Brandi Carlile played two shows at the Mission Ballroom last weekend. The third show on 9/29/19 was cancelled due to illness. I don’t want to brag… but the Saturday show was better than the Friday show (I of course went to the Saturday show). Here are the reasons:
- Carlile wore her shiny suit and glittery fancy footwear compared to her ensemble of leggings and tennis shoes on Friday.
- Carlile confessed that Saturday night’s version of the Grammy winning song The Joke was the best one so far this tour.
- Carlile sang Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting). She didn’t sing it on a Friday because apparently Friday night is not alright for fighting.
Twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth teamed up with Carlile in Seattle, WA in the late 90’s. When they discovered how powerful their combined harmonies were, they never stopped performing together. The trio built a following over the years by relentless touring with their inspiring music. In 2018, Carlile released By the Way, I forgive You co-produced by Nashville legends Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb. It launched her into the spotlight. She won three Grammys, produced legendary artist Tanya Tucker, and formed the super group The Highwomen with Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. Seeing Carlile in the prime of her career backed by the twins in an intimate venue was awe-inspiring.
Stepping on stage in a shiny suit with sparkly shoes, Carlile immediately had the crowd singing along to the infectious Hold Out Your Hand. Under Carlile’s instructions the crowd held out their hands and sang along to the chorus of “Ba da da, ba da da, ba da da.” It set the tone for an extraordinary night.
Throughout the show, Carlile touched upon a theme of empathy. Sugar Tooth is about understanding the struggles of a drug addict. Mother is about priorities changing when raising a child. Carlile’s solo piano version of Table of One (a more real and raw than the current radio version with British crooner Sam Smith) drove the importance of setting aside pride for love.
Besides the singer-songwriter element, the show had a party atmosphere. Before Carlile even hit the stage, the house music played everything from Lizzo‘s Truth Hurts to Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart. The band covered two Elton John songs. Someone in the audience even handed Elton John like glasses for Carlile to wear during the tunes. The twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth hammed it up by parading around the stage and posing with their instruments.
Carlile made everyone feel that this day, this venue, this crowd, and this performance were special. That might be her biggest talent. All that aside, Saturday’s concert was a better than Friday’s.
On Saturday, Courtney Marie Andrews played her last show opening up for Carlile on this leg of the tour. Andrews played keyboards and sung backing vocals for Jimmy Eat World in 2010. After that exposure to the pop world, Andrews developed a more intimate style of music. Her powerful vocals on her hopeful song May Your Kindness Remain made the sold-out crowd stop talking for a moment (that’s hard to do for an opening act). Andrews later joined Carlile on stage for a duet of Joni Mitchell’s River. Brandi Carlile will perform not only that song, but the entire legendary singer’s Blue album in it’s entirety on October 14 in Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one bragging about seeing Saturday’s show… not Friday’s.