Going to a Sara Bareilles concert is a bit like going to a Chicago Sky women's basketball team, but less racially mixed. There are a lot of lesbians, a lot of screaming young female fans, and a sprinkling of heterosexual couples and gay men.
Bareilles is a big ally of the LGBT community and her LGBT fans have been rewarded with such songs as "Brave" and her simply beautiful duet with Ingrid Michaelson, "Winter Song." ( I have watched that video more than 100 times. )
Her fans were treated to a mix of new and classic songs ( plus some covers including En Vogue's "My Lovin'" ) in the first stop of her "Little Black Dress" summer tour, at the Chicago Theatre July 10. She's a fantastic singer and songwriter, and her energy was infectious. The videos behind her were unique to each song, and her band was phenomenal. And it's great see a woman singer backed in part by powerful female musicians.
Unfortunately, the sound mix was crushing. It not only made it very difficult to hear the lyrics, but it also made a lot of the songs sound the same. There was little distinction in the blasting of instruments. That's a shame for songs so based on the words.
The concert is certainly worth it, especially for Bareilles fans who were eager to sing along to her most popular tunes. It was also nice to see her play multiple instruments and interact with her band. She joked about the fact that many of her songs can be quite depressing, but they were received as cathartic love anthems by the fans. These included "Gonna Get Over You."
Other highlights included "Love Song," "Uncharted," "Gravity," "King of Anything," "Hercules," the haunting "Manhattan " and of course a rousing, audience-participation performance of "Brave" with the music video behind the band. She did multiple encore songs, but ended on a really slow downer song. I suggest "Brave" is the best one to close the show next time.