This isn’t so much a review of last night’s show as it is a review of Brandi Carlile. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen her, but I can’t think of a time that she didn’t wow me.
There was the first time when I didn’t even know who she was and she actually yodeled. To be fair, it was more of an interview with some songs than it was a show; it was an eTown performance with Marc Cohn that was taped at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. She and the twins hooked me there.
The second time I saw her she literally brought the roof down. Okay, she may not have had anything to do with it; it may have been the ridiculous amount of liquid that had been falling from the skies that winter in Fort Collins. And it may not have been the roof so much as parts of the Aggie ceiling that started to fall into the crowds while we watched her perform. The firepeople had to come in and cordon off certain parts of the floor. It was interesting to say the least!
Then there was the time that I took my mom and dad and two of their close friends to see her in PA at the Sellersville Theatre. 4 new enthusiastic fans! I bought all 3 of her CDs (that’s how long ago it was, there were only 3 CDs) and got one signed for my mom which she listens to incessantly in her car. Flash forward, my niece knows all the words to Brandi Carlile’s ‘Give Up the Ghost’ album. She loves Brandi Carlile!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I end up flying to PA in June 2013 and Brandi Carlile is playing this festival in NJ. (Coincidentally it’s also her birthday. Happy Birthday Brandi!) My dad already has tickets for him and my mom and my niece and then gets two more for me and my cousin, T, who drives down from CT to meet us. We all take H to her first concert, a music festival at Appel Farm (where Low Cut Connie is the opening act of the day — not a bad day AT ALL!) To add to the fun of the day, I reunited with a college friend that I hadn’t seen in ~20 years. Not a bad day AT ALL! It bears repeating.
Then there was last year in April when I flew to Austin to celebrate Andee’s birthday with an ACL show. She played ‘The Story’ from beginning to end and pretty much from the first note til the end of the show, I had tears streaming down my face. I’m not gonna name names, but I wasn’t the only one. Two things to note here: 1) There had been a lot of free alcohol and not a lot of food in my day as Andee had won tickets to Rock Your Taco and in typical Andee-fashion managed to convert those into free tickets for the entire day of the Austin Food & Wine festival and; 2) ‘The Story’ was the CD that I probably listened to the most the year that I was ending my 14-year relationship. It was on constant rotation in my car and I listened to it at least twice every time I made the six hour (round-trip) drive to PA to escape from cohabitation with my ex in our little condo in CT. Many needed reprieves until the lease ended and I could afford to return to my city by the bay.
Then there were performances at both Kate Wolf and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in 2017, so that was three times seeing Brandi in 2017 alone. It is entirely possible that I’ve seen her more than any other performer. I may have to go back and try to figure out how many times I’ve actually seen her, but the real point here is that she NEVER disappoints. I’ve seen her with the twins. I’ve seen her with a little band. I’ve seen her with a full band, including strings (last night). I’ve seen her alone. She NEVER disappoints.
Last night was amazing! The setting (The Mountain Winery) with the pretty (albeit smoky) views. The company; I love my LOLMs. The price of the tickets ($0 for 9th row essentially). The song choices: the new album has some good stuff on it; and then there was a cover of Joni Mitchell ‘A Case of You’ that brought me near tears; and then Aretha ‘Do Right Woman Do Right Man’.
The only negative I can find is that now that she has such a large catalog of music, I often don’t get to hear the old favorites that I still love. I miss hearing ‘What Can I Say’. It’s the song that started it all for me. Well that song and the yodeling…
It’s probably best that I didn’t hear ‘Turpentine’ last night. Near tears would have become certain tears. ‘The Story’ was enough of a challenge and was only a win in the end for me because the tears were not streaming. And if my biggest complaint is that I didn’t get to hear all the songs that I love, then I’ve really got no complaints. To further offset that ‘complaint’, in the pro column I’d have to list Brandi’s ability to pick great openers.
Last night it was Jade Bird. She was adorable. I loved her stage presence and her description of some of her songs as shouty. I would say rocking vs shouty, but she’s British so maybe it’s a translation thing. Regardless, I am planning to go see her at The Chapel after seeing her last night. In the past, Katie Herzig stands out as an opener. She just recently came through San Francisco and I couldn’t go (too many choices and only one me — lucky for everyone, I’m sure). Though I’m not sure if The Secret Sisters have opened for Brandi, she has been instrumental in their story and I think they are marvelous. Thanks Brandi! You’re the best!!!!
And if you are still following along, go to our other blog post from Andee about Brandi Carlile.
TLDR: If you have a chance to go see Brandi Carlile, you should do it!