1995 / 1996 – New Beginning Tour

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THE TOUR
The New beginning tour lasted 2 years: in March 1995, Tracy Chapman and band toured the US to “test” new material. When the album came out, they toured again in the US before undertaking a world tour on April 96 in Europe until October 96 in South Africa passing by the USA and Australia.

On certain venues, before the show there were 3×5 index cards that anyone could fill out with any forms of expression they chose. Tracy read these cards to the audience during a break between two songs from her set.. She went on to urge everyone to express themselves in some way, shape or form that suits them best.

In the New Beginning’s artwork was a coupon to bring to concert to get a free packet of seeds.

THE BAND
Tracy Chapman – Vocals & Guitars
Rock Deadrick – Drums
Andy Stoller – Bass
Glenys Rogers – Percussions
Linda Taylor – Guitars
Kiki Ebsen – Keyboards

ITINERARY

Spring tour ’95 -U.S. tour dates
March 1, 1995 – South Bend, IN – Stepan Center, University of Notre Dame
March 4, 1995 – Grinnell, IA – Harris Center, Grinnell College
March 5, 1995 – Decorah, IA – Regents Center, Luther College
March 6, 1995 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
March 8, 1995 – Evanston, IL – Pick-Staiger Hall, Northwestern University
March 9, 1995 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig (review)
March 11, 1995 – Washington DC – The Bayou
March 12, 1995 – Pittsburgh, PA – Rosebud
March 14, 1995 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
March 15, 1995 – Crawfordsville, IN – Wabash College Chapel
March 17, 1995 – Lawrence, KS – Liberty Hall
March 19, 1995 – FT Collins, CO – Lincoln Center
March 20, 1995 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
March 24, 1995 – San Francisco, CA
March 25, 1995 – San Francisco, CA

November 29, 1995 – David Letterman Show [TV show]
November 30, 1995 – New York City, NY – The Academy
December 02, 1995 – Fredonia, NY – King Concert Hall, SUNY
December 04, 1995 – Northampton, MA – Smith College
December 06, 1995 – Detroit, MI – Royal Oak
December 07, 1995 – Chicago, IL – PIK Steiger, Northwestern
December 09, 1995 – Denver, CO – Paramount
December 12, 1995 – San Francisco, CA – Herbst Theater
December 13, 1995 – Los Angeles, CA – Wadsworth Theater (review)
December 15, 1995 – Eugene, OR – Soreng Hall
December 16, 1995 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater (setlist)

January, 19, 1996 – Tonight Show with Jay Leno [TV show]

February 08, 1996 – Nashville, TN – 328 Performance Hall

March 16, 1996 – St. Louis, MO – American Theater

European tour dates
April 21, 1996 – Hamburg, Germany – Grosse Freheit
April 22, 1996 – Berlin, Germany – Huexley’s Neue Welt
April 24, 1996 – Cologne, Germany – Live Music Hall
April 25, 1996 – Neu-Isenburg, Germany – Hugenottenhalle
April 26, 1996 – Munich, Germany – Stehplatzkarte
April 28, 1996 – Prague, Czech Republic – Palast Kultur / Pateho Kretna
April 29, 1996 – Vienna, Austria – Bank Austria Halle (Messepalast / Museumsquartier)
April 30, 1996 – Budapest, Hungary – Petofi Csarnok
May 3, 1996 – Genova, Italy – Teatro Genovese
May 4, 1996 – Pistoia, Italy – Teatro Auditorium
May 5, 1996 – Milan, Italy – Teatro Nuovo
May 7, 1996 – Zurich, Switzerland – Volkshaus
May 8, 1996 – Geneva, Switzerland – Paladium
May 10, 1996 – Lyon, France – Le Transbordeur
May 11, 1996 – Marseille, France – Le Théâtre du Moulin
May 12, 1996 – Toulouse, France – Le Bikini
May 14, 1996 – Paris, France – Le Bataclan
May 15, 1996 – Strasbourg, France – La Laiterie
May 17, 1996 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Paradiso
May 18, 1996 – London, England – Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Summer tour 96 – U.S. tour dates
July 18, 1996 – San Diego, CA – Summer Pops Bowl
July 19, 1996 – Tonight show w/ Jay Leno [TV show]
July 19, 1996 – Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theater
July 21, 1996 – Santa Barbara, CA – County Bowl
July 23, 1996 – Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Hotel
July 25, 1996 – Santa Fe, NM – Paolo Soleri
July 27, 1996 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks
July 29, 1996 – Chicago, IL – Rosemont
July 30, 1996 – Detroit, MI – Meadowbrook
July 31, 1996 – Toronto, Canada – Massey Hall
August 02, 1996 – Montreal, Canada – St. Denis Theater (setlist)
August 04, 1996 – Boston, MA – Harborlights Pavilion
August 05, 1996 – New York, NY – Central Park Summerstage
August 06, 1996 – Vienna, VA – Wolftrap
August 10, 1996 – Birmingham, AL – Alabama Theater
August 11, 1996 – Atlanta, GA – Lakewood Amphitheater
August 13, 1996 – Miami, FL – Jackie Gleason (review)
August 16, 1996 – Houston, TX – Cullen Performance Hall, University of Houston
August 17, 1996 – Dallas, TX – Bronco Bowl
August 18, 1996 – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Live
August 21, 1996 – Portland, OR – Schnitzer Concert Hall
August 22, 1996 – Seattle, WA – Paramont Theater
August 24, 1996 – San Francisco, CA, Greek Theater

