House of Blues – Chicago, IL
by Jacqueline Johnson
As a part of the (RED) NIGHTS: A Concert Series That Saves Lives, a portion of the proceeds goes to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. With that as an added benefit, if you happen to be familiar with Chicago concert venues then you will understand the shear excitement in attending a show at the House of Blues. I walk in from off of the rainy city street, to a shockingly warm audience that conveniently parts as I make my way to the stage. After a few cordially anticipated moments chatting with Carlile fans, the famous HOB “Quilt” curtain ascends to reveal Brandi Carlile congregated stage center with her band around one mic. Capturing the mood with her folksy, down to earth style and pure raw talent the band begins the night A Capella.
A few songs in, Carlile and band introduce a change of pace with a four song acoustic set. Continuing the set, back and forth between piano and guitar, she nails every tune. Intermixing old songs with new ones, while of course including catchy Grey’s Anatomy hits like “The Story” and “What Can I Say”; where encouraging the crowd to chorus, standing barefoot at the edge of the stage, all that was missing were a few hundred lighters. I feel like I am sitting out in the backwoods around a campfire with close friends. So inspiring that even those that do not know the words find themselves singing along to the rhythmic strumming and harmonic vocals.
An unexpected peak in the night occurs when she covers Radiohead’s “Creep” and it just makes sense. A definite crowd pleasing moment to say the least. Brandi Carlile gave a sensational live performance paying tribute to her idol Elton John with a ballad on piano. All in all a spectacular show. The Rocket Man would be proud!
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