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Chris High reviews Alanis Morissette live in Manchester 2005

ALANIS MORISSETTE - 'The Diamond Wink' Tour
Manchester Apollo.
Friday April 22nd , 05

Alanis Morissette performing live in concert 2005
Alanis Morissette, in the eyes of many in the UK, has never really followed up on the outstanding success of her Jagged Little Pill album of 1995. Four studio albums have followed that multi-Grammy winning debut, with - at best - a mediocre showing in the charts.
 

Of course there have been intervening singles: Thank U, Precious Illusions & Everything, to name but three. But mention Ms. Morissette and people will usually only ask 'didn't she do that Ironic thing?' as though she's a one hit wonder.
So, at last - due to her rarity in touring this country, preferring instead to concentrate on Germany - it was time to see if the Canadian could deliver where it matters most, on stage.

Could she ever!


To a barrage of strobes and with Varilights sweeping the audience, Alanis took the stage looking fantastic. The long hair is back, the eyes are bright and the smile warm and inviting rather than the pained - even sad - demeanour of years past.

Eight Easy Steps was the gig's opener, as it is with the latest album, So-called Chaos. Lively, loud and raw, backed by vicious guitar playing, drums and keyboards, this was the hoped for ideal start. All I Really Want followed and Morissette's energy is obvious for all to see, as she blows her harp and strums her guitar with gusto.

And don't the sell out crowd just lap it up. She doesn't waste time with meaningless interaction, she just says her thanks then it's on with the next. Her performance nullifies the need for small talk and the less she says, the more she plays.

Images flash up on circular screens at the back of the stage, whilst a flaming torch burns brightly at the centre of a vast, multi-floral mural backdrop. To aid those who had paid good money but were forced to stand at the back of the packed auditorium, two vast screens had been erected in each stage corner (take note other small venues), which showed the singer off in all of her stunning beauty. Have a sliced black top, fingerless leather gloves and leather pants ever looked so good?

And so the songs kept rolling. You Oughta Know, Wake Up, Excuses, You Learn, This Grudge - a truly beautiful version of this haunting tune, it has to be said - Hands Clean and That Particular Time, all immaculately sung, performed and welcomed.

Of course there were more recognisable tunes aplenty, too and none more so than Hand In My Pocket which was carried along by the audience on a wave of enthusiasm.

Everything appeared before the first section finished, whilst Will You Forgive Me Love? - the painfully moving secret track from Jagged - opened the first encore session of three.

Perfect!

The lingering memory from this gig is the fact that not only did Morissette herself appear to be enjoying the evening but so did her band. Guitarist and bassist and keyboard player gave their all, whilst the steady, intricate drumming provided the rudder.

Ironic was performed, more or less, by the audience and with a cheeky little twist provided by Alanis at the line "meeting the man of my dreams, then meeting his beautiful …" with wife being swapped for "husband."

Thank U, the final song of the evening of this blissful evening, was sung with such power, emotion and vocal dexterity, it belied the fact that she'd sung non-stop for one hour, fifty minutes here and also in London, the evening before.

And so it was was, with one final salute to her adoring fans, that Ms. Morisette was gone. It may have taken ten years to get to see her, but my God she was worth it. Let's just hope it's not another ten, before the experience is repeated.

www.alanis.com

 

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