Live review: Brandi Carlile @ the Boulder TheaterBy Candace Horgan | December 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Over the course of nearly two hours Tuesday night at the Boulder Theater, an adoring, sold-out crowd certainly took Brandi Carlile’s exhortation to “Yell sh$% out, and be as rowdy as you want,” to heart. It seemed that between every song, someone would yell out a request. Of course, those requests could be interpreted differently.
Late in her performance, Carlile finally satisfied someone’s request for “Jolene” not with the Dolly Parton song, but with the Ray LaMontagne track, which makes sense, since Carlile opened for Lamontagne at Red Rocks this summer. Before doing a duet with Gregory Alan Isakov on “You Belong to Me,” she sang a verse of Isakov’s “3 a.m.” while he looked on.
Also on that Red Rocks bill was Secret Sisters, who opened for Carlile at the Boulder Theater and made frequent appearances as backing vocalists during Carlile’s set.
Carlile admitted she’d never played the Boulder Theater, but commented that it was “beautiful.” Touring without her regular band allowed her to play some more intimate places on this tour, though she did bring out her violin player, Coloradan Jeb Bows, who also regularly plays with Isakov, on a few songs.
Carlile, who can command a stage like few others, even stepped out from behind the mic on a couple of songs, showing the strength of her voice by filling the Boulder Theater even without the benefit of a PA on “Closer to You.”
Playing without the band also gave Carlile the freedom to experiment with a few tracks. On her introduction to “Looking Out,” she told the story of being inspired by the Irish folk melodies of an Elvis Costello song. When she went to record “Looking Out” with T. Bone Burnett as her producer and first played it, she found out Burnett had written the song Costello had played that inspired it. Carlile stripped “Looking Out” back to its original version, playing it on piano, which gave the fans a chance to hear how her songs sometimes evolve when she brings them to the band.
Carlile often jokes about feeling like the “Colorado house band” because she plays here quite frequently. That also means you get to see how certain aspects of her show are almost always the same, such as getting the crowd to sing three-part harmony on “Turpentine.” She even used the same line about “you poor little angels” when showing the rightmost portion of the crowd its high harmony part as she did this summer at Folks Fest, though that doesn’t make it any less fun to sing along with her on the tune.
Follow, Dreams, Closer to You, Before it Breaks, It’s Over, What Can I Say, Looking Out, Downpour, Creep, Raise Hell, The Heartache Can Wait, Christmas 1984, Turpentine, You Belong to Me, The Story, E: Cannonball, That Year, Pride and Joy, Amazing Grace