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Liz Phair: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Liz Phair's music was always meant to fill arenas. After a clever sleight-of-hand at the top of this Tiny Desk (home) performance, where it briefly seems we've returned to in-person sets behind Bob Boilen's desk, Phair and her backing band do their best to recreate the kind of set you'd see in a much larger space; everyone plugs-in, turns it up and rocks with an impressive light show.

Phair highlights three tracks from Soberish, her first new album in more than a decade, and the most reflective and beautiful record she's made. She starts with "Spanish Doors," a heartbreaking but hooky portrait of a marriage nearing its end. She follows with a song against loneliness called "In There," followed by "The Game," a meditation on the mind games that sabotage troubled relationships.

Nearly 30 years after her stunning debut, Exile In Guyville, Liz Phair's sound shines and shakes as much as it ever did – the ringing guitars, her deadpan delivery, the tight harmonies. But the themes have evolved from youthful defiance and indiscretions to wiser ruminations on the complications of growing older.

But Phair still finds joy and a playful sense of humor in her earliest work, closing her Tiny Desk with a generous version of "Never Said," from Exile. "Put your way-way-back hat on," she says as the band kicks in. When it's all over she asks for "tiny clapping for the Tiny Desk... ...We enjoyed almost being there."


  • "Spanish Doors"
  • "In There"
  • "The Game"
  • "Never Said"

  • Liz Phair: vocals, guitar
  • Ben Sturley: bass
  • Cody Perrin: guitar
  • Neal Daniels: drums
  • Connor Sullivan: guitar

  • Video: Chris Huber
  • Audio: Mark Woodcock

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Gabrielle Pierre
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.