LIVE: Alanis Morissette brings Jagged Little Pill to SPAC, 09/05/2021

It is hard to believe that it has been twenty-six years since the release of Alanis Morissette’s breakthrough, career-defining record Jagged Little Pill. The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning five, including Album of the Year. To date, it has sold over thirty-three million copies worldwide and spawned a Broadway musical of the same name. Rolling Stone magazine had it listed at #69 on its most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The songs still sound as fresh today as they did during the first term of the Clinton administration.

Photo by Claude Sawyer

On Sunday night, Morissette brought her “Jagged Little Pill 25th Anniversary Tour” to Saratoga Performing Arts Center for a long awaited performance. Tickets for the concert went on sale in December of 2019. The show was originally slated for a July 8, 2020 performance. Like everything else, the tour got postponed. Die hard fans who held on to their tickets were rewarded with an incredible performance.

Most times when an act does an anniversary tour for a specific album, they play said album from start to finish. Black Crowes have been doing this on their Shake Your Moneymaker 30th Anniversary Tour which rolls into town next weekend. Morissette decided to mix things up. She kicked the set off with “All I Really Want” the first track off of Jagged Little Pill. From there the setlist diverged, with Alanis playing hits from her other records before dipping back into JLP.

Morissette was a ball of energy all night, bounding from one side of the stage to the other. She was very clearly making sure that every person in the audience got a good look at her. Her vocals are still incredibly strong. There were numerous occasions where she would hold the microphone near her waistline as she was belting out the lyrics. Her voice came through clear as a bell.

Halfway through her set, it began to rain. It didn’t seem to put a damper on the spirits of those folks on the lawn. Many had been holding onto their tickets for twenty months or so. They weren’t going to let a little precipitation kill their mood.

Like most artists, Alanis saved her biggest hits for the end of the show. Once the band started the intro to “Ironic” the SPAC crowd erupted. Morissette simply pointed the microphone at the crowd and they sang nearly every word of the first verse before she chose to sing along. “You Oughta Know” closed out the main set, with over fifteen thousand people shouting the anthem back at the stage. A three song encore followed. She ended the night with the appropriately titled “Thank U.” She was very clearly happy to be back on stage. Her gratitude was evident from the first note to the last.

Fellow 90’s alt-rockers Garbage gave a solid sixty-minute set that leaned heavily on their hits. Singer Shirley Manson is the epitome of a rock star. She just oozes rock attitude. The rhythm section of this band is legendary. Bass player Eric Avery was a founding member of Jane’s Addiction and drummer Butch Vig has produced some of the most important records in music history, including Nirvana’s Nevermind. The twin guitar attack of Duke Erikson and Steve Marker round out the impressive band.

Singer-Songwriter Chan Marshall AKA Cat Power opened the show to a sparsely filled amphitheater. Her soft, introspective songs seemed to be wasted on this particular crowd. It was truly unfortunate that most of the people I talked to hadn’t heard of her or weren’t interested in listening to her. Marshall is an incredible talent.

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