FIRST IMPRESSIONS LAST
I must confess (and stop me if you’ve read this before!) that prior to this concert, I had never heard the music of Ingrid Michaelson before. Sure, due to my mentoring of several female singer-songwriters it was impossible not to have heard of her but actually sit down and listen to the music? Nope. Much of this was due to certain (negative) perceptions of her music, details of which I will not bore you with.
Now of course after last night’s concert – and you know this is coming – I must say that I have new found respect and admiration for her. First and foremost, Michaelson is a superb singer-songwriter in the best (traditional) sense of that word. You know, Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul McCartney, that kind of singer-songwriter i.e. the real deal. None of this namby pamby melodically challenged modern day SINGER-songwriter which appeals more to eye than ear. Again no details to bore you with.
Despite the fact that Michaelson was backed (and flanked) by only two singer-guitarists (Allie Moss and Bess Rogers – artists in their own right – google/youtube them), the sound was rich, textured and compelling with the setup being utterly suitable for the environs of the Esplanade Concert Hall. The harmonies were awe-inspiring with sophisticated vocal arrangements that sent chills down my spine. Seriously, this was Beach Boys-Bee Gees type harmonies, which is no mean feat!
Besides the fact that Michaelson delivered her mellifluent songs (“Parachute”, “Blood Brothers”, “Ghost”, “Maybe”, “The Chain”) with assurance, aplomb and amazing skill, she also managed to entertain the audience with her between song banter. Maybe it had something to do with her background in improv comedy but certainly, she could have done stand-up for the duration of the concert and people would have been satisfied with that! Yes folks, she was that good as she got the audience rolling in their seats in laughter with her humor.
There was a touching moment where Michaelson invited her husband Greg Laswell (who opened the concert) to sing a duet with her on “The Light in Me” and the chemistry was clear for all to see. Honestly, the concert was gratifying on so many levels that it was so enjoyable to see Michaelson getting as much from the audience as she was giving. The whole spiel she gave about how fake encores were was priceless and when she returned (with Moss and Rogers) looking bewildered and surprised, it was so cool for artist and audience to be in on the joke together, for once. She finished up with “Be OK” and “The Way I Am” and then it was really over.
An amazing show all-round. Well done to all concerned!
This review was made possible by Greenhorn Productions. Photos by Joanna Kwa.