In Concert
Saturday, 24 July 2010 11:26

Natalie Merchant at the Chicago Theatre Featured

Written by 

There is something to be said in this era of huge concert productions, for a musician to fill a venue, show up with a band, and play. No huge frills, pyrotechnics, or costume changes, just two sets of solid material.

Natalie Merchant came back to Chicago after taking a seven year break, and took the stage as if that hiatus never even happened. Returning to the music scene with the amazing "Leave Your Sleep" 2 cd album, she still gave the same vibe she's so adept at, and that's making you feel like you're in the middle of an after dinner jam session in her living room. There was dancing, fun stories, joking with the crowd (even swiping a cell phone and taking her own pictures!) and all of those things that have you leaving the show with a smile on your face.

We even got a PowerPoint poetry lesson! Slides and Merchant's obvious knowledge and love of poetry prompted her to ask us, "Who says poetry isn't fun?".

Well, I still don't think it is. But it would be if Natalie Merchant became an English professor!

The music however, was the reason we were all there, and as usual, didn't disappoint. Backed by a folk/orchestral band of rotating musicians, Merchant stuck mostly to the "Leave Your Sleep" material, but we did get the favorites intertwined within the two sets. Some of the concertgoers were a little put off by so much focus being on "Leave Your Sleep", and I too would have liked to hear a bit more from "Ophelia" and "Motherland" but the journey the new music takes you on with it's ranging tempos and conceptual lyrics was better than listening to the songs we've known for years.

We did get songs like "Carnival" but reworked to have a fun Flamenco vibe to dress it up and make it shiny and new again. And "Eat For Two" was so haunting and beautiful in the way it was stripped down.

Merchant's voice is as great as it always has been, taking the tempo and genre changes of each song and bringing us right into the journey. Pitch perfect, haunting, and emotional it's no wonder that her music and fan base has remained solid even after a seven year absence.

You definitely came away from this show with a smile and bounce in your step, not even realizing an entire night just went by. Great show, and an amazing performance.

Last modified on Saturday, 24 July 2010 11:49

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

Check out the Ravinia schedule for Chicago Summer fun!


Latest Articles

  • Dancing Under the Stars Stands Up to a Little Rain
    Written by
    The 9th annual Chicago Dancing Festival came to a close on a rainy Sunday last week with the Dancing Under The Stars performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Despite the less than ideal weather for an outdoor performance, there was…
  • Because you’re So Smooth: Santana serenades Ravinia
    Written by
    Santana’s Corazón Tour blew through Chicago as quickly as a summer storm. But for two all-too-brief nights, Santana lit up the Pavilion stage at Ravinia to a sold out crowd of dancing, drinking, smoking, nostalgic concert-goers. For many in the…
  • Modern Women: A Glimpse into the History of Modern Dance
    Written by
    This summer the 9th annual Chicago Dancing Festival returns with four days of free dance performances throughout the city. On Wednesday evening, the MCA hosted a production entitled Modern Women in the Edlis Neeson Theater for two back-to-back shows. As…
  • ZZ Top Live at Ravinia
    Written by
    An amazing feeling comes over you when going to see a live band outside during the summer. It’s such a treat to be able to attend a show in beautiful landscapes of Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois. When ZZ Top…

Guests Online

We have 38 guests and no members online

Buzz Chicago on Facebook Buzz Chicago on Twitter