Ball Fan Reviews
We got in the car just in time to hear a live backstage interview with Stevie. She mentioned how much fun it was and that it felt like the 1970's all over again where different bands come on and do one concert together. She really did look like she was having fun out there. Hopefully she'll be back for Jingle Ball 2002!! Hello Everyone, I was fortunate to see Stevie for the third time this year and I only had to drive about a mile from my house! When I heard that she was to be at the San Diego Jingle Ball I could hardly believe it. I waited for the raffle to buy rows 2-20 and ended up in row 4, dead center. Very good seats. All of the acts were good, but my friend Kim and I were there for Stevie.
Stevie and her band sounded great as usual. She really kicked butt and showed why she's such a rock goddess that night. Kim wore a gold shawl over her blouse and I wore my red Stevie concert shirt. At many points during both "Sorcerer" and "Fall From Grace", Stevie was watching us and smiling because we were dancing and singing along with her. We were so close it was like Stevie was watching us to see if we knew the words to those newer songs (which we of course did) and she seemed to get a real kick out of it. She was smiling at us so much! During "Sorcerer" she played with the fringes on her gold shawl when she sang "In your finery" and motioned to Kim as she was also wearing a gold shawl. I'm sure Stevie appreciated the shirt I was wearing too! It was pure magic. When you see Stevie so close to where you can make eye contact with her like that, you never want to see her any other way.
We stood during Stevie's entire set. Blondie came on after and she was the only disappointment. I like her music and everything, she just didn't seem "on" that night, so we left during her second song. We got in the car just in time to hear a live backstage interview with Stevie. She mentioned how much fun it was and that it felt like the 1970's all over again where different bands come on and do one concert together. She really did look like she was having fun out there. Hopefully she'll be back for Jingle Ball 2002!!
Alanis Morissette came on next at around 8:00. I'm not really fond of her voice, but she has written a few decent songs. She did a handful of songs from her first album, a few from her abysmally-disappointing junkie second album and two or three songs from her forthcoming release due out in February. Overall, she was ok. But the music overpowered her completely. You couldn't hear what she was singing 90% of the time. I found out later from the radio station that she, like Stevie earlier this year, was having respiratory problems. But Alanis must have been cosmically following Stevie's advice from this past August's Santa Barbara performance (the night her bronchitis was at its worst), "a little less voice, a little more flare." This is where Alanis scored all her points. For a sick girl, she had a lot of energy...bouncing all over the place as if she were an Olympic-bound long-jumper/discus thrower. At one point, she spun around for literally 35 seconds, nearly toppling over in one erratic turn. Could've been a natural rush, but something tells me there were other influences.
Sugar Ray hit the stage at around 8:50. They were undoubtedly one of the highlights of the night, getting everyone in the house off their seats. Mark McGrath, the lead singer, charmed the night away leading sing-alongs and enticing the crowd, the women in particular, with his quirky dancing and suggestive mic-handling. All of this made for one entertaining, kick-ass set that covered all of the hits... Answer the Phone, Someday, Fly, Every Morning and When It's Over, which was prefaced with his break-up story occurring an hour before the show. Whether it actually happened is debatable, but he seemed pretty sincere.
Ah, then at around 9:45...the enchantress herself graced the stage. A very appreciative Stevie looked radiant as usual and sounded great. I think she really might have felt the pressure to deliver a commanding performance after following three strong acts because she packed a good punch to all of the songs. There were nice inflections on everything she did that night. Fall From Grace was probably the strongest number of this set. Oh, she just wailed on "walk! out! that! door!!!!" and carried the line "make sure you surviiiiiive" unassisted...not a trace of Mindy. Mike "Fall From Grace" Sarzo would have been proud. It was awesome. Here was the 60 minute the set list:
1. Trouble in Shangri-La (overlay) 2. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around 3. Dreams 4. Gold Dust Woman 5. Sorcerer 6. Stand Back 7. Fall From Grace 8. Rhiannon (with piano intro) 9. Edge of Seventeen (no drum solo, but Waddy's intro solo was there) 10. I Need to Know
No boots at all, however, during any portion of the show. But there was one fashion twist during I Need to Know. Stevie rocked through I Need to Know, wearing the pink, feather hat that she has been wearing for Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You. There seemed to be some confusion right before the song, involving her red-white-and-blue ribbon-draped tambourine which had been misplaced. But once it was found, she was stylin'. The crowd loved her, giving her a very warm ovation. Not everyone was standing, as they had done for Sugar Ray, but it was a different kind of appreciation. You could tell that the majority of the house had great respect for her. It was nice to hear people around me saying things like "she's just rocking this house" and "I'm glad I finally got to see her in concert after all these years" In fact, a good chunk of the crowd took off right after her set. Incredible.
Those of you in San Diego, keep your radio tuned to Star 100.7 FM this weekend for highlights of the show. I caught Rhiannon while sitting in traffic and Fall From Grace this morning on the way to the airport. I hope they release a CD of the show. Here is a link to the Jingle Ball site with pictures of Stevie backstage and performing at the show:
Just 10 minutes into Blondie's set, which started at 10:45, 25% of the crowd had fled the arena. With good reason. Blondie was a big disappointment. This pioneer of the punk/new wave era had lost all of her spunk. The attitude was still there, maybe even a little too much, but the performance was sluggish and half-assed throughout. There was little flare to the songs that elevated her to "legendary" status. All of the hits were sung lifelessly like someone who got over her 80's superstardom eons ago. You couldn't even hear the rap on Rapture and Call Me was a big hang-up (sorry for the bad pun). By the end of the set, half of the audience had already left the show. This is not an exaggeration. It looked pretty sad.
In spite of one bad set, I had a great time. Stevie rocked and was appreciated so I was happy. And it was for a good cause, Becky's House, an organization countering domestic abuse, so how could you go wrong. They apparently raised a lot of money, $60K alone from ticket sales of the front section!
--- D A N I E L
More reviews to come...