Alanis Morissette @ Roseland

  • Saturday 19 November 2005 12:11
  • 5 minute read

I was taking a look at my music collection yesterday before the show, and it seems that, in my travels through this world, I’ve managed to pick up the vast majority of her albums over the years.

The funny thing is, I listen to her in a decided ’non-fan’ way: I am not conversant in her oeuvre, if you will - the only songs I know by name are the same massively popular ones that everyone else can name as well. I have just found that the combination of her songwriting and execution is rather pleasant to my ears.

So, if a song pops up on the radio (or through the random actions of my iPod), I wont skip past it. And, I will grab her albums if I see one because of this. I don’t need to know song names, or her favorite color, or who she was singing to in You Oughta Know. I guess I’m saying that I am not an Alanis Morissette fan so much as I am a fan of Alanis Morissette’s music.

Speaking as a narcissistic performer myself, the ultimate goal is to have every one in the world think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, and to bask in the adulation. But, I admit that I would happily settle for a ‘fan base’ of people like me, as described above, because the ‘hits’ aren’t as important to us - you could play just about anything, and we’d be happy. Which means that, as a performer, you can play what pleases you, instead of what pleases your audience.

OK, enough philosophical rambling… This tour is to promote a ‘greatest hits’ CD that was released this week. So of course, this means that last night was the best possible concert for people who know her only from what they’ve heard on the radio. Unfortunately, this also means that for a dedicated concert going audient (a.k.a., Moi), it had the potential for a high cretin quotient. In this aspect, the concert did not disappoint - more on this later.

Other than the cretins, it was quite enjoyable. And, interestingly, the big hits were the best, because of the audience participation. Usually, I cringe when a singer points the microphone into the crowd as an invitation. I came to hear you sing, dude, not the unwashed masses. But, last night, that audience participation was sublime. In addition to being perfectly balanced with the band from my vantage point, there was an amazing energy involved that had shivers running down my spine. Whoa.

The band was on, but there were some disappointments from my perspective: no one in the band sang harmonies, which to my ear are an important part of her music. And, they seemed a little unsure of tempos on some songs - I was watching the drummer panic a little from time to time, trying to get the band to ‘get with the program’. But all in all, those were minor quibbles.

Now, let’s talk cretins. My particular spot on the floor seemed to be the ‘intelligence test’ spot. You see, Roseland is a ballroom, i.e., it is designed for dancing. The stage is set up on one end of a large dance floor, delineated by a railing. Openings in this railing are obviously marked by ’lamposts’: tall poles with lights on the top. I was standing right behind this railing, but very close to an opening. Perhaps I’m being too hard on people who have never been there before, but I was ready to get medieval on the next person who pushed their way through me trying to get to the floor, only to find a railing in front of them. Even more so when the opening was a mere five feet away. Ugh.

The other irritation came from the type of people I mentioned above - the ones who only knew the hits. At the beginning of the show, Alanis stated that since this is a ‘retrospective’ type show, she’d be playing the hits, as well as some ‘personal favorites’. Of course, the songs that were unfamiliar to the general public were the cue for the heathens to chat, loudly. Sigh.

I do understand that there are people who will shell out good money to go to a concert, and use it as nothing more than background noise. I also understand that there are monster truck enthusiasts. That does not mean that I understand their motivations. Eh, whatever. I guess my present mental state is one where I am easily annoyed.

Suffice it to say that the show was good enough that the minor (or major, to me) irritations last night were overshadowed by a wonder evening of music. And, there you have it.

Oh, one last thing. Those few people who are intimately acquainted with my current personal situation were hard pressed to suppress a smile when informed of my destination last night. For you see, my life is so chock-full of Irony (with a capital “I”) at present that that song is the de-facto sound track of my life right now. Even if her examples of Irony aren’t that good. Let’s just say that, when she did that song, I was the audience member singing the loudest. With a knowing smirk.