Sharon Van EttenFeb 17, 2019
Towards the end of her set, Sharon Van Etten made the poignant statement: “Thanks for waiting for me”. I’d have to say that the wait was well worth it, and I think anyone in the audience last night would agree. Eagar fans packed the iconic First Avenue venue like I had never seen before for Van Etten’s first Minneapolis show in five years. The adoration of the night’s leading lady was evident throughout the show. Shouts of “I love you” were frequent in between the small breaks that followed Van Etten’s songs. The chilled-out Millennial/hipster crowd had been eagerly waiting for her return since that last show.
The band’s appearance drew applause and shouts of joy from the crowd. Fans were met by the spacy, atmospheric “Jupiter 4”, with colored lights and intricate shadows adding to the song’s psychedelic effects. But the show was not to be all mellow, with “Comeback Kid” showing that despite her age Sharon radiates youthful energy. In addition to giving a fantastic, and very human, vocal performance, Van Etten demonstrated her overall musical talent in songs like “One Day” and “Malibu”. On the former, she took center stage with a beautiful red Epiphone guitar and assumed piano duties on the latter. After “Malibu” came the biggest surprise of the night for me: the performance of “Hands”. When I first listened to Van Etten’s Remind me Tomorrow, this song did not stand out. I was shocked by the power and energy in the performance of the song, and needless to say I was quick to add it to my music playlist. The contrasting dynamic of energetic songs and lighter songs continued with a soulful cover of Sinead O’Connor, in which Van Etten played piano all alone. When the band came back on stage, the drummer was the first to start, and everyone knew why. “Seventeen”, the zenith of Remind Me Tomorrow, was underway. Van Etten played passionately into the rebellious, personal essence of the song. She eyed the crowd defiantly, as though she were “just seventeen”. Of course, the concert reached its climax with the song’s bridge and Van Etten’s voice seeping with emotion. Sharon made a brief goodbye with Remind Me Tomorrow’s closer “Stay” before triumphantly returning with some cuts off older albums. In her own words, Van Etten left the crowd with some love and sang “Love More”. In a unified effort, the singer-songwriter took a bow with her band, and said her goodbyes. As she walked out, a lucky fan was rewarded with a copy of the setlist.
Overall, Van Etten did not disappoint. Her show highlighted why critics have lauded her 5th LP, Remind Me Tomorrow. Every song on the album was included in the set, and songs like “Hands” and “Seventeen” were true highlights. Long-time fans were also rewarded with older tracks, like “Serpents” off the 2012 album Tramp. She, along with her band, gave me an experience that no one will have to remind me of tomorrow.