Alanis Morissette review – full-throttle tour through greatest hits

Hammersmith Apollo, London
The Canadian alt-rocker delivers high-energy thrills amid sing-alongs that could rival the cheers of jubilant football fans

‘It’s like meeting the man of my dreams, and meeting his beautiful … husband,” sings Alanis Morissette, changing the lyrics of 1996 hit Ironic to make her imaginary dreamboat gay. Cue screams. You can see from the eclectic attire of the crowd that the majority have come straight either from London’s Pride event or a pub showing the England v Sweden match. Rather than hold up handmade signs, fans wave the odd flash of a flag – rainbow-coloured or St George’s.

From opener All I Really Want, the Canadian alt-rocker delivers a full throttle set of back-to-back greatest hits. Notably, this performance, the first of two London dates before she heads for the Cornbury music festival in Oxfordshire, isn’t personal. She performed a few candid sets earlier this year, but tonight the only moment she comes close to intimacy is a jokey reference to her children, Ever and Onyx, when she changes the lyric during You Learn.

The energy is high, however. Striding back and forth in leather trousers, she has cropped her trademark long, dark hair, and it seems to put more wind beneath her wings. Impressive harmonica parts have the presence and importance of the howling guitar solos. Similarly, her voice is such a force that she pulls the mic back to a full arm’s length, as if she’s fighting it till the end.

The stage is bathed in moody purple lighting – a known colour of spiritualists – and when Morissette does speak, it is to thank everyone for “coming on the journey” with her. The ensuing applause elicits a “bless you” from her. This undercurrent won’t be lost on anyone who knows she calls herself an empath, nor on anyone who was a reader of her Guardian advice column.

Morissette is a lyrical master of the contradictions raging inside most people. Somehow, this quality makes sense in 2018, and the audience knows it – or at least has fun listening. By the time she plays You Oughta Know, fan sing-alongs could rival the cheers of jubilant football fans.

Contributor

Hannah Ewens

The GuardianTramp

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