I went to the Alice 97.3 Now and Zen concert Sunday in Sharon Meadows in Golden Gate Park. I bought the ticket back weeks ago when the Barenaked Ladies were the headliners, before the attacks in NY and D.C. I was very excited to see Barenaked Ladies as I'm a big fan but couldn't afford, or get to, their concert down around San Jose. I was also excited to see Macy Gray, but it was mostly the BNL that I was buying the ticket for. Unfortunately, due to the attacks, BNL decided they didn't want to fly and backed out of the concert. I was pretty sad, but by that time Alice had declared that the concert would be a benefit concert for the Red Cross. Though they offered refunds for people who had wanted to see BNL, it didn't seem right to take money away from the Red Cross.
Ultimately they announced that Alannis Morissette was going to take BNL's spot and that Melissa Etheridge was going to perform in the place of one of the openers who also didn't want to make the trip to SF. So I figured, it's not the lineup I wanted, but I like Alannis and probably wouldn't buy a ticket just to see her, so it was a good opportunity. And Melissa Etheridge I figured would put on a good show, even though I'm not a fan.
The day was cold and gray and foggy. I had several layers on and wished I had more. The crowd was weird, a lot more yuppie types than I expected, a lot of people who apparently came only to see Macy Gray and left as soon as she was done. Which was a mistake, because Alannis was great.
I went on my own; I couldn't get any of my friends to come as they're all broke. But in the last year of being single, I've gotten used to doing anything I want to do, even if I have to go alone. And I don't really mind. I brought a book to read in between acts and my blanket the perfect size for one person to sit on the lawn. I watched Slappy, Sarah's band. Sarah is part of Sarah and Vinnie who are the morning talk people on Alice in the morning. I love them and listen to them every morning. I was actually looking forward to seeing them, as I'd heard so much about them over the last weeks. I really enjoyed the band and of course there were all the little things I knew about their performance from listening to the radio, the back up dancers were fellow radio people, the male backup singer was Schutte who is someone else on the morning show, Vinnie was manning a video camera and running all over the stage. It was fun, seeing them in person. It's like when you meet someone you've only been emailing with for a year at work, a strange familiarity without ever seeing the person.
Melissa came next, just her and her guitar, and she was good. She did a Janis Joplin tune which made me happy but ultimately she's not a favorite for me. She was fine, better than Shelby Lynn.
Shelby Lynn came on next, and it's not that she wasn't good. But she threw some kind of a fit after the 2nd or 3rd song and walked off stage. So we sat for more than 45 minutes waiting for the next act.
Next was Macy Gray who was really great. Unfortunately she started with I Try which is a great song but she tried to do all the choruses as a sing along and it was too early in her set, I think, as she didn't get a big response. But she was really great, walking around the stage with a lot of energy, her band jamming a lot, her voice was great, she did some different versions of songs... A very good performance over all. I enjoyed her a lot.
Then Alannis came on and I don't know, it was something about her. She was energetic, sang a lot of stuff off her first album which is what most people know, and was really heartfelt in her feeling for the attacks and for what Alice was doing there, the relief effort. She came through as a headliner with less than a week's notice to replace BNL and you could tell it was because she really wanted to be there. So even though our numbers had dimished, people leaving after Macy, she put her whole self into the performance.
There was one moment during Alannis's performance that was like magic. She had been amazingly energetic, literally bouncing around the stage, her long hair going everywhere. Then, she started spinning, bent at the waist, her hair flying out perpendicular to her body, just spinning and spinning while her band jammed in the middle of a song. Then, on a day where we hadn't had even a peek at the sun, the sun streamed through and everyone started spontaneously applauding. Someone was blowing bubbles and they were flowing between me and the stage. So here she was, spinning, great music behind her, the sun shining through, the bubbles sparkling on the wind... It was a rare perfect moment; I felt so simply happy. I realized I hadn't felt that in a while. So maybe the day was about making money for a tragedy, but for me it became about that moment. The money was great and necessary. But for me, so was this.