The Chicago Theatre – Chicago, IL
March 20, 2010
Not many artists kick off their live show with six brand new songs in a row. Not even when on tour promoting their latest record. However, that is exactly what Norah Jones did last night when she performed to a sold out crowd at The Chicago Theatre. On the road in support of her new album The Fall, Norah Jones pushed her new tunes to the max. Not until the seventh song in did Jones revert back to an oldie. Upon completing the first midtempo keyboard-heavy song of the evening “Chasing Pirates,” Norah informed the audience that, “We’re playing all new songs from my new album for the first few minutes.” If fans wanted to hear Norah’s early material, no one dared to object to the singer/songwriter’s decision to plug her latest musical effort, The Fall. Norah works hard for her money. Clearly, the fact that Norah Jones has won multiple Grammy Awards (12 wins out of 18 nominations!) in the past seven years has no effect on this woman’s work ethic.
More photos of Norah Jones and the set list from the show after the jump…
Set List / Chicago
I Wouldn’t Need You
Light As A Feather
It’s Gonna Be
Cold Cold Heart
Back To Manhattan
Jesus, Etc. (Wilco cover)
Man Of The Hour
Don’t Know Why
You’ve Ruined Me
How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart?
Come Away With Me
“It’s Gonna Be” is a throwback to 1969-1970 when Norman Greenbaum’s hit “Spirit In The Sky” was omnipresent and selling over two million copies. “We’re going to do a song from my last album. It’s a song called ‘Broken,’ announced Jones while two of her band members respectively arranged themselves with an upright string bass and a xylophone. What surprised me the most at last night’s concert, was that Jones did not sit down at her upright piano until eight songs through her set when she played another new track from The Fall, “Waiting.” Up until then, Jones was either steadily strumming on her red-and-white electric guitar, or on stage right standing behind her keyboard.
“You guys wanna hear a happy song now? I wore my party dress for you guys,” said Jones, cute as a button in a strapless polka-dotted red, black, and red dress straight out of a 1950s high school prom. “It kinda doesn’t fit under the piano, but whatever.” The happy song that the jazz piano major from the University of North Texas performed next just happened to be my absolute favorite track from the Norah Jones catalog. One simply cannot help but smile and sing along when you hear “Sunrise.” Believe me, just try not to hum or “hoo” along with the singer’s angelic and ethereal voice. This tune is addictive. And to imagine I first heard it at work while hostessing at the Olive Garden. The job was horrible, but it introduced me to one of my favorite pieces of music ever. “Sunrise” was accompanied by a gorgeous spectacle of lights set against a backdrop of four white curtains hanging from the ceiling. Rich, warm tones of red, orange, yellow, magenta, fuchsia, purple, pink, gold, and any other color reminiscent of a splendid summer sunrise and/or sunset illuminated the stage and its performers.
“Thanks, we’re going to do an old song now,” announced Jones before launching into “Cold Cold Heart” from her debut record Come Away With Me. “It’s way older than I am. And it’s probably older than most of you, too.” Next up was a cover that I somewhat expected would be included in the night’s festivities. “We’re in Chicago, so we’re going to do a song by our favorite Chicago band, Wilco,” Jones exclaimed. Performing a cover of Wilco’s “Jesus, Etc.” has become a staple of Norah’s live show. “Thank you, Jeff Tweedy,” gushed Jones, an avid and long-time fan of Chicago’s very own Wilco. “We actually did some shows with them and we sang this song in tribute to them to be funny. They played it, too.”
“We’re going to do a song about a dog here,” Jones said by way of introducing the next song “Man Of The Hour.” However, Norah was left alone on stage for this one, where she proceeded to perform “Man Of The Hour” sitting at her piano. This was the only moment during the entire show that had Jones playing solo, with only her delicate voice coming through the house PA, supported by her college-trained tickling of the ivories. “Man Of The Hour” is about man’s best friend. That’s correct, a dog. “Sasha and I have our dogs out on the road with us, which is really fun,” admitted a smiling Jones. Sasha is the only female member of Norah’s touring band. What is it with girls and their dogs? I suppose once you listen to the comical lyrics that compare a boyfriend to a canine, why not have your dog with you to keep you company?
Inevitably, the time came for Jones to knock out one of her big hits. The first few bars of “Don’t Know Why” was met with claps and shouts of approval from fans seated in the audience, who had been waiting patiently to hear a song that they knew. Radio fans is what I call those people. With “Don’t Know Why” out of the way, Jones took a few seconds to verbalize her appreciation of those fans in attendance. “You are great audience. It’s like I can feel you.”
“You want to hear a song about Texas? Let’s do a song about Texas,” Jones said while addressing her band as they stood by waiting for their boss to make an impromptu decision regarding which song would be next on the set list. “It’s the only song about Texas we have,” joked Norah before beginning to play the opening notes to “Lonestar.” After paying tribute to the state where Jones lived out her formative years, Norah told the crowd with a hint of disappointment, “I thought we were going to have some honkytonk dancers, but I think they were just going to the bathroom. We had it last night. Oh well, maybe next time.” Maybe next time, indeed. Although it will definitely NOT be me getting up out of my seat to dance the honkytonk. However, count on yours truly being at the next Norah Jones concert in Chicago. Witnessing the talent of Norah Jones right before your eyes is worth every penny of her ticket price.
For the encore, Jones and her band got up close and personal with each other as they gathered around a single microphone on stage right. From here they began to play a beautiful acoustic arrangement of “How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart?” With the first of three encore tunes wrapped up and out of the way, Jones gave in to the wishes and desires of fans who have followed Norah’s music since the beginning. “Come Away With Me” may have been the third single to be released from the artist’s debut record with the same name, but it is arguably the biggest hit of Norah’s career to date. “No, YOU come away with ME,” a smiling Norah told a fan sitting up front who shouted out the song’s title as Jones adjusted her electric guitar. I was caught off guard upon realizing that “Come Away With Me” was not the last song of the night. Jones is obviously very proud of her new record and its tunes because she chose to end her set with yet another new one, “Stuck.” When it was all over, Norah lovingly told the crowd, “Thanks a lot, Chicago! Have a good night!” before she sauntered off the stage and out of sight.
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