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[Concert Review] Brandi Carlile, September 18th, The Barrymore Theater

If I learned one thing from Saturday night, it is that Brandi Carlile is best appreciated live. While I love her albums, videos and the like, none of those things can quite give you the sense of the type of performer she really is. Carlile has an amazing stage presence and you can tell how involved she gets in her performances. She just really loves to play and that feeling emanated out of her on Saturday and washed over the entire audience. Download "Dying Day" Her show had a great variety and pace. Since she had played Madison not too long ago, she made a point to play a different set than she had previous, which her returning fans were grateful for. The story, Turpentine, and Dreams were all accounted for but she also snuck in some surprises. Switching from an all out rock atmosphere to softer ballads and back kept the audience on their toes the whole time. Carlile snuck in a couple of covers including a heart breaking version of Over the Rainbow, a solo of Alphaville’s 80’s hit Forever Young, and she paid homage to the late great Johnny Cash. She transitioned seamlessly from Closer to You to a Beatles cover. Now growing up with a parent who is borderline obsessed with the Beatles (yes dad, I’m talking to you) has made me a huge fan and a harsh critic of those who cover their material. Brandi’s version of I’ve Just Seen a Face however, was brilliant. It would have made my papa proud. While the whole show was remarkable the part that stood out to me the most was something that I have never ever seen a band do before. They played a completely unplugged rendition of “Dying Day”. I thought that was a pretty chancy move considering the size of the Barrymore but as Brandi said, “That’s what these rooms were made for.” Utilizing the natural acoustics of the room, her voice carried to every row and it made for an incredible feeling throughout the audience. Not only was the music amazing but Carlile really made an effort to bond with the audience. Many times she told us what a great group we were and her supporters showed their appreciation with an ear-splitting cheer every time. Instead of the usual one or two word exclamation between songs, Carlile told funny anecdotes and shared some great personal stories which only made the crowd more connected to her. At one point she got the whole audience to act as a “Three part Madison choir”. With her interest in her fans, it’s no wonder they hold her in such high esteem. If you missed Brandi this time around, I strongly urge you to go see her the next time you have a chance. She truly is an amazing performer and listening to her albums or watching a patchy video of her live performances just isn’t going to cut it. -Emily Cartwright

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09/21/2010 6:38AM
[Concert Review] Brandi Carlile, September 18th, The Barrymore Theater
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