Brandi Carlile at Varsity Theater, 12/30/2012

Categories: Last Night

Brandi once voiced her wish to be able to duet with Dolly Parton on her most country sounding song, "Keep Your Heart Young, so it was no surprise when she covered Parton's -- whom Carlile said was the most punk-rock singer there was -- "Jolene," and added her own punk-rock influence to it.

On what seemed like a too short set, Brandi closed with her biggest hit, the touching love song "The Story." As a tribute to her favorite city, Carlile opened her encore with Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U." Although it was not as heartbreaking as Sinead's version, Brandi still was able to emote the anguish of a song that could have been written especially for her. Introducing her single "That Wasn't Me," Carlile told the story of how it's taken a new meaning. "This year before Christmas, I got to sing and play my guitar for some ladies at a prison. When you're in prison, you're in the most confined space, but these ladies seemed so free, because before they were so confined with drugs. This song is about forgiveness."

For those that left early, a treat of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," a song that had the crowd singing and dancing along as soon as they heard the opening refrain, was missed. Raising her guitar in salute to the audience, Brandi blessed the audience with, "I wish you all good things in life."

Critic's bias: Carlile's show at the MN Zoo was one of my favorites of the year, and it's safe to say she is extremely consistent with her delivery.

The crowd: A dedicated Brandi Carlile fanbase.

Overheard in the crowd: "Not a Birkenstock in sight."

Random notebook dump: For her show in June, it was cold and rainy. For this winter show, it was hot and steamy in the venue.

Setlist

Raise Hell
Dreams
What Can I Say
Hard Way Home
Before It Breaks
100
Closer To You
I've Just Seen a Face
Keep Your Heart Young
Looking Out
What Can I Say
Jolene
How These Days Grow Long
The Story

Encore
Nothing Compares 2 U
Pride and Joy
That Wasn't Me

Second Encore
Folsom Prison Blues


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