Sara Bareilles at the MN Zoo, 7/12/2011

Categories: Last Night
Sara Bareilles 2.jpg
Sara Bareilles with Raining Jane
July 12, 2011
MN Zoo Amphitheater

Sara Bareilles introduced her show with the exclamation, "We haven't played  a headlining show in a long time, but we said, 'Fuck it!'" -- thus setting the mood for a perfect night for music in the zoo. 

With the dramatic change in the previous hot July weather, guests were sitting comfortably in the MN Zoo Amphitheater.  Brian Oake of Cities 97 said it best, declaring, "These are the nights I live for.  Turn off your cell phones and just enjoy the music."

Sara opened with her current radio hit "Uncharted" to a sold-out crowd, holding nothing back especially when dropping the F-bombs, which led her to joke, "We're checking to see if I have Tourettes."

The bluesy "Gonna Get Over You" brought to mind a hip-shaking Elvis Presley with its four beats of 1920s burlesque piano, in what was introduced as "a song about getting a douche-bag out of your life."

Music is the highlight of a show, but it's easy to forget how much of an impact a spectacular light show can bring to a performance, which lent a dreamy quality on songs such as "Many the Miles."

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With the long days of summer, Sara shares that, "It''s a little weird to do a show when it's still daylight.  At night, it looks cool under the lights, but during the day, it's 'Oh, she's just sweaty.'"  A sense of humor and musical talent led to men shouting, "I love you!"  Which then led to Sara asking, "Who loves me?  Do I have to call security?"

Included in the set were "Breath Again" and "Basketcase" which got Sara out from behind the piano, but her cover of Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man" was what really got the crowd going, even with a misstep in forgotten lyrics. 

Halfway through the production, I found myself coming to admire Sara's music, mostly for the fact that despite having a lot commercial success, and even seeing a few songs being romantic-comedy-ready, not all of her songs were written with the intent of being marketed.  These songs were written because she was so passionate about getting her music heard.

The last songs of her set were the radio hits with a different spin.  The chord structures and lyrics were the same, but if you weren't already familiar with the songs, you would never recognize it by this performance alone.

"Bottle It Up" featuring her backing band on the piano, with Sara pounding on the kick drum, carries one of my favorite lines in a song: "There'll be girls across the nation that will eat this up, babe, I know it's your soul, but could you bottle it up?"

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Her ode to her record label "Love Song" and recent radio hit "King of Anything" round out the regular set before the encore, where I truly felt Sara's voice was showcased.  Sara claims, "I speak to the broken-hearted.  It's what I do," and in the goose-bump inducing "Gravity," she does.  Performed a capella, her voice is able to shine through and able to cut you straight through to the soul. 

She didn't name the title of this never-before-performed song in her encore, but it was preempted with how she grew up with a lot of images issues.  The lyrics "You feel like the ugly girl / Trade in your summer skin for those high-heeled shoes to make him want to be with you" made me think of all the young girls in the crowd and how they may see Sara Bareilles as this woman who may have her shit together and all this stage confidence, but underneath it all, she is insecure as all of them.

Personal bias: I was mainly familiar with Sara Bareilles' radio hits, but she blew me away with her musicianship.
The crowd: Many middle-aged couples, but outside of that, the majority was young girls.
Overheard in the crowd: "I don't think I'm 'suburban' enough to be at this show."
Random notebook dump: I always wonder if to be a backup musician, you have to have a certain "look."  The band all had the same look, and the bassist was an uncanny John Corbett.

Set List:
Uncharted
Vegas
Gonna Get Over You
Machine Gun
Many the Miles
Breathe Again
Basketcase
Bluebird
Little Lion Man
Come Round Soon
Bottle It Up
Love Song
King of Anything

Encore:
Gravity
"New Song"
Let the Rain


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4 comments
Caitlin Netzer
Caitlin Netzer

I've been listening to Sara Bareilles since I was 14. I'm now 19 and in college and she even performed at my college (The College of Saint Scholastica). That was the best day of my life.I also saw her my sophomore year of high school at the Fine Line Music Cafe. I also attended the show last night at the zoo. I don't think that the "older" crowd realized how much air time she actually gets. Where I was sitting I heard someone say,"Oh, there's actually real fans here." Sara Bareilles is way too underrated. Something I don't think people understand is that with Sara Bareilles girls aren't necessarily looking at her "insecurities" (which she is a very sarcastic person, so she is usually joking around, if you go to more shows you would know this), but for my age there's a lot of crap music. Some of us are done with the Katy Perry's of the world and want to listen to TALENT. She's involved at her shows, it's not about her, but rather her fans and the impact on us. For me, both of her albums, (Little Voice and Kaleidoscope Heart) came out during some of the best times of my life. When I hear these songs it reminds me of my cousin and I running around in my room screaming,"How far do I have to go to get to you!" With Sara I made sure to never associate her with a bad mood, so that way when I heard her I only remembered the happy times. With that being said, I hope people realize that Sara's fans ALL have a reason and connection for whatever reason, that draws us to her. It's not just a song, but a memory. All in all, I LOVE SARA BAREILLES! <3

Me
Me

Interesting thought on the backup musicians -- the "guys", as Sara called them.  They did appear to come from the same mold, and they were "rocking out" in a certain hip way.  They served their purpose, and I'm sure they're all great guys to share a PBR with.  Right.

I was unprepared for the Sara love being shown by the audience.  Lots of people were mouthing words I couldn't understand, but that's part of the fun sometimes, marvelling at an unfamiliar artist that others love greatly.  I don't quite see her greatness, but that's partially based on memories of other similar artists who are better, in my opinion.  Speaking of which, the Indigo Girls are playing the Zoo venue tonight ... of course, this is subjective, new vs. old, the endless debate, themes recycled, etc.  There's room for everyone.

On a technical note, the bass drum was up way too high, muddying everything, including Sara's voice.  The bass guitar was loud too.  I judge the sound mix to be lousy.  There, I said it.  The moments without bass and drums were the most enjoyable.  I liked the spectacle of the 4 guys on the keyboards for the start of whatever song that was.

Brian Oake was right -- the weather was perfect for a change.  I've been at a few Zoo shows this year that were really unpleasantly hot.  Matisyahu, Toots, etc.  And Brian Oake has a nice voice -- he should be on the radio.

Sara has an interesting, oddly affected stage presence, seemingly pretending to be insecure and depressed, while simultaneously being too perky.  I can't quite figure it out.  I guess it sells well to the adolescent girls.  Ah, who am I kidding, Sara is kinda beguiling, but I wasn't one of the guys who shouted, "I love you!"  I'm too cool for that.  I was sending her secret psychic "I love you" messages.

Yeah I know Brian Oake is on the radio.

Good review, I'm with you on most of it.  Let's talk tomorrow about the Indigo Girls, alright?

SaintScholastica
SaintScholastica

Did you graduate Saint Scholatica or get booted out for not learning how to spell it?

Caitlin Netzer
Caitlin Netzer

Well excuse me for forgetting an s. What is the point of this?

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