dancing from the count-off, but the band sounded as tight and sharp as on record. During the encore, Mars hopped into the audience, but not to do any singing; it seemed like he was genuinely grateful that so many people had shown up to see his band, and he wanted to make sure they knew it by sweating on them.

Photo: Getty Images