After seeing Melissa Etheridge over the years and knowing how great she is live there was no way I would miss a chance to check out her ‘This is Me’ solo tour when it came to The Paramount in Huntington NY. I requested a photo credential and was told there would be no opener and she would be on stage at 8pm.
With an approval for only 1 song and no photo pit I took a position in the predominantly female, general admission, crowd as I awaited Ms Etheridge. The stage was set with about a dozen guitars in a semi-circle around the center stage microphone and a grand piano, set behind, stage left. At 8:15 she casually walked on stage to the nearly sold out crowd and kicked it off with “All American Girl” which was followed by excessive applause and her smiling saying “Awesome, this is the first time I have been to this place, this is great.”
Still smiling as she changed guitars the crowd settled in for what would be a magical night of music. What made the night magical was that it was nothing more than Melissa. All songs were stripped down to just her, the guitar of choice, which she swapped out for every song (other than a few songs where she took to the keys) a drum, a tambourine and some foot pedals. Although some were saying this was an acoustic show it was definitely a step above your typical performer with a guitar.
As you can imagine from her music she’s quite the story teller and shared some short stories and banter with the crowd as she checked tuning or felt the moment was right for a little anecdote. Basically sharing her past with Huntington she included inspirations for writing and even how she turned down Meatloaf to be the female voice on “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights.”
At one point she thanked the fans for always being there and purchasing her first album and even stopped to express “This is too much fun.” It was obvious she was having as much fun, if not more than the crowd, as she would grab her drum, set up a drum loop then layer some tambourine on top and play songs through the decades of her career as the crowd clamored for more.
Highlights for me included “Chrome Plated Heart”, “If I Wanted To”, “I Want to Come Over” and the last four songs of the night that included hits “I’m The Only One”, “Monster”, “Bring Me Some Water” and “Like The Way I Do”
All American Girl
Chrome Plated Heart
A Little Bit of Me
Don’t You Need
I Want to Come Over
Who Are You Waiting For
If I Wanted To
Like a Preacher
Come to My Window
Meet Me in the Back
The Letting Go
I’m The Only One
Bring Me Some Water
Like the Way I Do
Throughout the entire show her strong voice was on point and with her great stage presence you really didn’t miss the fact that there wasn’t a full band.
As I said, I have seen Melissa Etheridge many times over the years and I’d tell anyone that’s a music fan not to miss her when she’s touring however, catching one of these solo shows is a real treat so if you have a chance make it to one, make sure you do.