Brandi Carlile – Paramount Theatre, CO

“I was on my computer today and it occurred to me that we’ve played Colorado seven times in the last year,” Brandi Carlile (who has repeatedly packed venues around the state) said to the sold-out crowd Saturday night at the Paramount in Downtown Denver.

“I’m really touched that you came to see us after all these times. I carefully reviewed every set list to add new songs and I also reviewed all of our outfits and haircuts so most things about tonight will be different.”

Starting her set with a few songs from the new record, Give Up The Ghost (Oh Dear, Looking Out) she slipped in Late Morning Lullaby before abandoning the mics and stepping to the very edge of the stage.

“I want to take advantage of the acoustics… we realize this is a big space but we’re going to fill it,” she shouted before starting Dying Day.

She mentioned playing Swallow Hill on the first leg of the tour (April of ’09) saying, “That’s a really special place to play too. Every city’s lucky to have a jewel like that… they always get turned into night clubs. And where I was going with that is we were playing songs from our new record in their purest, rawest form, like they sound in our practice space and we wanted to bring an element of that to this show and play a couple of acoustic songs.”

Before a newly restyled, funky rendition of Caroline she explained, “There’s a song on our record that we vowed we wouldn’t play like it is on the record because we recorded it with my favorite hero of all time, Elton John. And you know, dammit Elton, before him it was a song and then he played piano on it and now we can’t make it awesome without his piano. So, we can make it different… we reworked the song to be super fun, it’s all about the harmonies and the groove.”

She brought out local favorite (and an artist she admitted to listening to every morning while she curls her hair) Gregory Alan Isakov for You Belong To Me, a song they’ll include if they ever do a children’s record, “when we get our tattoos removed.”

“This is the kind of show you dream about playing as a kid,” she gushed before inviting the now “buttered up” audience to sing along to Turpentine. Ending the main set, she went back to the piano for a delicate and unexpected cover of Tears for Fears’ Mad World.

After a short break, Phil and Tim Hanseroth harmonized beautifully on Sounds of Silence. Brandi launched into Jackson, adding extra twang on the second verse, “Here comes June,” she laughed and then segued into Folsom Prison Blues.

Opener Katie Herzig and her band joined Brandi and company in “what we call the takeover” for her song Wish You Well before Brandi played That Year, “the saddest little song on the littlest guitar you’ve ever seen.”

“I’m getting dangerously close to going over curfew,” she noted before an extended version of Pride and Joy. “This is the grand finale.”

And when urged to come back soon she laughed, “Count on it, we’re averaging once a month… we’re like the Colorado house band.”

Oh Dear
Looking Out
Late Morning Lullaby
Dying Day
I Will
You Belong To Me (With Gregory Alan Isakov)
Times They Are A-Changing (Bob Dylan)
Before It Breaks
The Story
Mad World (Tears for Fears)

Sounds of Silence (Twins solo – Simon & Garfunkel)
Jackson (Billy Edd Wheeler; Gaby Rogers) > Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)
Wish You Well (with Katie Herzig)
That Year
Happy Birthday (to Lewis)
Pride & Joy

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Photos by Nichole Wagner

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