ne way you can know an artist is truly special is how each concert feels like an event. Every Brandi Carlile live appearance feels unique and essential, and this appearance was no exception to that rule. Although Carlile wore a special suit and incorporated more big-time concert elements (including bigger lighting and a larger backing band), she still made her show as artistically successful as every other recent local performance. It was unforgettable, once again.
Carlile's sizable band included Matt Chamberlain on drums, Shooter Jennings at the piano and a string quartet, in addition to her regulars including twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth. The string quartet gave many of her performances a much fuller sound, including her big ballads with "The Joke" and "The Story." These strings also added drama to an already dramatic cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," which was followed by Carlile's singing of Radiohead's "Creep." Carlile's voice perfectly fit "Creep." (Better, maybe, than even Thom Yorke's original version). It was cool that she put these two fantastic covers in the middle of the concert, rather than make us wait until the encore.
That encore, by the way, included the encouraging lullaby, "Stay Gentle," as well as the vintage lullaby, "Over the Rainbow," which closed out the show. Her encore also included a duet with Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons, on an unnamed new Mumford solo song, which featured a lyric about forgiveness.
Carlile opened with the rocker, "Broken Horses," and she brought opener Lucius back to sing "You and Me on the Rock," which was introduced with Carlile recalling her childhood Vacation Bible School attendance. Even though she was openly heartbroken over the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe vs. Wade, she nevertheless expressed how much performing tonight made her feel better.
Carlile produced Lucius' album, "Second Nature," and this harmonizing pair – with equally long hair – played a set of vocally harmonious dance music. Lucius made for a good fit as this was a night filled with plenty of wonderful singing. The duo even played dueling key-tars, which is certainly not something one sees every day.
This was an emotional day and night, no matter where you come at the abortion issue, and Carlile is nothing if not an emotional performer. Tonight, that emotion was taken up to an extra high level, which made Carlile at The Greek the kind of especially memorable evening we've come to expect from this wonderful artist.