Alanis Morissette @ The Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Monday January 22, 2018.
Five minutes before Alanis Morissette was due on-stage at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre – as people were still shuffling down along the front rows – one of the venue’s ancient, domed leather flip-seats fell entirely off its hinges and onto the floor with a clunk. An usher stared at it in total horror for a second and then shrieked towards a man with a walkie-talkie: “JASON! Jason, this seat is absolutely DONE. Where will we put the patron? WE’RE SOLD OUT!”
To be fair, I think the guy who was in C33 would have happily sat on the wooden floor to remain as close to Morissette as he was; this intimate show (just the Canadian vocalist and two acoustic guitarists) was a rapturous love-up from its first moments.
Pink ‘x’ marks the approximate spot of seat C33 (Orchestra) at The Palais.
The fact Morissette hasn’t appeared in Australia for nigh on two decades meant quiet didn’t reign longer than a few moments after each bout of post-track cheering. Someone would soon holler out their love, or declare it was their birthday and wanted a hug, or plead with Morissette not to wait another 20 years before visiting again. She took it all in her blissed-out stride, trading quips and little tales with a giant smile on her face.
Focusing on the Jagged Little Pill era (she performed eight of its 12 tracks), the musician quickly proved the yodelling athleticism of her voice is intact; the highest wails of All I Really Want and Uninvited were all delivered with astonishing panache. Of course, part of her charm is her acknowledgment of her flaws, and you’ll be happy to know that even she forgets the order of lyrics to Hand In My Pocket. After stopping the song two bars in and doubling over with guffaws, she admitted, “I forgot them in the ‘90s, too. But then I’d just do this – “ pointing her mic straight out into the audience with a rallying air punch. Neat trick.
Morissette altered the lyrics to several songs in satisfying ways – changing You Learn’s “Wear it out, the way a three-year-old would do” to “a seven-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old would do” (reflecting the ages of her own kids), and “I am fascinated by the spiritual man” to “spiritual woman”, in All I Really Want – and the arrangements were more contemplative in tempo, also sometimes veering into semitonal avenues away from the recorded versions. Personal fave Not The Doctor benefitted particularly from the double acoustic set-up, with one dude thumping percussive rhythms on the guitar body while the other played its jangly chords.
Finishing out with the gorgeous Thank U and angsty, perennial classic You Oughta Know, Morissette left the stage but not our hearts, I tell you. It was one of those shows that leaves your teenage self fully satisfied and ready to kick your history homework’s butt. Now we just have to pray that that Jagged Little Pill musical will make its way Down Under.