Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sara Bareilles in concert

So, I bet you're wondering how the Sara Bareilles concert was.

In a word? Spectacular.

Not that I expected anything less from Miss Sara B. But even though I know her to be an amazing vocalist, I was still in awe of her performance.

But more on that later. First, let's talk about the venue: The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

It's pretty spectacular, too. Opened in 1926 and restored in the early 1990s, it is truly an architectural gem. We couldn't help but take several photos outside the neon marquee sign.

Walking into the lobby, I kind of felt like we stepped back in time. There was an old ticket booth...

And the inside of the theater was filled with beautiful, ornate detailing everywhere you looked. Just check out those chandeliers!

The stage was even more impressive. Lush, red curtains. Scalloped edges on the mezzanine box seats. The dim lights made the theater's gold features glow.

It all felt so rich and yet, so intimate. I've been to concerts at huge arenas filled with thousands of people. I had a blast, don't get me wrong. But The Orpheum was the perfect place to showcase Sara's voice. There were no fancy special effects, no costume changes or back-up dancers. Just pure authenticity and talent. (This review agrees with me :)

But first up were her opening acts.* Sara definitely made us wait! But I didn't mind too much because both performers were fantastic.

Sara, casually dressed before the show, introducing band mate and opening act, Javier Dunn.

The adorable and charming Javier Dunn took the stage first. He actually plays guitar for Sara. He put on a one-man show. It was just him and his guitar, and sometimes some prerecorded background instrumentation. But it was simple and honest and catchy-- and I loved it. The boy loved his cover of Death Cab for Cutie's "Summer Skin." I enjoyed all his songs, but I think my favorite might be "One Good Reason" ... or "How I Love You" .... or, gosh, I loved them all. (You can listen to Javier on his myspace, but I have to say his songs were much more dynamic live. He is great live.)

Next up was Greg Laswell. He and his band put on a great show, too. The ladies loved his hunky cellist and Greg was a pretty funny dude. The highlight was when he covered Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." He changed up the melody of the song so much that it took me a few lines to place it, but once I did, I couldn't help but laugh. However, comical as it was, it was actually a fabulous rendition-- even rivaled the original, in my humble opinion. It was in this style, with Greg stripped down, just him and his piano, that liked Mr. Laswell best.

Excited for the show to start!

It was probably an hour and a half before Sara came on. I told you she made us wait! But when she finally walked out on stage, the crowd erupted. Sara looked adorable. She was wearing a black jumpsuit,  shiny black ankle booties and a black bow in her hair. Throughout the show she made several remarks about this headband and bow. She said it was a new look for her and asked if she looked okay. Of course we all said yes!

(Sara also made us laugh with her potty mouth, which she couldn't shake even after realizing it was an all ages show. The boy was surprised; I was not. We both thought it was too funny.)

Sara opened the show with "Vegas" (from her first major-label release, "Little Voice") and followed that up with "Uncharted," one of my favorite songs from her new album ("Kaleidoscope Heart").

She mostly played songs from her latest (and greatest!) CD ("Hold My Heart," "Gonna Get Over You," "Let the Rain," "Basket Case") but in the middle of her set she performed the can't-help-but-get-stuck-in-your-head radio hit that made her famous: "Love Song."

Also from that 2007 album was "Fairytale." Sara delivered the tongue-in-cheek feminist anthem-- which is about all those unrealistic fairy tale romances us girls growing up believing in-- without her male band. She said she had performed a few shows without playing the song and it just didn't feel right, like something was missing. We were all glad she brought it back.

And there also was this totally cool cover of Radiohead's "Nice Dream," with Sara on ukulele and her boys stomping, tapping, clapping and snapping. Pretty fantastic.

Of course there was her upbeat (even if she is saying "f-you") new single, "King of Anything," too. (Pretend you're at the show and listen to the live performance here. And if you didn't guess already, click any of the links above to see video from the concert. Thanks to violetskyye!)

The most amazing moment of the night came at the end, when Sara brought up Sonos, a local a cappella group, to sing "Gravity" with her. "Gravity" is probably my all-time favorite Sara B. song. It might very well be my favorite song of all time, it is that good. It stirs my heart every time I hear it. And her performance at The Orpheum was no exception.

After "Gravity," Sara thanked Los Angeles-- her hometown-- and left the stage. But of course we called her back up for an encore. She sang "Many the Miles" (from "Little Voice") and then officially closed out the show with the hauntingly beautiful intro to her new CD, of the same name-- which she accompanied by playing some kind of accordion-type instrument. Again, amazing!

Taking a bow after the encore performance

All in all, it was a fabulous show. Sara's talent is far more impressive in person-- and I was already impressed by her CD! Her voice was strong, flawless, crystal clear. Her notes angelic, almost floating in the theater. After hearing "Gravity," my head on the boy's shoulder, I literally said "wow." Yeah, that sums it up. Wow.

Watch the a cappella version of "Gravity" below. (Aren't you glad someone was recording the performances for us?)

*sorry no photos of the openers and sorry my photos of Sara aren't the best! Unfortunately, my camera wasn't cooperating. Really, it's just old and no good in poor lighting. A girl in the row ahead of me was taking excellent, clear, close-up shots. The ones I have here are actually zoomed all the way in, if you can believe it! I'm officially taking suggestions for a new camera. :)

However, Sara's photographer friend Colin Young Wolff took some amazing behind-the-scenes and concert photos. You can check them out here.


Erin said...

Carissa! You know who else looked adorable at that show? You. That dress is fantastic!

I love a show at a lovely old theatre. My mom, sister and I are going to see a celtic Christmas concert this year at a beautiful old theatre. It just adds so much to the atmosphere, doesn't it?

Glad you had such an amazing time!

Helen said...

JEALOUS! Thanks for the play by play, I feel like I was there too! I'm now listening her on youtube ;)

Have you heard Sara's "In your eyes" cover? It's one of my faves!

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

I don't know if I told you before, but Sara sang her a cappella version of Gravity at one of my a cappella concerts in college! It was originally a cappella before she because a supa star :) xo

Carissa said...

yes, Shannon, I remember you said that. and I still think that's amazing! as a singer myself (in college and now just recreationally :), I know singing a cappella is not an easy thing to do... so exposed. but sara does it beautifully!