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Last Night: Ani DiFranco at Langerado

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Ani DiFranco

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Langerado

Better Than: A Chocolate Seven-Layer Birthday Cake

It’s a funny thing when you feel the “obsession” link with a musician kick in, especially when it’s been a few years since you felt so in love with the music. Such was the case at Langerado when I finally got to see Ani DiFranco rock the reservation with an hour-and-a-half long set that had hundreds of crooners bum rushing the Sunset stage at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night. Bi-polar warm/cold fronts, port-a-potties, life as a dirty hippy and the fact that my party left before the show couldn’t keep me away from DiFranco’s collection of acoustic guitars and a playlist better than a chocolate seven-layer birthday cake. Opening with a few of her newer jams like “Half-Assed” and “78% H20” definitely had the Ani appreciators swaying, but halfway through her set, the songstress treated die hards to a taste of the oldies like “Napolean” and “Gravel,” which were better at Langerago live than on any other live disc she’s ever thrown together.

DiFranco’s performance was worthy in comparison to double-disc Living in Clip, only with the hint of a makeover, both inside and out. Sporting a new haircut – an Ani bob circa the Up Up Up days – she joked with the crowd about the transition of writing angry, depressed songs to performing a fresh batch of happy, warm jams that kind of “freaks me out,” she laughed. The highlight of her show had to be the unexpected trip in the time machine back to “Untouchable Face,” a love-at-first-sight track that once-turned all Ani fans I know. Things couldn’t get any better when DiFranco busted out with “32 Flavors,” a single that made her semi-famous on the mainstream circuit before one-hit wonder Alana Davis’ revision. As the crowd clapped and cheered for her return, the feminista maven rocked out hard with a three-song encore featuring “Little Plastic Castles,” “Shameless” and the infamous “Both Hands.” The Ani experience is pretty deep when you relate to what she puts out there. I have to say, this was my first time seeing Ani DiFranco outdoors, and the vibe of the crowd, the intimate four-piece band and the sunset made the experience as surreal as when I met her back in high school, only with a more mature, appreciated value.

--Tracy Block

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Jonathan Cunningham

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