Australia tour dates
??, ??, 1996 – Melbourne, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – Canberra, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – Adelaide, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – Sydney, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – New Castle, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – Brisbane, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – Wellington, Australia
??, ??, 1996 – Auckland, New Zealand

South African tour dates
October ??, 1996 – Johannesburg, South Africa
October ??, 1996 – Durban, South Africa
October ??, 1996 – Cape Town, South Africa
October ??, 1996 – Pretoria, South Africa

December 05, 1996 – New York, NY – z100 Jingle Ball, Madison Square Garden (setlist + press review)
December 08, 1996 – New York, NY – Supper Club, 47th Street (setlist)

REVIEWS:

Spirited tunes enchant crowd [Concert review from the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI March 9, 1995]
By Eugene Bowen, Michigan Daily

Nobody in their right mind would attend a Tracy Chapman concert expecting to be greeted with outstanding vocals. Chapman is no Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston; her voice is very plain. Yet, what pushes her music beyond the work of mere mortals is the amazing spirit that propels her songs. More than 1,000 people got to embrace this spirit first-hand Monday night as Chapman graced Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater with her presence.

Entering the stage in total darkness and then being flooded by red and blue lights, Tracy and her band began with “New Beginning,” the title track of her fourth album (on the Elektra label). From there, she went into “Can I Hold You Tonight,” from her debut album, “Fast Car.”

On her albums Tracy Chapman sings songs with meaning. Topics reflect many of life’s greatest pains and hopes. She brings the feelings that surround these various life experiences to a head in her music, recreating emotions so real one can only shudder in amazement. At Monday night’s concert, Chapman gave the audience a good taste of her music’s variety.

Much of her performance centered about failed, painful relationships. She sang such great singles as “Things You Won’t Do for Love,” “Can I Hold You Tonight” and the ever-famous “Fast Car.” Each of these songs chronicles the hurt that can come from a relationship when one is so blinded by love for the other, he or she forgets about the importance of self-love.

Yet no relationship song can compare with the musicless “Behind the Wall.” “Last night I heard the screaming,/loud voices behind the wall./’Nother sleepless night for me./It won’t do no good to call./The police always come late,/If they come at all.” Tracy tells the story of a woman regularly beaten by her husband without recourse (“And when (the police) arrive,/they say they can’t interfere with domestic affairs/ between a man and his wife./And as they walked out the door the tears were left in her eyes.”). This song produces nightmarish visions of brutes attacking those whom they claim to love; simultaneously it reminds us that these are neither nightmares nor visions. These people, and their victims, are all too real.

Chapman sang about other things she has been affected by personally. Poverty was a primary issue she sang about when she performed “Mountain of Things.” She also performed “Freedom Now,” dedicated to the living legacy of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. She sings: “Throwed him in jail, and they kept him there/hoping his memory’d die,/that the people’d forget how he once lived to fight for justice in their lives.” Eventually she got to he rousing chorus everybody in the audience was waiting for. “Let us all be Free, Free, Free, Free!”

