It was a beautiful evening in St Kilda with kite surfers as far as the eye could see as I made my way to the iconic Palais Theatre. What luck opening my 2018 gig calendar with none other than Alanis Morissette, an idol of my younger years and an icon in the music industry. With two sold out shows the fans still have a place in their hearts for Alanis and with the calibre of her back catalogue who wouldn’t!
Opening the night’s proceedings was Melbourne based singer/songwriter Angie McMahon, just a girl and her guitar who gave us a solid 45 minute set. While claiming to be nervous, it certainly didn’t show, she was confident, witty and was the perfect opener for main event.
The stage was set with two chairs, a stool, and not much more. It was clear from the onset it was an intimate acoustic setting with no drums or amps to be seen. The buzz was electric, chatter getting louder as the clock ticked down. Finally it was time, accompanied by two guitarists Alanis took to her stool where she stayed for the duration of the evening. Looking stunning in a sparkly black jacket, pants and high heels Alanis opened with You Learn, instantly making the hairs on my arms stand on end, followed by All I Really Want, amazing from the first note until the last. While still a youngster at 43 Alanis’s voice has certainly matured but she is sounding better than ever. The hits flowed with Alanis sipping tea at each interval, Hands Clean, Not The Doctor and the beautiful Guardian which was written for her son to name a few.
The ushers were sitting sentry at ever access point, keeping everyone’s phones in check, and even a few dancers were quickly seated keeping with the intimate feel of the evening. The lighting was lower than normal but suited the night perfectly, nothing was overlooked and everything flowed perfectly. Alanis also proved she is not just an exceptional singer she is a fabulous harmonica player, showcasing her hidden talent in many of her songs.
Alanis proved to be a terrific conversationalist sharing stories from her career and her private life, giving you a small insight into the life of a rock star. How she uses false names sometimes to retain her anonymity and how to spot a lip syncer, because clearly if you look pretty when you sing you are lip syncing! Also a little inside information that Jagged Little Pill is being made in to a stage show, certainly one to look out for.
Hand In My Pocket and Head Over Feet definitely fan favourites, Alanis’s voice projection truly amazing, not even needing to be close to the microphone for most of the evening. While the crowd was very well behaved the one heckler was shut down quickly without a fuss, Alanis choosing to just move on with the show after sending the man in question a virtual hug for his birthday. Full credit to the two guitarists’, they were technically perfect all night and were highly praised by the leading lady herself on many occasions.
Ironic had everyone in the theatre singing along, harmonizing quite beautifully, Alanis singing with such passion it oozed from every pore. Even laughing at herself when she forgot the lyrics, happy to start again, ever the professional. So Pure lifted the spellbound audience to celestial heights, Alanis explaining that she wrote the song after seeing a screening of the movie City of Angels. Then from one end of the spectrum to the other the familiar opening of You Oughta Know rang out, the angst ridden song still sensational 20 years on. While a little slower than the original version, it lacked nothing and was one of my favourites of the night. Thank U saw out the evening, and left everyone in awe of how talented this Canadian rocker is, a truly stunning way to see out what was an extraordinary night of live music.
I am extremely envious of everyone else who is going along to this tour, you are in for a real treat, lets hope its not another 20 years before we welcome Alanis back to our shores.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale