Alanis Morissette

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Band Summary

Average User Rating 9.04
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Alanis Shines Unplugged in Concert
Venue/Date: San Francisco Blues Festival (San Francisco, CA)
Concert Date:  
April 20th, 2003
Reviewer: aceshooter

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      Sound Quality  
      Set and Lighting Design (SLD)  
      The Finish/Encore  

The Bottom Line Alanis Shines Unplugged

First off I'm going to have to confess: I have an ulterior motive for going to Alanis Morissette concerts. My brother Jason is a guitarist and has been in her band since November 2001. Before you write to me and ask, he says she's very, very nice.

Like everyone else who wasn't living in a cave, I heard the hits off of 1995's multiple Grammy award winner, "Jagged Little Pill". Those receiving heavy airplay were some great tunes to be sure, such as "Hand in My Pocket" and "Head Over Feet". While the songs on 2002's "Under Rug Swept" may not be as commercial as many on 'Pill', Alanis seems to have lost the somewhat nasal tone of the earlier record and is purely singing now.

If there were any doubt to that observation, it certainly was refuted at an Earth Day benefit, "We The Planet", at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 4-20-03. I saw Alanis' electric band with my brother in May 2002. Great, disciplined seven piece band, great show. This however was the stripped down, unplugged Alanis, with only Jason and Dave on acoustic guitars, Alanis on a stool between them just singing, although she did pick up a flute during one tune.

Having heard both within a year of each other, I have to say I much prefer the simplified, acoustic Alanis Morissette. Maybe I'm a bit biased, but Jason and Dave work incredibly well together, never getting in each other's way, just two natural sounding guitars weaving together a rich and intricate framework where Alanis' beautiful vocal instrument can weave her thought provoking, charismatic tales.

The set began with an admonition to get out there and live, "You Learn": "I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone" and "I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone". Next was "Right Through You", a bit of relationship bitterness. Alanis has been accused of being a ragaholic in some circles, a woman with some ill will towards men. I don't see it that way, I see it coming from a disarmingly honest artist who is not afraid to talk about being taken for granted as we all have been at one time or another.

Alanis continued her unbridled honesty with "So Unsexy", bluntly revealing the fragility underneath her great stardom and beauty: "One small sideways look and I feel so ungood", or "One forgotten phone call and I'm deflated".

"Utopia" followed, the perfect Earth Day lyrics recalling John Lennon's plea for brotherhood in "Imagine":
"We would share and listen and support and welcome.
Be propelled by passion not invest in outcomes.
We would breathe and be charmed and amused by difference.
Be gentle and make room for every emotion."

"Hands Clean", the hit from 'Under Rug Swept' followed, a tune which goes over perfectly in the acoustic setting, Jason and Dave's particularly pretty fingerpicking the backdrop for another cutting real life tale of teenage love and betrayal by an adult. The set closed out with "Ironic" ("It's meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful husband"), "That I Would Be Good", and "Thank You".

Most stunning about this consistently stunning 40 minute set was the clarity, beauty and range of Alanis' voice throughout. While this is evident in her electric band as well, it becomes even more obvious with only two acoustic guitars resonating behind her.

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