Michelle Branch is Back!

Michelle Branch
Charter One Pavilion – Chicago, IL
7/16/2011

Michelle Branch goo goo dolls tour Chicago 7

 It’s been 8 years since Michelle Branch released a solo album.  In the 8 years she’s had a kid with her husband, formed a country music duo, The Wreckers, and released an EP of country-esc songs on her own.  This fall she will release her new album West Coast Time.  The first single off the album is “Loud Music” which is currently available on iTunes.  Michelle is currently on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls and Parachute.

Michelle took the Charter One Pavilion stage with just her husband/bass player Teddy and her guitar player.  One of the first things she said to the crowd was how she is so happy to be out on the road again. The set started off strong with her hit “Everywhere”, “Breathe”, and the well received new single “Loud Music”.  She introduced “Game of Love” by telling her story of the making of video.  It was shot right here in Chicago.  She said she wishes every video could be shot in Chicago because of the gracious hospitality. She went on saying that when people found out they were shooting the video in their neighborhood, they brought out food and “bathtub tequila” for the crew.  It was a great story and is a great song, but the mood shifted as the backing music for “Game of Love” kicked it. It was too loud and distorted.  They also turned the tempo down on the song that made it almost unrecognizable. We all looked at each other hoping the rest of the set wasn’t going to take that path.

Once Michelle said, “Is it ok if I play a Wrecker’s song?” The crowd cheered with approval.  She said, “I am still getting used to playing this alone.” The song was a great transition from “Game of Love” which, I hate to say it, was the low point of the night.  “Leave the Pieces” was a hit and she nailed it with just accompaniment with a bass player and her guitar player from Australia, who she says, “Is never in a bad mood!”

Last night was the first time she’s ever played The Charter One Pavilion and the crowd was in for a special treat as Michelle performed “For Dear Life” for the first time live. She said, “You always remember your first, right?”  She also mentioned that she wrote that for her husband and then transitioned to “Happy Now?” which was written for an ex. Michelle laughed, “awkward” as she turned to her husband, who she said, “has no choice but to be in my band!”  This and the other new song she performed, “Spark”, are throwbacks to her Spirit Rooms days, but a little more grown up.

I felt like I was at a taping of VH1 Storytellers with her.  Michelle told stories, but I shouldn’t have been too surprised because if you follow her on Facebook she shares a lot about what’s going on in her days.  She isn’t one of those very private people.  She talked about wanting to be the house band for a venue in Chicago because there was so much to do. Her and her daughter spent the day running a muck in the Field Museum, which is only blocks from the Charter One Pavilion.  She was also appeared genuinely happy and comfortable to be onstage and ready for the spotlight again.

She closed with “All I Wanted” and left the crowd ready for the Goo Goo Dolls.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images:

Setlist:

Everywhere
Breathe
Loud Music – New Single-
Goodbye to You
Game of Love
Leave the Pieces
For Dear Life – Off New Album
Happy Now?
Spark – Off New Album
All I Wanted

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