How to turn a song from decent album track to holy-shit-amazing live performance (by Sara Bareilles)

My family and I saw Sara Bareilles’ concert at Radio City Music Hall last night, and she did NOT disappoint, at all. Okay, maybe a tiny bit: I was hoping to hear her absolutely exquisite version of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which, alas, didn’t happen. But other than that? Totally amazing. And yes, Sara, you’re right on two counts: (1) It IS completely appropriate to dress like an eight-year-old ballerina on special occasions like, oh, selling out Radio City Music Hall; and (2) the tutu totally goes with the electric guitar.

Speaking of which: Here, in case anyone is wondering, is how you take a song from being pretty good on CD to being white-hot incandescent onstage. Just turn this:

Into this:

Et voilà.

We’ve only relatively recently become Sara Bareilles fans, but the more I hear from her, the more I’m impressed by her sure sense of pop craftsmanship (er, craftswomanship), her obvious reverence for older genres, her musical adventurousness, and her ambition. I’m really looking forward to digging more into her discography, and to whatever she comes up with next.

Her opening band, Harper Blynn, were no slouch either. Actually, more than no slouch; their luminous power-pop melodies were amazing, and further confirm my conviction that the state of creative, exciting music being made in the world is just fine. Check out the gorgeous musical buildup in “Bound to Break” and the driven (and slightly sinister) “Go”:

One more: check out the lovely, uplifting choruses in “Long Way from Home.”

And that’s it. Oh, heck, why not: I’ll throw in Sara Bareilles’ take on “Yellow Brick Road.” Here’s hoping she keeps it at least occasionally in rotation.



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2 responses to “How to turn a song from decent album track to holy-shit-amazing live performance (by Sara Bareilles)

  1. The Elephant Man

    Any “professional” guitarist that needs to use a capo to play needs to go back home and take some music lessons.

    • The guitar isn’t her primary instrument; she’s a pianist before a guitarist, and a singer/songwriter before both. But she can pick up a guitar and effectively communicate emotion, which is, after all, what music is about. The song may not be to your taste, of course; but if the only reason it doesn’t move you is because she isn’t playing her instrument “properly,” then I submit that you’re paying attention to the wrong thing.

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