When I originally told my plus one I was bringing her to a Sara Bareilles concert, she smiled at me with a look that said, "I don't do chick music." I tried to get her amped about the show, describing how hilarious Bareilles is, how her voice is magical, how she plays piano like a boss. I even got her to wear a little black dress with me for the occasion, appropriate, given it was the Hollywood, Florida, stop at Hard Rock Live of the singer's Little Black Dress Tour.
On our way to the concert, I played a bunch of Bareilles' songs to get the mood going, and I lucked out, because when my guest heard "I Choose You," she already started to change her mind on the matter.
Bareilles started the show by coming out early, way before her set, and even before start time. She made a joke about surprising the crowd as she introduced her two openers, Hannah Georgas and Emily King. Bareilles explained how she met them both through friends and described Twitter stalking Georgas. She said she forced the other singer into becoming her friend. And with that, the show began. Georgas and her band took the stage.
The Canadian born sweetheart's set was amazing from start to finish. Georgas definitely had no trouble gaining new fans. Her first time in town, she made one hell of an impression with her hauntingly beautiful voice, her talented band, and guitar prowess.
Her stories about the songs she wrote and why she wrote them were enchanting as well. Our favorite? "Millions." Georgas explained that it was a song she was inspired to write after dealing with people who doubted her creative ideas and goals. This was her way of, to quote the lady herself, "telling them to fuck off." Fittingly, the song has ended up being one of her bigger hits.
She also played "Enemies," "Somebody," and "Shortie," Georgas' pop version of a hip-hop song. Being a big fan of the genre, she manages to pull it off well despite the shift in genres. Before leaving the stage, she announced that she'd be downstairs for a bit to say hi. My friend and I took off in between sets. After buying a T-shirt and Georgas' CD a good chunk of time passed. I was about to leave when I caught sight of the singer-songwriter standing a few feet away. I was flattered she remembered me from the interview we had last week. I even got a hug. I made sure to fan-out and tell her I think she should be headlining next visit.
Next up was Emily King. She sang one of her new songs "Georgia" and did a Beatles cover. No one can deny that King has a killer voice. But lyrically and emotionally, I wasn't blown away like with the other ladies that night. There just wasn't that same connection with the audience.
When Bareilles took the stage, seats were sold out. She mentioned how fucking awesome it was to see the place so full. She fittingly opened with the song her tour is named after "Little Black Dress," and yes, she came out wearing a black dress and later noted how many of her fans had decided to do the same that night. There wasn't a single lull all evening. The setlist was well curated with old and new songs. On playing some crowd favorites, she said, "Don't worry we'll get to it. I just have so many hits. Nothing but hits," adding, "That was such a douchey thing to say."
The concert could be compared to a perfect date. Bareilles charmed the pants off the audience by either making us laugh or blowing us away with her pure talent. She told funny stories, self-depreciating jokes, and we formed a connection. She even showed off her piano skills (it's great when your date does that) with "Love on the Rocks." You can't fully capture the sheer power of her voice on a recording. Live is the way to go with Bareilles.
Her modified performance of "Come Round Soon," an older of her songs, really blew me away. She gave it new life by playing some sexy guitar herself and speeding up the tempo a bit. It was exciting to see her get creative with a song she's probably played a thousand times. Things got emotional with "Manhattan" which she said she wrote following a break-up that also resulted in leaving her hometown of LA for New York. People were glued to their seats as they watched and empathized with her. There was even a silent video screening in the background showing the singer wondering around Manhattan alone. It's safe to say there were a few misty eyes in the crowd after that one. She actually looked at the crowd and asked, "Is everyone OK? I know this is the depressing part of the show," then she yelped, "I love depression!"
Fans that night got to hear a very special song called "She Used to Be Mine." Bareilles explained she wrote it for a new musical based on the movie Waitress. She was nervous about debuting it, but the crowd was a weepy one, and it was well received with tears. "That was fucking terrifying," she admitted. "It's not often that you go to a pop-rock show and hear a song about pie. So, you're fucking welcome, Florida."
"You guys are the shit," could have been her tagline that night, because she said it repeatedly to everyone's delight. The old songs were recognized by most and a newer one, "I Choose You" got her a house full of "twinkle peeps" as she referred to all the fans holding up their cellphone "lighters." She wrote the tune after an encounter with a guy who told her he and his wife loved her music and wanted to use one for their wedding but everything she writes is so depressing. "I started thinking about what I was manifesting with my music," she explained. This one he can and his wife can use.
For her encore, she presented a beautiful and incredibly pure a capella version of "Bright Lights and Cityscapes." And then Bareilles truly ended our perfect date with "Satellite Call."
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