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Concert Reviews
BNL wsg/ Alanis Morissette
(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI - August 12th, 2004)

Morissette's singing career was launched in 1987, when local Ottawa impresario Stephan Klovan showcased the 12-year-old Alanis in a children's musical revue for the city's spring Tulip Festival. Despite her inability to do a cartwheel (which was the audition test), Morissette proved beyond a doubt that she had an impressive set of pipes!

These days those pipes seem to be somewhat duller, not as honed as one would have imagined after so many albums, her lyrics and lack of truly up-beat songs still distressing. Nonetheless, tonight she "opened up" for the Barenaked Ladies with a strong, if not non-smiling set!

'Eight Easy Steps' is the first song out of the bag, our thoughts of why she wasn't smiling at such an early stage lost in the dazzles of her glittery guitar! 'All I Really Want' complete with harmonica interludes is next before she speaks to the crowd: "Hello everybody. It's great to be back here with you tonight." New album title 'So-Called Chaos' and then 'I Am Not The Doctor' follow, but it's the album track 'Mary Jane' that gets the first real round of applause on the night.

Strolling one minute, prowling the next, covered in the spots of yellow, red, blue and pink, Morissette sings both 'Thankyou' and 'Excuses' before messing up the beginning to her debut hit, 'You Oughta Know'. "Hey, it happens when I feel angry," she jokes for the first time with the audience. Hidden album track 'Uninvited' is next up and gets easily the loudest, warmest round of applause for the night, and as she strolls through 'Hand in My Pocket' her extended harmonica ending brings an extended smile finally to her face.

Introducing 'Ironic' with, "You've been lovely tonight. Thank you," Morissette then leaves the stage to come back for 'Spineless' and 'You learn' ... complete with choruses sung by the BNL team!

Toronto, Canada's quirky popsters Barenaked Ladies were never ones to follow a trend. They were more interested in making someone laugh than being astute and serious. Most of all, a friendship consumed this band and that bond cemented their place in alternative rock.

Tonight, as the lights go down; and as if it's a must-have to be out on stage before the final bulb has diminished, singer Steven Page takes to his mic and begins to sing the opening lines to 'Brian Wilson'. Quickly followed by the other band members, soon the BNL musical fairground ride is off and running!

'Some Fantastic' feeds into their renowned Detroit rap stand-off, before heading into 'What's So Maybe,' 'Get In Line,' and the melody-driven 'Blame It On Me.' In-between they mention that they are singing songs that they haven't dared sing for over 14 years now, whilst a backdrop video screen plays snippets of comical cartoonish quick skits.

Coming to the front of the stage, they sing acappella style 'One Week', which is followed by another video message, this time about subliminal messages! 'Pinch Me' is sung by Ed Robinson and at the line when he mentions underwear, yep, some white ones are thrown up on stage to hang from his guitar! 'Old Apartment' (complete with a video screen Alanis bouncing around fake-strumming a stand up bass!) is next, and is followed by 'Another Postcard' (aka, 'Chimps') and the surprisingly hard hitting 'War On Drugs'.

"For the first time in my life, I will now quote Courtney Love - I will rock my way out of this!", Ed admits as BNL bring their eclectic musical sideshow into the final bend with 'Too Little Too Late,' 'All Been Done Before,' and album track 'Shopping' - complete with synchronized shopping cart dancing! Encoring with old favorite 'Jane', the band bring the whole thing to a close under bright red spots with the massive hit '$1,000,000' ... and then they are finally gone until next summer!

Review and Photo by Russell A. Trunk