Tag Archives: Orpheum Theatre

Brandi Carlile with The Secret Sisters

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Orpheum Theatre, Boston

I hadn’t planned on going to this show because I’m really over the logistical hassles that come with any Boston show, but my best friend very thoughtfully bought me two tickets for this show for Christmas because she knows how much I love Brandi Carlile. I thought about selling the tickets because they were in the back of the room at Orpheum and I have a pretty firm 10 rows or less from the stage rule (I’m visually impaired and seeing performers’ faces matters to me), but I decided to make a weekend of it. I bet that’s probably just what my bestie was hoping I’d do, because this show just happened to fall on my birthday weekend.

My awesome friend Dot and I took the bus from Portland to Boston (we saw Malia Obama in the Concord Trailways station, too), had a delicious lunch in Chinatown, checked in early to our beautiful room at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, explored Boston Common on a perfect, sunny day, grabbed a drink on our hotel’s gorgeous rooftop deck, had a very uncomfortable dinner sitting next to a drunk husband verbally attacking his wife, recovered with a bonus stop for coffee and a lemon tart, and made it to Orpheum with time to spare to catch up with my pal Aimsel Ponti.

Aimsel had a great seat for the Friday night show, and she was so taken (duh, it’s Brandi), that she decided to buy a seat for the next night online, too. Aimsel’s seats both nights were about a thousand rows (okay, more like 25) in front of ours, so her show experience was much different than mine. 

Dot had never heard of The Secret Sisters, but I’ve seen them a handful of times now, and knew she’d enjoy their harmonies and pretty songs. Their most recent album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore, was produced by Brandi Carlile and earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Folk AlbumI’ve read interviews that The Secret Sisters almost quit making music after their label dropped them, but Brandi swooped in and fought hard for them to keep going. The crowd was sadly pretty chatty in the Orpheum all night, so it was hard for me to stay connected to either performance, which was quite disappointing.

Brandi Carlile and the twins–Phil and Tim Hanseroth–slayed like they always do. They give 110% every night, for sure, but I was sitting so far away from them that I really couldn’t see their faces. That, and people around me talked all night, and a handful of people a few rows in front of me decided to stand for the bulk of the show, so those of us behind them had to stand, and that just made it hard for me to see the stage and feel like part of a concert experience. Clearly, this was my least favorite Brandi show (this one was my favorite), but it had literally nothing to do with Brandi and the band–which included a lot storytelling (which I love), a string and horn section, and even The Secret Sisters on background vocals for some of the night.

Brandi said “if ever there was a band that should have been called something else, it’s this one, because there’s no lead singer” to introduce the stunning three part harmonies of “The Eye.” To introduce “The Mother” Brandi told us that most of the advice she’d gotten before becoming a mom didn’t ring true for her, and “if you’re thinking about having kids, give it some thought, because it will fundamentally shift your life.”

Brandi told us that “Phil was up late one night reading the news about an unidentified woman’s body found in a field in Georgia and no one never claimed her body. She was 30 years old and she’d given birth to someone at some point in her life. She had a tattoo of Jesus on her hand. It bothered him so much, that someone could leave the world without a proper name, that he wrote her a song”–“Fulton County Jane Doe.”

It took me a few songs to realize that they played every song from their new, deeply personal album, By the Way, I Forgive You, which included string arrangements by Paul Buckmaster, who passed away unexpectedly before the album was released. Brandi introduced “Party Of One” by telling us it was the last string arrangement Paul ever wrote, and that “I’ll never play it without thinking of him.” Brandi and the band cleared the stage, to thunderous applause.

They returned for a three song encore, and Brandi dedicated “Hold Out Your Hand” to the youth leading the March For Our Lives moment and to “all who amplify their voices.” You HAVE to watch the video for that song that came out last week. I cried. Laura, Lydia, and Brandi closed the night with a stunning a cappella version of “Amazing Grace,” which hit just the right note and sent us home with hope in our hearts.

I’ll see Brandi and the twins again this summer at Newport Folk Festival. I can’t wait to see them again, with what will surely be a far more attentive audience. This audience, from where I sat, didn’t deserve the show it got. We can do better, y’all.

xo,

bree

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Glen Hansard with Joe Purdy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts

Glen Hansard is one of my favorite musicians, and I continue to be shocked that he’s not a household name. He should be. He is a phenomenal storyteller who gives 110% on stage. A seasoned busker, he knows how to connect with an audience and be heard. For those of you who don’t know Glen Hansard, let me introduce you. He’s been the lead singer of Irish rock band The Frames for over 25 years. He was in the 1990 film, The Commitments. He starred in and wrote the music for the acclaimed 2007 film Once. Glen and Markéta Irglová won the Oscar for Best Song with “Falling Slowly” (a song I suspect you’ve probably heard, but didn’t know who wrote it). Once The Musical is now on Broadway, and it’s a lovely adaptation of the film.

Here’s Glen’s 2012 NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Here’s Glen at NPR All Song Considered’s Sweet Sixteen party in 2016. Those should hook you.