On a more personal note, Tracy sang “I’m Ready.” She explained the purpose of this song first. “This is a song I wrote about my grandfather. It’s about how, at the end of his life, he came to his peace because he confessed something that had been troubling him.” She never reveals that confession in her statement or song.

Chapman also sang about her hopes in “Heaven’s Here on Earth,” the first song on her “New Beginning” LP. “I wrote this song thinking that even if it isn’t heaven, if we started treating it like it was then it could better continue to sustain us,” Chapman explained beforehand.

Tracy Chapman ended her show with “Why,” a simple song with simple questions with not-so-simple meanings behind them. “Why do the babies starve when there’s enough food to feed the world?/Why when there are so many of us are there people still alone?/Why are the missiles called `peacekeepers’ when they’re aimed to kill?/Why is a woman still not safe when she’s in her home?/ … But somebody’s gonna have to answer./The time is coming soon./Amongst all these questions and contradictions are some who seek the truth.”

In the middle of her show, Chapman read statements that, before the show, the audience was invited to write upon 3×5 index cards. She read everything from a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote to a funny statement concerning weather. Other statements combined elements of humor, seriousness and idealism.

“It doesn’t take many words to speak the truth.”

“Isn’t it a shame we can make love for the first time only once?”

“One planet. One people. Please.”

Tracy Chapman is an outstandingly simplistic artist with a calling to preach a musical gospel. Her music is very down-to-earth in keeping with folk, bluegrass and African influences. Yet it also has a contemporary feel that anyone could get into. Chapman easily pleased the Michigan Theater crowd. She gave everyone there a reason to laugh, a reason to cry, but most of all, a reason to hope and dream. Many concerts present music. What makes this event so much different is that Tracy Chapman didn’t just offer great song. She gave her audience an experience they couldn’t forget if they tried.

Tracy Chapman — Henry Wadsworth Theater, Los Angeles, December 13, 1995
By: reviewed by Christopher Horvath, www.mucomo.com

There once was a young girl who played guitar on a street corner and in small bars in parts of the Boston Area. One day that girl met her guardian angel and he showed her a path to fame and artistic freedom. A few days later that girl had a huge hit record. Soon after she proved her talent by stealing the show from the world’s most powerful rock icons, in front of hundreds of thousands of people, with just her guitar at her side. Not long thereafter she released a second record and slowly began to fade out of sight. She released one other record during her time away. The other day she launched a comeback by releasing a new record and beginning to perform again. If this particular crowd was any indication, this young girl was sorely missed.

That ‘girl’ was Tracy Chapman, whose ‘Fast Car’ and ‘Revolution’ captured the attention of the world. This small person made a very loud noise with a breath of fresh air and powerful songs of conscience and life experience. On Wednesday night Chapman came out to the screams of the crowd and proceeded to charm, move, and groove this audience, which included of all things Bob Sagget of….well you know those goofy shows…and fans of all ages. Her set covered primarily new ground from her current release appropriately titled “A New Beginning”. These new songs are perhaps a little more sophisticated than before. Lyrically she still speaks of issues pertinent to her life that we can all relate to. “Tell It Like It Is” speaks of political suffering for speaking the truth, while “At This Point In My Life” is more of an introspective tune about the choices we all make in life. The tune “I’m Ready,” which she explained was about comments made by relative who was near death, shows why this woman is such a force. You have to be made of stone not to be moved by this song. Musically, Chapman covers broader ground this time – from the blues to world beats.

In the lobby before the show there were index cards that anyone could fill out with any forms of expression they chose. Tracy read these cards to the audience during a break. The messages ranged from the poignant to the ridiculous, but were a nice diversion. She went on to urge everyone to express themselves in some way, shape or form that suits them best.

It was exciting and riveting to hear and see Tracy Chapman again especially when she performed some of the classic songs from her rise to stardom. Backed by a group of studio ringers, the performance was virtually flawless, but somehow the combination fell flat at times. Unfortunately, it all seemed a little too calculated. The emotion and depth of the performance was lacking in spots.

I personally would have liked to see her comeback with a rag-tag combination of young upstart musicians that would be panting heavily awaiting every chance to tear into each and every song. It just felt to me like these guys were going through the motions too much. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it may be attributed to a short time together or the fact that Tracy was recovering from the flu. Maybe that energy translated over to everyone else. As the show went on she did seem to get stronger and so did the rest of the players. It is conceivable that they were feeding off of each other, but even at it’s peak moments there was still something lacking. It’s that unexplainable element of a show that makes an incredible performance unforgettable. That element is passion. Tracy Chapman showed that she still has plenty of it, but I’m not so sure about her band.

