Laughs All Around with Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson
Park West – Chicago, IL
6/5/08

Ingrid Michaelson Park West

When I found out that Ingrid Michaelson’s set last night was from 8:30pm-10:00pm, my first thought was “Why does she get an hour and a half to perform? I mean, she only has one album out!” Not that I was complaining, I LOVE this girl and her songs. I just really didn’t think she had that many songs to fill up those 90 minutes. Most shows that I go to with artists who only have made one album play for about 45 minutes. Needless to say, I was very curious as to what Ingrid’s live show would entail…read on to find out!

Ingrid Michaelson Park WestThe first thing I head upon entering the venue was someone talking. It seriously felt like I was about to walk in on somebody telling a story to a bunch of friends over drinks. The room was so quiet! I almost thought I was in the wrong place since I didn’t hear any music or screaming fans. As I walked into the seating area, I took a look around and noticed that everybody was politely sitting down in various booths/chairs and the fans on the floor in the front were standing still, completely enthralled with whatever Ms. Michaelson was talking about – apparently, she was telling a story of how some chick stole her sweater. I made my way up to the front of the crowd until I was practically standing against the stage a few feet away from Ingrid and her keyboard.

It didn’t take long to figure out why Ingrid gets an hour and a half set for her live show. This girl is a talker! She pretty much told a story (or two, or three!) in between every song she played. Now, her songs are not that long, and I am pretty sure she talked for at least five minutes in between every three-minute song. I can totally see Ingrid as an actress, which she was before launching her full-time music career a few years ago. She is a natural on stage and shows no signs of being uncomfortable in front of hundreds of people. More than once I felt as if I was at a comedy show and that Ingrid was a pro at doing stand-up. She is SO FUNNY! Not to mention sarcastic, adorable, witty, charming, bubbly, etc. I could go on and on about how cool this girl is. Gotta love how she is not afraid to swear in front of her audience too, calling the girl that stole her sweater a bitch. Fight! Fight! When she sang infamous line in her hit The Way I Am that goes “If you are chilly, here take my sweater,” Ingrid stopped singing, thought about what she just said, and tell us that “Wow, that line now has a whole different meaning!” And then she proceeds to apologize for cheating us, the fans, out of the second verse from the song (since she didn’t sing it)! As if we cared – that was a classic moment that only the Chicago fans at the show last night will have to cherish.

Thankfully, Ingrid played all of my personal favorites from her second album, Girls and Boys, as well as her singles released on iTunes. My favs were:
The Hat
Die Alone
The Way I Am
Far Away
Keep Breathing

She performed a new song that she just put up on iTunes called Giving Up. Only a few die-hard fans already had the words memorized and were lip-synching them along with Ingrid’s singing. Near the end of her set, there was a free-for-all where everybody in the crowd was shouting out songs they wanted Ingrid to play. She made an executive decision to play a song that is not even her own – Radiohead’s Creep – and that was the first time I had ever heard that song! Besides turning me on to Radiohead and the song – Creep – that everyone is covering now (remember Prince at Coachella?), she also convinced me to try a new sushi restaurant. Apparently, Ingrid and her band went out to eat dinner at Sushi O Sushi, right down the street from Park West. Minus the wasabi-induced acid reflux getting in the way of her singing during a couple songs, she loved the place. So now I want to try it too. Seriously, the next time I go out to eat, I will make my friends go there with me, just because Ingrid Michaelson went there.

If you are looking to see a concert where there is audience interaction, you have to check out Ingrid when she plays a city near you! I swear, if you try talking to her (basically yelling at her on stage), she WILL hear you and say something back. It’s really quite simple to engage her in conversation. Check out her music on iTunes if you have not already – it will make you smile…

Hear Ingrid’s side of the sweater thief story by reading her blog about the incident:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=11436578&blogID=403344612

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images:

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Comments

  1. Regina says:

    I’m soooo mad that I had to miss the performance (I had to work). But, thanks to you I felt like I was there. I’ve never seen Ingrid perform before but I like many of her songs and hopes she releases a live concert dvd after this tour so I can pick it up ASAP. I will check her out on itunes…oh, and I might check out that sushi restaurant, too!

  2. You know Jen, I haven’t eaten dinner yet and now I want Sushi. Thanks! ;-)

  3. Claire says:

    It is so great when an amazing musician like Ingrid Michaelson also has an awesome sense of humor, because that just makes her ten times more entertaining!

  4. Alli says:

    i LOVE on stage/in between song banter/story telling. sounds like this would be the girl to see live. that’s great she schedules extra time to be able to do that. i wish more artists would. another funny musician i love to hear tell stories is Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. nice review, jen!

  5. iheartcoffee says:

    I hope you enjoyed her opener, Greg Laswell. He’s one of my favorites and I’m so happy to see that this tour is getting him a lot of attention. In case you missed him, he has a new album coming out in July. If you want to listen to his new single (full-length) you can stream it at almightyjukebox.com or his Myspace page.

  6. Melissa says:

    Fantastic blog!

    If you’re interested… I wrote a song about Ingrid’s stolen sweater and put it on youtube;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAJMyFyqL-c

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