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There was no question that I’d drive to Boston on a school night to see Glen live at The Orpheum. I met my steadfast concert friend Bob for dinner and we grabbed our great center orchestra seats in time to catch the last few songs of Joe Purdy’s opening set. Arkansas native folk singer-songwriter Joe Purdy was charming and honest. He told us he’d written his last album with a pretty sharp tongue but went home to be with his family for Christmas before he recorded it. He said his wonderful, Saint-like mother told him that if he wanted to make a real impact on people’s lives that he needed to take the anger out of his message. So he went back to California and rewrote the whole record, which was the right thing to do, even if “it was a huge pain in the ass.” Check out “My Country.” I wish we hadn’t missed so much of Joe’s set, and I hope I get the chance to see him again soon.

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Joe Purdy

Glen and his band took the stage and wowed from start to finish. They must have played close to 25 songs, which was such a gift. I was especially happy to hear Glen tell so many stories that inspired his songs. It’s the best part about getting to see your favorites live–when they tell you about their lives and the characters and moments that inspired them. It’s a special thing. Glen opened the show with “You Will Become,” which set exactly the perfect tone. He told us that his next song, “Just to Be the One,” was really about his hard-earned love for his dog. I was thrilled to hear “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from Once early in the set list. Bob leaned over to say how glad he was to hear “Bird of Sorrow,” which is also a favorite of mine. Glen told a long story about Renata–a gritty, honest waitress at a place in NYC who has her own fan club. The band closed their set with “Falling Slowly,” which Glen dedicated to Markéta.

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Glen Hansard

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Glen came back to the stage greeted by thunderous applause. He treated us to “Love Don’t Keep Me Waiting” solo, and invited the band back to join him for another five songs. I was over the moon to hear “Say It to Me Now,” which was the opening song of Once, and “This Gift,” which was beautifully featured in the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Jake Clemons from the E Street Band joined Glen and the band on stage for the last three songs of the night, which included a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Drive All Night.” “Her Mercy” was lovely, and then all of the band and crew, Joe Purdy, and Jake Clemons joined Glen for a spectacular version of  “The Auld Triangle,” which I’m so glad someone recorded so I can enjoy it again and again. It was a magical evening, and this was the perfect ending. Please check out Glen Hansard if you haven’t. You can carpool to Boston with me next time he’s in town.

xo,

bree

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“The Auld Triangle”

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Damien Rice with My bubba

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Orpheum Theatre, Boston

I’m tempted to write just this:

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

I SAW DAMIEN RICE FROM THE FIFTH ROW LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!

But you know me, and I’m long winded. I’ll try to keep it brief though, but only to spare you the sadness you might feel since you weren’t there, or that I feel because it’s over now.

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I'd never been to the Orpheum before. If you don't look too closely, it's quite pretty.

I’d never been to the Orpheum before. If you don’t look too closely, it’s quite pretty.

My awesome concert friend Bob (who is always looking out for me concert-wise) and I got tickets over the weekend for last night’s sold out Damien Rice show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. When he and I met almost four years ago, he asked me what my best concert experience to date was, and I told him without hesitating what I’ve told anyone who has ever asked me that question—it was Damien Rice with The Frames (featuring the insanely gifted Glen Hansard) at State Theatre in Portland back in April of 2004. Damien was touring to support his beautiful 2002 album O, and I was in the front row for the show with no barricade leaning right up against the stage. Lisa Hannigan joined him that night along with a cellist and an additional instrumentalist or two. It was inspired. I was speechless after the show.

I haven’t seen Damien Rice live in eleven years, but last night’s live show more than met my lofty expectations and fully reminded me of the magic of that night all those many years ago. Damien is an unassuming character on stage. He chatted with us genuinely (none of that “HEY BOSTON!!” crap) about some of the songs and life in general. His voice is crystal clear and powerful. He holds notes forever and can evoke emotion without even singing a single word. I think he oohed and aahed for the last many minutes of the last song of the night, “Cold Water,” but the cries meant something anyhow. The hair on the back of my neck was at a standstill for the bulk of the night. If anything, I’d occasionally get distracted by how uncomfortable I was in the ancient seat (albeit a fifth row one, so not a complaint) at the dilapidated Orpheum and would shift and get back to focusing on the show.

My bubba. Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

My bubba. Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

This gives a good sense of how far from the stage our seats were. So close!

This gives a good sense of how far from the stage our seats were. So close!

Damien Rice. Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

Damien Rice. Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

Damien Rice. Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

Damien Rice. Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

Courtesy of Chris Van Slyke of bostonthroughmyeyes.com

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I’m enjoying Damien’s newest album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, and it seemed that last night’s crowd was full of fans who alsoknew his entire catalogue by heart. I just considered telling you about the standout songs, but the list would basically be a set list of the whole show. I was so impressed with how much passion and just sheer noise one man could produce up there. What a night. My friend Chris at bostonthroughmyeyes.com wrote a bit about the show which includes the set list and lovely photos he took, as well. I knew I’d likely send you his way for a full report and so pretty much turned off the music journalist in my head and just got caught up being a lucky member of last night’s incredibly fortunate audience.

Damien Rice—you have got “it” and “it” to spare. Thank you for the gift of your music and for a truly beautiful show last night. This is essentially my version of speechless.

xo,

bree

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