Artist: Joan Osborne
Date: September 23, 2000
Opening Act: Lina
Venue: First Avenue
City: Minneapolis, MN
Review by Anne Deming
I walked into First Ave a little after 7PM to catch the entire set of the opener, Lina. She had a rather pleasant voice, but little else. She stepped on stage wearing jeans, a shiny top and an enormous flower stuck behind her ear and occasionally an orange boa she wore during her “I wanna be Billie Holiday” songs. She was a mix of R&B, jazz and a poetry reading; slightly enjoyable, but not my first, second or third choice to open for Joan Osborne.
Joan hit the stage at 8:45 PM looking like a very pretty Janis Joplin (plaid pants, a white t-shirt with a red car on it, tan suede jacket, and rose tinted sun glasses). She sang three songs off her new release “Righteous Love” and the crowd went crazy. Joan stated, several times, how overwhelmed she was by her Minneapolis welcome. I don’t think that many people even knew she had a new album out, but they loved her performance from start to finish, singing along to any part of any song they knew. “St. Theresa” was AMAZING, her voice growled and soared with unbelievable force. During “Right Hand Man”, Joan had the audience singing and dancing up a storm. Also, transitions from song to song were quite fluid, with a perfect mix of old and new.
I posted my brief and very disappointed review of “Righteous Love” at the beginning of September which, unfortunately, has not changed at all. There is one amazing track on the CD, “To Make You Feel My Love”, which was her closing song. It was simple, sweet and reminiscent of “Crazy Baby” from “Relish”.
Too often an artist can produce a solid record as far as songwriting, musicality and vocals are concerned but lack the ability to bring that music to life on stage during a performance…but not Joan. She was at ease and on fire at the same time during the entire set. While I didn’t quite care for a good portion of the music (her new stuff), I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the concert. Her voice was incredibly vibrant; she utilized the microphone, her band, the room, the people-EVERYTHING-to give an outstanding performance. I would recommend a front row seat to any show she’s giving.