Friday, November 4, 2016
The Chocolate Church, Bath, Maine
I’d been meaning to see Joan Osborne live for over twenty years. Her 1995 release, Relish, played on repeat when I was in high school. You probably know her most famous song “One of Us,” which I also love, but “St. Teresa” was my jam. Joan is currently touring as an acoustic duo with multi instrumentalist Keith Cotton. No opening act and close to home? You bet I made my way to Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath to see her live, and I’m glad I got to hear both of those songs in person, but otherwise, I thought the show was dull. I was also just about the only person who seemed to think so. I ran into a handful of people I know during intermission and after the show who were wide eyed and smiling and all asked “can you believe how amazing she is?” I nodded politely. The couple sitting next to me didn’t come back after intermission, which I also sincerely contemplated, but she hadn’t played “One of Us” yet, and I knew she would.
Joan’s voice was incredibly vanilla in person. She sang a song she wrote for the stirring Sharon Jones (who has recently passed) and it was very kind and also dull. Joan sang a few Bob Dylan covers (she’d played a two-week stint covering Dylan songs at Café Carlyle in New York City before he was honored with a Nobel Prize), and I was glad I could understand the words (for a change), but the songs fell flat for me. I am glad I went, as my take is clearly in the minority (maybe it was an age-related thing? I was pretty young compared to the rest of the capacity crowd), but I’m all set with Joan shows forever. Still, you should always go see the people who have made the music that has made you when you are still able. I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t gone and checked it out for myself.