Norah Jones at Orpheum Theatre, 10/7/2012

Categories: Last Night
Norah_Jones_Stacy_Schwartz.jpg
Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Norah Jones with Cory Chisel
Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis
Sunday, October 7, 2012


An evening with Norah Jones is not limited to one genre of music. On a cold, blustery night -- to which Jones said, "I wasn't prepared for [the cold]." -- Minneapolis was treated to rock, pop, country, jazz, and folk along with any other subtleties that lie within Ms. Jones' layers of music and talents.

See also:
[Slideshow] Norah Jones at Orpheum Theatre, 10/7/12


Set behind a simple curtain backdrop and hanging origami doves on lighted strings, Norah opened with the dreamlike "Good Morning" to a sold out crowd. Heavy with songs from her latest album, Little Broken Hearts, the set had Norah as much behind the piano as well as center stage with her guitar, a surprise to those that are used to her performing on the keys.

Norah_Jones_Stacy_Schwartz_3.jpg
Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Jones was extremely polite, saying a humble "Thank you" between every song in recognition to the applause. With a voice as smooth as caramel, Norah's voice is perfect for jazz, but it is also right at home for country -- a place where heartache lives and thrives -- especially evident on her cover of Tom Waits' "Long Way Home." Jones also performed "Black," a song from the Rome album co-written by Danger Mouse (her producer on Little Broken Hearts), a piece she had to restart due to her bracelet getting in the way of her guitar. The Rome album was a collaboration (with many artists that included Jack White) and a labor of love five years in the making based on the music in spaghetti westerns, and perhaps was what colored some of Norah's latest album.

Suprisingly, for someone with such an extensive catalog of music, Norah favors covers of other artists in her shows, adding a countrified version of the Grateful Dead's "It Must Have Been the Roses," and making it her own. Much of Jones' own songs are based on heartbreak and love, but never happily-ever-after love -- there's always some twist to the story -- much like in her slowed down version of "Don't Know Why." Left alone onstage with her piano, Norah was allowed to showcase her luminous voice and allowed a glimpse to some emotion that had been, up to this point, in short supply.

"Sinkin' Soon" from her 2007 Not Too Late album showed off Norah's jazz roots with some experimental cadences, but with "Miriam," Jones shone especially bright. The story set in the song is deceptively creepy, for the piece sounds like a sweet lullaby -- wherein she channels Rufus Wainwright -- but if you listen closely, the story is based on the murder of Miriam, the cheating woman, by Norah.

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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
For her last song in the regular set, Norah invited Cory Chisel and Adrial Denae back to the stage to share in a cover of Gram Parson's "Hickory Wind" -- a song that seemed like it was written purely for this performance, with Norah, Cory, and Adrial trading the lead vocals on the verses, while harmonizing on the chorus.

Those that left before the encore missed the best part of the show, which was a simple setup of Norah and her band around a single mic performing acoustic versions of "Sunrise," "Creepin' In," and one of her first hits "Come Away With Me."

Critic's bias: I only knew a handful of Norah's songs coming into the show, but was impressed with the new pieces and direction of her new album. My concert friend voiced that he would have liked the show to have more narrative between the songs. It truly was a night dedicated to just music.

The crowd: Respectable fans that stayed seated and clapped at appropriate times -- although a bit offbeat at some of the "appropriate times."

Overheard in the crowd: "I would never have expected to hear Norah do a guitar solo."

Random notebook dump: I wonder if there is a standard when picking out/auditioning as a backup musician to be as non-descript as possible in looks.

Setlist

Good Morning
Say Goodbye
Take It Back
It's Gonna Be
Chasing Pirates
Little Broken Hearts
Long Way Home (Tom Waits cover)
Black
It Must Have Been the Roses (Grateful Dead cover)
All a Dream
Cold, Cold Heart
Out on the Road
Painter Song
Don't Know Why
Sinkin' Soon
Miriam
Happy Pills
Hickory Wind (Gram Parsons cover)

Encore
Sunrise
Creepin' In
Come Away With Me


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