Concert Review #2: Ani DiFranco

I can now officially name my Golden Goddess of the Month, to go along with my Golden God of the Month, Joel Thomas (some people thought I meant Joel Richlin…um, hell no).

This month’s Golden Goddess is my friend Heidi Lesch, for giving me her 4th row Ani ticket when she couldn’t make it down from Minneapolis for the show. Especially because she tried to offer it to me for free, even after she had to FedEx it overnight.

Anyway, the show was incredible. I had sort of been falling out of touch with Ani lately, partly because Revelling/Reckoning reminds me of my ex, and partly because I’ve been running around like a nutcase and not listening to as much music as I used to.

The opener was…eh. He said his name repeatedly, but I wasn’t able to catch it. His guitar playing was amazing, but he didn’t really have too much to say with his songs. One he just kinda repeated “Don’t Kill” a whole bunch of times.

However, I must admit that “I Hate Your Kid” was tremendously amusing. I hope I never find out exactly how amusing…

Anyway, Ani broke her foot (according to Heidi, who had seen her in Minneapolis the night before, where Ani told the story, after jumping around ecstatically in her driveway and tripping), so she had to sit down for the whole show.

Even Ani admitted this was weird, since in the 15 years or so she’s been touring, she hadn’t had to do that before. But god damn, she can rock however the hell she pleases.

One thing I really like about her is that she can take a song and just give it an entirely new feel, totally different from the one on the album. Her version of “Fuel” tonight was just killer, dropping it into a minor key and making it a much angrier song than it used to be.

It’s not every day that “Maybe I should put a bucket over my head/And a marshmallow in each ear” can be made to seem profound.

She also played a shitload of new songs, and they were all very good, though she did sound a bit angrier and more depressed than usual…and that’s saying something. I do hope she’s okay, because even though she does write good angry songs, I don’t wish feeling like that all the time on anyone.

She also got into politics, as she normally does. I don’t agree with some of her most left-wing political views (like capitalism is the worst system ever…I can think of a more than a few that are worse), though she did make one statement I agreed wholeheartedly with.

She was talking about attending an anti-war rally in San Fransisco, where all these speakers were basically saying “George W. Bush is a moron!”, and she said that, well, duh. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t already know that.

Her comment that I agreed with was something to the effect of “Everybody talks about being anti-this and anti-that, but there’s nobody standing up and offering an alternative. Nobody wants to say what we should do instead.” She’s goddamn right about that.

Of course, she didn’t speak of a viable alternative either, so there is that. But then again, I think it’s a good sign that a lot of people have (finally) realized that there needs to be some sort of alternative idea for people to cling to, other than reactionary hatred of the establishment.

Anyway, in the end, to me, only music matters, and Ani…wow. She has Presence. You cannot take your eyes off her when she performs, and there’s something you feel when she tears into her guitar strings that just can’t be put into words.

Unfortunately, I think partly because of her foot, she only played for about an hour and 15 mins, which is absolutely nothing compared to what she and her band normally do.

However, when you have a band you do get more of a rest between and during songs, so I think she probably played the same number of songs she would have otherwise, and she was so fuckin’ good that I can’t really complain.

All in all, this has been an awesome concert week.

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