The Land May Be Inhospitable, but Mitski’s Concert Sure Wasn’t

The Love is Mitski’s, All Mitski’s, at the Beacon Theater.

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For four sold-out nights, Mitski graced the Beacon Theatre with her elusive yet endearing persona and stellar vocals. She is currently on tour for her album The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We (2023), which was released in September to critical acclaim. The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We is Mitski’s seventh studio album, and it embraces a deserted rural aesthetic with plucky guitars and electric keyboards. 

Nestled between the Hudson River and Central Park is the Beacon Theatre, with ceilings that stretch to the moon and antiquated artwork in every corridor. The crowd of mostly adolescent girls in attendance had a defined look: frills, tights, short dresses and skirts, milkmaid tops, laced-up corsets, and chunky black boots. There was also an abundance of dads being lovingly dragged around by preteen daughters wearing newly purchased, oversized Mitski sweatshirts that they begged their fathers for.

The opener, Tamino, appeared on stage at exactly 8:00 p.m. wearing baggy black sweatpants and a black sweatshirt. Halfway through his set, he took off his sweatshirt to reveal a loose black tunic, much to the excitement of the audience—“You make me hot,” he quipped—before moving quickly into his next song. 

Tamino seamlessly cycled between guitars and, surprisingly, a mandolin during his performance. His voice dipped and twirled around each note, as he strummed Middle-Eastern-inspired melodies on a mostly bare stage with two gauzy spotlights that alternated between blue, white, and red. 

After Tamino ended his performance, the crowd sat in a haze of anticipation for the star of the show, watching as a large burgundy tube made of curtains descended from the ceiling. Mitski emerged after a brief violin solo—she sang “Everyone” and ambled into the recesses of the red tube while singing, “And I left the door open to the dark / I said ‘Come in, come in, whatever you are.’” The lighting changed to reveal Mitski’s shadow against the light blue fabric backdrop before dropping to reveal her posing figure, clad in a white button-down (possibly a reference to the lyrics of “A Burning Hill”) and black slacks. 

Mitski performed many of her older songs, like “Everyone” and “I Don’t Smoke,” a makeover of The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We with stronger drum beats and country-esque guitars. Her setlist was predictably heavy on songs from The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We but also featured songs from past albums Laurel Hell (2022), Be the Cowboy (2018), Puberty 2 (2016), and Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014). This remains consistent throughout her tour, as she worked on song-specific dances with choreographer Monica Mirabile in preparation for the tour. She gracefully alternated between floor and standing routines, showing an extreme proficiency with contemporary dance styles. This was especially evident when she sang “I Bet on Losing Dogs,” during which she lay on the floor and flailed her arms and legs, mimicking a cockroach on its back desperately attempting to overcome gravity.

Aside from the few times that Mitski’s voice was overpowered by her band, the show was an audial masterpiece. Mitski’s vocals smoothly carried around the theater while she danced and acted out her songs. The set was adorned solely by two wooden chairs, serving as dance partners, During the chorus of “First Love/Late Spring,” Mitski dramatically wobbled on a chair as she sang “One word from you / And I would jump off / Of this ledge I’m on,” and during the chorus of “Working for the Knife,” she rhythmically pumped her arms before plunging them into her hips in a mimed stabbing. 

During her performance of the hit song “My Love Mine All Mine,” gold-colored fragments, a stylistic motif of The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, descended from the ceiling and glinted with reflected light. She slowly sent the chains of fragments back up during “Last Words of a Shooting Star,” another older song that she liberally doused with her Land is Inhospitable flair. 

Despite the reputation that Mitski concerts have of fans shouting inappropriate comments at the singer during breaks, this was not an issue at her Beacon Theater shows. Occasionally, towards the beginning of the show, there were a few instances of people shouting “You’re perfect!” and “We love you Mitski!” which she expertly ignored. Moreover, the fellow attendees were more than welcoming and made the experience enjoyable.

 While her songs from Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013) and Lush (2012) were dearly missed, Mitski managed to give each of the rest of her albums its own spotlight, like Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, but for depressed, adolescent girls. The only conceivable feedback would be for her to make the concert roughly three years longer, but her one-and-a-half-hour setlist will more than suffice.