Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Review: Alanis Morissette stays mellow for Verizon Theatre show
It's not 1995 anymore.
GRAND PRAIRIE It’s been 17 years since Alanis Morissette became an overnight superstar singing poison poems to a certain “Mr. Duplicity” who dumped her. While the cad is long forgotten, the singer is still recovering from the burn of the spotlight.
In August, she told an interviewer she’s still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from the “profound violation” she endured as Jagged Little Pill went on to sell 30 million copies. And Monday night, as she headlined the KDMX 102.9 FM “Texas Tango” at Verizon Theatre, she sang “Celebrity,” a scathing new song that says you’ve got to be cuckoo to want to become famous.
The older and wiser she gets, the mellower her performances have become. In place of the sprinting, thrashing dervish she was in the ‘90s, the 38-year-old Morissette casually paced the stage and ruminated on marriage and motherhood in “Guardian,” a tune from her new CD Havoc and Bright Lights.
The crowd was mostly placid, too. Part of that was due to the marathon nature of the concert, which featured opening sets by Adam Lambert, Gavin DeGraw, and others. By the time Morissette got to “You Oughta Know” late in her show, most of the fans seemed spent. Plenty of others had already packed up and gone home.
But if this Morissette show wasn’t the rabid ritual of joy and catharthis her concerts used to be, it was engaging enough. Her voice probably should have been mixed louder to distinguish it from her band, yet she still had power and grit to spare, especially when she launched into flights of wordless vocalizing.
Not all of new Havoc tunes stood out: The show-opening “Woman Down” felt like a rote rant against male chauvinists. But her Jagged Little Pill songs have aged gracefully, from the singalong self-help philosophies of “Hand in Pocket” and “You Learn,” to “Ironic,” a song catchy enough to forgive its blatant disregard for the actual meaning of “irony.”
For the set-closing “Uninvited,” Morissette traveled back to the grunge era and whipped her brown hair through the air in a long, acrobatic display that would have earned a 9 from the East German judges. She’ll probably have to visit a chiropractor later this week. But for a few moments Monday, she was perfectly willing to revisit the crazy days of 1995.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas freelance writer.
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