“Holy *&#@, we’re at the Hollywood Bowl!” That was the introductory s-bomb dropped by singer Sara Bareilles as her tour hit LA to promote her sixth studio album, “Amidst the Chaos.” And the fan-filled, near-capacity crowd loved her exuberant expletive.
This stop on her tour was especially meaningful for Bareilles. She’s spent 14 years living in Los Angeles as a budding singer/songwriter playing small gigs at familiar haunts like Genghis Cohen and Molly Malone’s. So the evening was filled with lots of “feels.” Not five songs into her set, there was a marriage proposal in the nosebleed section.
White House Blues
Although her album is a reaction to the PTSD of Trump’s election, it features some of her strongest and most inspiring work to date, with powerful tracks like “Orpheus” and “Saint Honesty” that throw liberals a sorely needed lifeline.
Concerts are never just about the music. It’s the stuff between the songs that creates a bond between performers and fans and makes an arena feel like you’re in someone’s living room listening into the wee hours of the morning. Bareilles spoke about how her album was about finding a way back to a place of light and love and hope. Part of that effort involved her learning meditation, which found its way into “Eyes on You.” It’s a lesson in how to channel despair and grief into healing.
On the March
One of the most impactful experiences [for Bareilles] to come out of this dark period was taking part in the Washington DC Women’s March. Bareilles was profoundly changed by the experience and remarked, “I never felt safer and more heard.” Her words served as a seamless segue into “Armor,” her ode to the pilgrimage.
The real bombshell of the evening is that Sarah has a new love in her life. Yes, the woman whose songs seem to inspire so many other people’s proposals has more fuel for future songs. While no names were divulged, she said the mystery person listened to a lot of Nina Simone, so naturally she wrote a song called “Miss Simone.”
Worth the Wait
The evening wouldn’t have been complete without a mini-set devoted to her Broadway hit, “Waitress,” which is ending its four-year run on Broadway, but has already re-launched on London’s West End. The musical is very much alive and well, with plans for productions in Australia, the Netherlands and Japan.
Bareilles admits she was at first clueless about the effort needed to create songs for the show. She recalled how ill-prepared she was when she left her comfortable life in Los Angeles to move to a rented apartment in the West Village in the dead of winter. But she found kinship and camaraderie in her main character, and was inspired by her vulnerability and strength.
Something Old / Something New
While the main focus of the concert was on tracks from the new album, Bareilles also served up an assortment of her signature hits, including “Uncharted,” “Let the Rain” and “King of Anything.” She closed out the night with the gospel-tinged ballad “Saint Honesty”. It’s as fitting and soulful nightcap as anyone could imagine. It’s Bareilles’ plaintive cry for salvation from the lies, for the “rain to wash away these tears,” to be “baptized by truth.” With the impeachment hearings underway and the case against Trump gathering steam, she may get her wish.
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Last modified: November 26, 2019