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Alanis Morissette Live in Sydney - Review

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by Jade Jackson (subscribe)
Poet, Podcaster & Photographer with travel agent, airline, cruise ship, flight attendant, tour guide, and teaching airfares background. Read my travel articles and book cheap flights >>
Itís Ironic, but Youíre Uninvited
Alanis Morissette, Image by Jade Jackson, ICC Darling Harbour, Alanis, Ironic, Jagged LIttle Pill
Alanis Morissette performed at the ICC in Darling Harbour. Image by Jade Jackson.

Note: Quotes may have been edited for length and or clarity.

In her first stage appearance in Australia after twenty-one years, Alanis Morissette kept things simple, with an acoustic performance at the ICC in Darling Harbour.

Most famous for her multiple Grammy award-winning album (including Album of the Year), Jagged Little Pill with its pop-infused grungy guitar riffs and angry love songs, this time, Alanis had nothing to prove. She was relaxed, ecstatic to be here, and the evening felt like we were catching up with an old friend, laughing over old memories.

Much like her MTV Unplugged album (which coincidently was always my favourite), this concert was a stripped down, laid-back collection of her biggest hits, with just two acoustic guitarists, Julian Coryell and Jason Orme, and the occasional harmonica by Alanis. The concert showcased Alanis's powerful, operatic vocals, which could just as easily have wowed in a capella mode.

Alanis's popularity stems from her ability to write songs, which appeared to be what everyone was thinking. She is real. What you saw is genuinely her, and what she sings about is her inner-most thoughts, not just a quick grab at stardom. She has also produced most of her albums herself.

miss you already sydney 🔥💕 #thankyou #australialove

A post shared by Alanis Morissette (@alanis) on

She opened the night with You Learn, now that she's a mum of two, she modified the lyrics from "the way a three year old would do," to "the way a 7 year old and a 1.5 year old would do." A small gesture, but it brought intimacy to the concert, along with several funny little stories. We saw the real Alanis Morissette, not some packaged up, wrapped in plastic, studio release.

Her trademark harmonica made its first appearance on All I Really Want to a cacophony of whistles and cheers from the crowd. It may have been a subdued, seated performance, but it was not lacking in energy or vitality.

#fbf "all roads lead to big sur, all roads home to big sur..."

A post shared by Alanis Morissette (@alanis) on

She continued with Precious Illusions and Mary Jane. At one point, she broke into a near minute-long vibrato, after which Alanis joked, "the way to know if someone is actually singing or lip-syncing is, if they look really pretty when they sing a high note, they're lip-syncing."

She then went on to talk about the upcoming Broadway musical she wrote 'Jagged Little Pill', based on her breakout album.

"I watched the rehearsals and it was exciting seeing my songs performed with new life, along with fresh voices, to help them grow into something I couldn't have done myself."

The middle of the concert, mellowed out with Hands Clean, Right Through You, and Guardian (from her most recent album - Havoc and Bright Lights, released in 2012) which was about her son, Ever. She told a story about how Ever came to her and said "Mom, I'd feel more comfortable if you sung about Onyx too." She then went on to explain, "[I get so emotional singing this]. I have to think about baseball, otherwise I'd end up in tears, and I've also included a verse about my inner child."

The tempo then switched to more upbeat with Hand in my Pocket, Everything, and Head over Feet. When it came to Ironic, the whole crowd sung along with every word, filling the auditorium with unity and love.

Before she sung Uninvited, Alanis explained "I often get asked to watch movies before they're released, to see if I can come up with a song, on this particular afternoon, I watched a remake [City of Angels] of a Wim Wenders film about angels [Wings of Desire], and I fell in love with it, I went home and wrote this song in about 15 minutes."

For a song usually performed on a piano, I was impressed with how easily it converged into dual acoustic guitars. It lost none of its punch, perhaps it's my love of acoustic sounds, but it worked.

Alanis's emotive vocals, prove she's an incredible singer and any song she performs is going to sound amazing, especially live. Few would argue her version of Sting's King of Pain, from her MTV Unplugged album, surpasses the original.

Alanis Morissette, Image by Jade Jackson, ICC Darling Harbour, Alanis, Jagged Little Pill, Ironic, You Learn
Alanis looked much bigger on screen at the ICC. Image by Jade Jackson.

Her second last song was You Outta Know, before she sped up the whole, encore process.

"So this is where we'd go off stage, and stand awkwardly off to the side, as you'd all clap (cue audience cheering and clapping) and then we'd go, is this it? Should we go back out yet? Then you'd cheer and clap again, (cue audience cheering and clapping) and then we'd go, yep, that's it, and so here we are!"

She finished the night with Thank You, a fitting end, to a two-decade long wait, to hear soulful reminders of past relationships, which I know is somewhat ironic, but totally worth the wait.

Alanis Morissette, Alaska, Oil Drilling, Jade Jackson review
In her spare time, Alanis also likes to save the world. Here she is in Alaska with Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys) protesting against oil drilling. They won. Image courtesy of

After listening to her music, post-concert, if anything, it has cemented further, that her full talents aren't always displayed on a CD or MP3. Alanis is the kind of singer, that needs to be heard live to appreciate her full vocal range. It's rare to find the combination of a talented songwriter and singer, without the diva antics. If you find yourself in:

Tulsa, Oklahoma - 15th March 2018
Zapopan Mexico - 7th April 2018
Cork, Ireland - 4th July 2018
Dublin, Ireland - 5th July 2018
Milbertshofen, Germany - 16th July 2018
Bonn, Germany - 18th July 2018

Then definitely go and see her live, otherwise, you may have to wait another twenty years till you have the opportunity to see her in concert again.

Alanis also runs spiritual guidance workshops about ego and the self in order to operate from a place of intuition and trust throughout life. Curious? Head to her website for more information.

Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill, The Collection, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, So Called Chaos, Under Rug Swept
Have you got all of Alanis's albums in your collection? Image courtesy of iTunes.

If like me, you lost your Jagged Little Pill CD under the seat of your ex-girlfriend's car many years ago but you've only just remembered, then you can download Alanis Morissette's entire back catalogue on iTunes on the links below:

You can follow her on Instagram for snippets into her life and inspirational quotes. Alanis also hosts an occasional self-help podcast called Conversation with Alanis Morissette, where she chats to intellectual individuals from a variety of backgrounds about life, relationships, and everything in-between.

Alanis was supported by Australian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon, who was discovered by Triple J Unearthed. Angie performed solo, with her acoustic guitar, which perfectly set the mood for the evening. Her songs had that raw, melancholic sweetness that comes with new talent, being catchy yet meaningful. She is currently recording an album which is due out later this year, which will be followed by an Australian tour. Keep up to date via her website, in the meantime, you can listen to her song, Slow Mover, which came in at #33 on the Triple J Hottest 100, below.

Alanis Morissette, Image by Jade Jackson, Alanis, Jagged LIttle Pill, Ironic, Uninvited
Alanis played an acoustic only performance at the ICC, Darling Harbour. Image by Jade Jackson.
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Why? All your favourite Alanis songs performed acoustically.
When: The concert was on Wednesday 24th January 2018.
Where: ICC Darling Harbour, Darling Drive
Cost: Tickets started at $99.90
Your Comment
Love Alanis, really enjoyed your review. Made me wish I was there.
by Christina Brandalise (score: 3|3132) 1128 days ago
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