Arts & Entertainment

November 7, 2012

Melissa Etheridge In Montreal – Leaving No Doubt That She Still Totally Rocks

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Written by: Mel
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Melissa Etheridge loves Canada, and Canada loves her.

From our balcony seats at Place des Arts’ Theatre Maisonneuve, providing an unobstructed view of the stage, we sat and waited as the anticipation in the hall steadily grew… until from somewhere off-stage, that familiar husky voice instructed someone to kill the lights and get the show started. And so it did. And the collective cheer from the crowd was deafening.

It was high energy from the moment she took the stage, Etheridge was everything I have come to expect from veteran performers like her, and much more. There was such an incredible effortlessness to her performance – the ease in transition from giving it everything she had musically, to joking with the crowd about her terrible French speaking abilities – and then back again to 200% without appearing to break a sweat (and in that shiny synthetic top she had on, I am especially awed.)

She began the show with a few tracks from her latest record, 4th Street Feeling, released this past September. An excellent record, and if you haven’t already given it a listen, I suggest you do. The record is blues-heavy and perfect for showcasing that gritty, soulful voice that is her trademark, and from the first note out of her mouth, I felt like I was home. And though I love 4th Street, there is always the question of whether or not a favourite artist is going to play all new material or throw in a few hits. I have a soft spot for her 1988 songs, even if she’s sick of playing them.

Three songs in, a very grateful crowd was graced with “I Want To Come Over” – with a little a cappella bit of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” added to the mix – and they (we) went wild.

Naturally, as this was also election night for the US, Etheridge made some jokes about escaping the madness of it all to come to Canada, because we’re so nice. She stopped there and didn’t get more political about it though, which surprised me a little given her activist tendencies and a clearly receptive audience. But I appreciate her focus on the music.

Back to some more tracks from the new album, “Kansas City” and “4th Street Feeling” were a couple of standouts for me here. The bass line on “4th Street” is just delicious. Although Etheridge’s band didn’t wow me for the first part of the show – they were clearly tight but seemed to lack any passion – but as the show progressed they showed why they’re worthy to share the stage with her. On THAT note – I’d like to take a moment here and thank Etheridge for reminding us that women can SHRED. She can’t just play. She rivals some of the best guitarists out there, and though her music may be top 40 friendly a lot of the time, this show left no question as to why her career has enjoyed the longevity it has. Moving from banjo to guitar to harmonica to piano and drums with ease, it was impossible not to be floored by her immense talent. Incredible. Really.

She played for an impressive 2.5 hours with uncompromising energy, passion and some incredible extended jams with her band. Etheridge capped her set with a few more of her older hits including “Come to My Window” (complete with crowd sing-along), “Similar Features”, “Bring Me Some Water” and “The Only One.” The highlight of the show was definitely Etheridge jamming individually with each band member, one at a time, including standing behind the drummer and playing, as well as standing behind the guitar player and playing the guitar together. Brilliantly done.

All in all, a solid show start to finish – and nothing beats having your expectations met and exceeded by one of your favourite artists! Etheridge is an incredible entertainer – occasionally talks a little too long – but is endearing, charming and funny, making for a great live show!



About the Author

|Music Contributor| Aspiring photographer, writer and rockstar. Vices: picnics and patios and beer and coffee and red wine and dark chocolate. Sort of good at lots of things.



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  1. Rosanne Cohen

    Right on Mel! Excellent review of an excellent show. Melissa reminds us why her music has endured. It’s rock and roll at it’s best. A real privledge to see her in such a small venue.

  2. Sad that I missed this great opportunity. But a friend told me she had a little speech about self-care and that she would have approved of my decision to stay home and rest and be sane. One of these days though,…. what a lady!

  3. my day is all about melissa etheridge today

    “you don’t have to live like a refugee” – yes

    • Mel

      I’m with you! I’ve been YouTube-ing old favourites all day – wish I had space in my apartment to bust out my vinyl! Her eponymous album is one of my all time favourites.

  4. Ty

    Wicked post! I have always loved her music. Wish I went!

  5. Gina

    I saw her last year and again last night and she truly is absolutely wonderful and incredibly talented. I think she missed 2 key songs last night which I was hoping she would play, Refugee and Piece of my heart , she played them last year and they brought the house down. She also missed Fearless Love and Indiana but she has quite an extensive discography , that she simply cannot play them all. I already look forward to seeing her next year on her 25th Anniversary tour. Great review Mel, see u there next year!

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