Sunday, April 25, 2010

Joan Osborne plays excellent show in Edmonds

Weisenheimer is a bit befuddled that a vocal talent such as Joan Osborne keeps playing relatively small venues. Maybe she's right where she wants to be. Perhaps it's partly a reflection that her one big hit, "One of Us", is now 15 years in the past. But Osborne has a kick-ass voice and a kick-ass band. She played a great show at the Triple Door a year and a half ago, and performed before a packed house Saturday night at the 704-seat Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Joan Osborne
Interestingly, Osborne played more tunes Saturday from her most recent album, Little Wild One, than she did at the 2008 show when the disc was brand new. She opened the set with "Rodeo" from that record, followed by "Help Me" from the Grammy-nominated 1995 disc Relish, and the Grateful Dead classic "Brokedown Palace." Osborne toured as part of the Dead, post Jerry Garcia, in 2003, and noted that they never let her sing "Brokedown Palace" on the tour. So she included it on her 2006 album Pretty Little Stranger, and it's now a staple of her performances.

Next came a smokin', bluesy version of "How Sweet it Is" which she recorded as the title track of her 2002 album of cool covers, and another from Little Wild One, "Hallelujah in the City."

A couple of the more interesting tunes for me were "Spider Web" and "One of Us", both from Relish. Both had interesting, jazzy introductions that had me expecting Miles Davis to come out and take up a back corner of the stage and start playing. Osborne's band, in fact, is fantastic and versatile. They played jazz, R&B classics, sorta-country, and the Dead exceedingly well. She's been touring with the same gang for a while now: Andrew Carillo on guitar, Richard Hammond on bass, Aaron Comess on drums, and Keith Cotton keyboards.

"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?" and "Ladder" closed out the show, and they played two songs from Little Wild One for an encore: the title track and "Light of This World." Fans yelled out many song requests; were Weisenheimer a yeller, he would have requested the sock-melting "Son of a Preacher Man." Osborne told the audience that having more material than you can squeeze into one show is a good problem. Clearly, though, the wag who bellowed "Stairway to Heaven" planted a seed in Osborne's mind. Don't be surprised if she does some Led Zeppelin next time she comes to town. Rest assured it will be fantastic.

No comments: