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Alanis Morissette quietly commands Tabernacle stage

Alanis can't ever be accused of lacking passion. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Alanis can't ever be accused of lacking passion. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Alanis Morissette doesn’t talk much onstage. Instead, she flashes peace signs, introduces band members and spends a lot of time hydrating between songs.

But never do you feel as if she isn’t 100 percent invested in being there. It’s evident in the wide smile plastered on her face, the involuntary rocking and pacing around the stage like a caged panther and sometimes, when she really gets into it, the crazy thrashing of her trademark mane.

At Thursday’s packed show at The Tabernacle, Morissette spent her 100 minutes on stage ripping through a well-balanced set list, one stocked with the highlights from her exceptional new album, “Havoc and Bright Lights,” and with plenty of nods to the girl who only used to be angry, but now, married and with a baby son, appears content at last.

Among the six new tracks Morissette, 38, and her five-piece band rolled out – the sweetly soaring “Guardian,” unjustly ignored at radio, and disco-rock “Woman Down” the two best – came the hits that have helped her sell more than 60 million albums worldwide.

“All I Really Want,” “You Learn,” “Ironic” and “Head Over Feet” all retained their diary-entry meaningfulness, with Morissette delivering the lyrics with the passion and conviction of the twentysomething who wrote them.

The dedicated fans in the crowd heartily sang along with the new tracks as well as the classics, spiking their singalongs with a roar whenever Morissette blew into her harmonica; they also reacted deliriously whenever an album-track oldie such as “Right Through You,” from 1995’s career-catapulting “Jagged Little Pill,” popped up.

Throughout the show, Morissette’s lower register was often difficult to decipher, but her upper register rang strong and true during “Mary Jane” and a frenetic “Uninvited,” its eerie piano creeping into massive crescendos accompanied by Morissette flailing wildly around the stage and whipping her hair into a tornado.

She segued into a faithful rendition of “You Oughta Know,” that perfect, snarling slice of spite that never, ever ages (the crowd took delight in screaming the words usually bleeped out on radio), but interestingly, didn’t end her initial set there.

Most artists would have, but instead, Morissette, playing guitar as she did throughout the show, blasted through the new “Numb.” She doesn’t want you to remember who she was, but who she is.

IMG_1029She and the band returned for an acoustic encore that launched with “Hand in My Pocket,” one of her best ruminations on contradictions, as well as “Joining You” and a poignant a capella “Your House.” (Many other shows received “Hands Clean” and “Everything” in the encore slot – fans will surely debate which audiences got the better deal).

But Morissette wasn’t quite finished, returning again for, appropriately, “Thank U,” and its infamous “transparent dangling carrots” line.

Though this U.S. tour will wind down after five more dates – the entire run started in June overseas – she said in a recent interview that she intends to tour well into 2013.

Morissette is an unpretentious presence on stage, but one that commands attention nonetheless.

10 comments Add your comment

The Austrian Brotherhood

October 26th, 2012
8:32 am

I wasn’t there, I don’t listen to her, and I don’t have an opinion on the matter.

Besides,this is way better.


October 26th, 2012
9:02 am

She was fantastic! She definitely commands the stage. I really like the new album and I was glad that she included ‘Spiral’ in the setlist. That might be my favorite track on “Havoc”.

‘Your house’ a capella was pretty powerful! I’d definitely see her again.


October 26th, 2012
9:04 am

Agreed, very good show. AM had a lot of energy and seemed to truly enjoy being on stage. Only 2 complaints – (1) Some times the sound system didn’t pick up her voice all that well and (2) the crowd singing along on her popular songs seemed to drown out her voice. Paid to see her sing, not the crowd. Favorite song of the night was the last one – “Your House” . Worth the price of admission

Soul Patch Groove

October 26th, 2012
9:36 am

She had one hand in her pocket and the other one was flicking a cigerette.

Soul Patch Groove

October 26th, 2012
9:38 am

It’s it ironic…dont you think??? You outta know, right?

richard butler

October 26th, 2012
9:45 am

once again youre at the wrong venue….The Lemonheads and Psyc Furs were amazing last night.

Melissa Ruggieri

October 26th, 2012
10:26 am

Hi Richard – so I heard, as my husband went to that show. I was torn, but my editor and I settled on Alanis to review because she’s the more recognizable name among many readers. There was also the Manson/Rob Zombie show closing out the Lakewood season, too. It’s a good problem to have — too many shows to cover on the same night!


The Rover

October 26th, 2012
12:03 pm

Led Zerppelin’s “Celebration Day” concert movie last week was UNBELIEVABLE!

I was transported back to the 70s when music was real and still gets incredible airplay.

Can’t wait to get the DVD & CD on 11/19

Alanis Fan

October 29th, 2012
10:55 am

Being the seventh time I’ve seen Alanis live, this was by far the best, yet at the same time the worst, show I’ve seen. Alanis was amazing as usual on stage and I gained a new respect for her as the sound at the Tabernacle hughly dissapointed me and she treated it as if nothing was going wrong (a true professional). I’ve been to many shows at that venue with great reveiws (easily my favorite in the city) but this time the sounds was just awful! I loved the variety of new verses old songs she did and was impressed with the crowd, young and old, who were extremely passionate. Although I would agree that I would have rather heard Alanis sing instead of the whole crowd.

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