Alanis Morissette @ Comerica Theatre|11/1/12
A lot has changed for Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette since the release of her 1995 breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill. She no longer pens angry songs about the "Mr. Duplicity" who wronged her; she now focuses on her role as a wife and a mother on her eighth album, Havoc and Bright Lights.
The 38-year-old seemed as happy as ever on tour with her rapper husband, Souleye, whose set baffled the crowd. Morissette followed with a lengthy, well-balanced set that didn't shy away fromJagged Little Pill material. She casually paced back and forth onstage for "All I Really Want" and "You Learn," then positioned herself front and center with a sparkling acoustic guitar for "Spiral," a new song. Morissette's songs have grown softer and more spiritual with time, standing in sharp contrast to the angst expressed in songs like "You Oughta Know."
The audience didn't seem to mind, though, as some dedicated fans quietly mouthed every lyric and treated songs like "Lens" with the same enthusiasm as tracks from Jagged Little Pill. Those who weren't previously singing along went pretty crazy to "Ironic." It seemed like every woman in the room immediately sang about the old man turning 98 as Morissette smiled and pointed the microphone to the crowd. She received additional cheers as she changed the lyric to "It's meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful husband."
In Houston, the bassist reportedly gave the guitarist a smooch during this line. I'm not sure if this happened last night since I had my head down taking notes, but one can only hope.
"Ironic" served as a warmup for "Uninvited," which arguably was the highlight of last night's performance. The eerie piano notes blended well with Morissette's bellowing vocals as the song escalated in intensity. Strobes flashed as the song reached its haunting chorus and the singer grew increasingly animated. She headbanged and spun her head around in circles, whipping her hair in every direction during the song's intricate guitar solo, providing a rare glimpse into the old, angry Alanis.
Overall, this persona was absent from last night's performance, as the singer calmly performed songs from Jagged Little Pill. She was still completely on point and didn't miss any lyrics or notes, but now instead of being resentful, she seemed at peace with her emotions from almost 20 years ago.
Alanis and her band closed out their first set with "Numb," a surprisingly heavy track from Havoc. For the encore, the group sat on chairs for a strange acoustic and subdued version of "Hand in Pocket," as well as a couple of new songs. The band once again left the stage and the chairs were thankfully removed for "Thank You," as the singer graciously bowed toward the audience one last time.
Setlist: I Remain (Segue 1) Woman Down All I Really Want You Learn Guardian Perfect Spiral Forgiven So Pure Ironic Havoc Head Over Feet Lens I Remain (Segue 3) Uninvited You Oughta Know Numb
Encore 1: Hand in my Pocket Hands Clean Everything
Encore 2: Thank You
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Alanis Morissette at Comerica Theatre. Personal Bias: I first saw Morissette on the Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie tour. The Crowd: Women in their 30s and 40s rocking out with significant others and a few enthusiastic gay men. Overheard in the Crowd: "She exceeded my expectations" as "Uninvited" wrapped up. Random Notebook Dump: At least this isn't Dogma and she's isn't making our ears bleed. One More Thing: "Forgiven" is tremendously underrated.