Saturday, 20 October 2012

Picture This: Alanis Morissette @ Sound Academy (Concert Review)

It's taken me almost a week to write this review because on the very day of the concert I was beginning to come down with a cold and the day after I was in full on gross mode, but the concert (in some respects) was worth going to rather than resting instead.

So, here we go. Alanis Morissette performed at Sound Academy this past Monday October 15th and the first thing that came to me was... what an odd place for such a big name to perform. Alanis is undoubtedly one of Canada's biggest names and one of it's most popular exports in the world of music and yet she was playing at a standing room only club that can fit 2,000 people, for an all ages audience (meaning kids as young as 10 were there), most of whom, if they weren't in the first few rows of people like I was, probably couldn't see a thing. I thought a theatre like Massey Hall or The Sony Centre would have been a better choice of venue to accommodate her fans, but...whatever. Needless to say, if you didn't show up to freeze your ass off waiting in line to get into the venue 2 hours before the doors opened (again, like I did), you were pretty much screwed in the view department.

So, the doors opened at 6:30 and we stood around waiting for the show to begin for an hour and a half while the club owners played a mix of ambient electronica music and classic 80's pop hits like "Kiss" by Prince. Then, at 8:00, the show began with the arrival on stage of Alanis' husband, white Rapper and freestyle artist, Mario "MC Souleye" Treadway". Now, I have to admit, I knew nothing about the man prior to this performance. I had seen pictures of him in magazines and only heard his skill set on the two Alanis songs he appears on for her new album "Guru" and "Jekyll & Hyde", but with that said, I was intrigued as to how he would present himself. When he walked out in a blue track star jacket, a pair of light grey jeans and white sneakers...I gotta say, I was a little worried. He did come off a bit like a cute version of Vanilla Ice, except with a lot more talent. He was very impressive with his freestyle abilities and his spritely footwork, but when he spoke (which wasn't often) I caught a faint trace of a wigga accent. Oh no, Alanis why???? When he finally removed the track suit jacket, I was able to focus on him a bit more and saw that, he was in fact, as cute as a bugs ear. The one thing I found strange about his overall set was, his first song was a song that featured Alanis' voice on the chorus, but rather than having her come out and share the stage with him, he instead had her voice on the backing track that his MC friend was playing. Weird, huh?!?!

After playing for a half hour, Souleye left the stage and we waited another hour for Alanis to hit the stage, which kinda perturbed me, because you never usually wait more than 30 minutes after the opening act to see the main attraction (I blame attachment parenting for the delay).

Anyway, at 9:30 the lights turned off, the band entered the stage and then proceeded to perform an angelic and extended intro to the song I Remain from The Prince Of Persia Soundtrack with Alanis' voice ringing over the speakers, softly and sweetly singing the opening verse and chorus of the song from off stage. The band then did a complete 180, abandoning the zen like chords of I Remain for the electro pop funkiness of Woman Down from the new album Havoc and Bright Lights to which Alanis sauntered on stage to in an embroidered black tank top, deep grey form fitting leggings, black patent leather motorcycle ankle boots and a string of thin gold chains around her neck that were often covered by her most famous asset, her free flowing mid section length brunette locks, which she would toss about, whip and thrash around throughout the next hour and 30 minutes (much to the crowds, and my, delight).

After Woman Down, she picked up her now infamous tuneless harmonica and wailed away to the alternative sounds of Jagged Little Pills opening track "All I Really Want", followed by the soaring frivolity of You Learn, the first of many songs she would perform from this iconic album which has thus far sold 33 million copies worldwide. The rest of the night would pretty much go on in this manner, often times picking up numerous bedazzled guitars, and playing songs exclusively from Jagged and Havoc, with very little attention payed to her other 5 albums.

Which leads me to the aspect of the show that didn't thrill me as much, an aspect which has bothered me the past 3 times I have seen this amazing woman in concert, her decision to focus 90% of the show to the songs from Jagged Little Pill. Don't get me wrong, I love the songs from JLP, I love them angry and rockin and soft and acoustic, but the purpose of a concert tour is to promote the new album you have out and give the audience a bit of a taste of your past recordings to keep the die hards happy.  By the end of this particular show the running tally of songs from each album was as follows,

Jagged Little Pill (9 songs, may I remind you, that album only has 12 tracks. 13 if you count the hidden track Your House)
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (2 Songs)
Under Rug Swept (1 Song)
Feast On Scraps (0 Songs)
So-Called Chaos (0 Songs)
Flavors of Entanglement (0 Songs)
Havoc & Bright Lights (6 Songs)
Soundtracks Etc. (2 Songs)

Now, I don't want to complain or act like I didn't have a good time, because believe me, I was rockin out to every song, singing along and snapping pictures like I was Mario Testino. She was in amazing voice and she even did an acoustic set for her first encore that had me gagging it was so good. However, each time she opened her mouth and started performing a song from Jagged, I secretly wished it was a song from another album. Keep in mind, I've seen her 8 times in concert, so I've heard every song from JLP in every possible way she could perform them and thusly, I just wanted a change of pace. When she announced she had a special surprise for the audience during the encore acoustic set "A song we haven't performed yet on this tour" I was expecting a b-side with Souleye or one of the many usually ignored tracks from one of her other albums.... and then she played "Not The Doctor". I mean, really!

Anyway, as I said, despite this fact, the show was amazing in every way. The performances of Havoc (in which she began to tear up while singing) and Uninvited in particular were simply breathtaking, and though I was nearly crushed to death during the surge of people trying to get a copy of the set list, a guitar pick or a drum stick that her band mates were tossing out to people after the final song (Thank U), I would naturally go see her for a 9th time.

The set list, that I didn't get a copy of, but recorded on my phone for blog purposes, went as so,

I Remain Part 1 (intro)
Woman Down
All I Really Want
You Learn
Right Through You
So Pure
Head Over Feet
I Remain Part 2
You Oughta Know

Encore: Acoustic Set
Not The Doctor
So Unsexy
Hand In My Pocket

Encore 2
Thank U

In summation, if you get the chance to see Alanis live in your city and you happen to be sick on show day.... go anyway! You'll forget about your ailments for a few hours and be a more enlightened individual at the end of the day (okay, I can't really promise that last part). I'm off to listen to the new album. Byeeee!

1 comment:

  1. GREAT Review..I personally saw her once during the JLP tour with The Cranberries..amazing show! I love the track list and the fact you always list them! I love your reviews!! And Univited!! I'd have melted to the floor!!
    Great job as usual!!