The Palais, Melbourne
The auditorium of the iconic Palais is packed to the rafters for this evenings acoustic performance by the 90s Queen of angst, the undeniably talented Alannis Morrisette. Her break out album 1995s ‘ Jagged Little Pill’ was the alternative post-grunge hang over cure for a generation of flannelette wearing kids and has sold over 33 million copies world wide.
Now those angst ridden kids have grown up and so has Alanis. Looking sophisticated in a black sequin blazer and heels, for this evenings performance she is seated, flanked by acoustic guitars. The Canadian is relaxed and comfortable in her own skin.
Opening the evening with a little small talk Alanis gets straight down to the business of entertaining ‘ You Learn’ to open the set. She powers through the hits, stopping to chatter every now and then, to inform the crowd about the songs she has written, stories of her children and such.
There is a certain vulnerability to playing an acoustic set, there is no hiding behind instruments or a band. Its just Alanis and her voice with witty stories to peppered through the evenings entertainment.
When one overly enthusiastic crowd member continues to call out to Alanis, she handles it with professionalism and grace of a seasoned professional. The room turning into sing a long when her more famous hits ‘ Ironic’, ‘ Hand and in my pocket’, and ‘ Head over feet’ garnering a few laughs when she changes the words in Ironic from ” <em>Its like meeting the man of my dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife”
</em> to ‘ husband’ momentarily throwing off the sing a long.
Launching into ‘ You outta know’ towards the end of the evening the applause becomes thunderous, gradually becoming louder towards the chorus, every member of the audience singing at the top of their lungs, a row of girls in the front dancing before being told off by the ushers. Its a collective moment for all to remember later as they look over photos at home.
Playing through the hits and a few lesser known gems, Alanis shines with the slower more matured versions of her work. Unfortunately with the banning of camera phones, most of the audience are at a loss of what to do without their electronic babysitters so the mindless chatter is at a dull roar and its some what distracting.
The evening draws to a close and Alanis has taken everyone back to their teenage years for almost two hours, an enjoyable experience for all under the dome. Its been a long time since she last toured Australia, and hopefully she returns soon.
Words and images by Amanda Lee Starkey