In any case the positive aspects of this show far outweighed the negative. This one is a don’t miss if it comes your way.

Welcome back Tracy….I hope you stick around a little longer this time.

 

A Gentle Start, A Spirited Finish

By SEAN PICCOLI, Sun Sentinel, August 15, 1996

Think of resurgent folk singer Tracy Chapman as a flower child trapped on an asphalt planet: She wants to save the world, one song, one concert at a time, but the world’s too mean a place. And she knows it.

Still, Chapman’s performance Tuesday night at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach was safe harbor for her fans, who came in for the songs, the shelter and the shared intimacy provided by Chapman’s romantic-yet-realistic folk-pop style.

Chapman, riding the crest of a new hit album, New Beginning, and hit single, Give Me One Reason, walked onstage shortly after 9 p.m., her face and corn-rowed hair silhouetted by a spiraling flower projected on the backdrop. She looked for a second as if she had stepped into a Lenny Kravitz video.

The singer-guitarist and her five-piece backing band eased into their set almost too understatedly, moving through early songs in the loose, searching manner of a musician picking his way through a half-remembered tune.

The Gleason’s less-than-crystalline sound system didn’t help matters, particularly in the case of a performer who relies so much on vocal nuance.

Onstage, Chapman looked as vulnerable as she sounds, but also enigmatic, a braided Sphinx with a Mona Lisa smile, singing with eyes closed, swaying gently at the microphone.

The fragility can be an asset, as it was when she stood alone, her fingers entwined in her lap, and sang a cappella. In such moments, Chapman achieved the touching intimacy her fans crave.

She saved her hits for last. Fast Car, the vehicle that carried her to stardom, opened with Chapman almost meditating the lyrics out loud, accompanied by some gorgeous fingerpicking on her acoustic guitar. But the song never quite rose out of the mid-tempo shuffle she set for it.

She observed her tradition of reading from index cards – “statements,” as she called them – submitted by the audience, whose sentiments ranged from strident to comical to bizarre.

The band seemed energized by the break. Chapman finished more strongly than she started, with an appealing rendition of her bluesy love song, Give Me One Reason, and two encores: a freewheeling cover of Proud Mary, which got people dancing in the aisles (a development viewed with grim concern by security guards); and her quiet anthem, Talking ‘Bout a Revolution, which rang with all the spirit the first half of her two-hour set lacked.

It was a perfect ending – folk’s new comeback kid executing another rebound right on stage, all in the course of one evening.

Opening band Charlie Hunter Quartet treated the crowd to a 50-minute set of slacker virtuosity: Partial to baggy shorts, jeans and T-shirts, Hunter and Co. are basically a garage rock band that happens to play jazz, with the nimble-handed Hunter tapping out bass lines and rhythm chords simultaneously on his eight-string guitar. The quartet proved strongest when building melodies, as opposed to trading solos. But this is a talented young crew who entertained the audience as much as they entertained themselves.

SOME SETLISTS:

December 16, 1995 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
01. Why?
02. For My Lover
03. Baby Can I Hold You
04. The Rape Of The World
05. Crossroads
06. Heaven’s Here On Earth
07. Behind The Wall
08. The Promise
09. All That You Have Is Your Soul
10. Fast Car
11. Mountains O’ Things
12. Smoke And Ashes
13. She’s Got Her Ticket
14. Tell It Like It Is
15. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution
16 Give Me One Reason

August 02, 1996 – Montreal, Canada – St. Denis Theater
01. New Beginning
02. Baby Can I Hold You
03. At This Point In My Life
04. For My Lover
05. Smoke And Ashes
06. Crossroads
07. Behind The Wall
08. The Promise
09. I’m Ready
10. All That You Have Is Your Soul
11. Mountains O’ Things
12. Fast Car
13. Dreaming On A World
14. Tell It Like It Is
15. Why?
16. Give Me One Reason
17. I Feel Good
18. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

December 08, 1996 – New York, NY – Supper Club, 47th Street
01. New Beginning
02. Baby Can I Hold You
03. Dreaming on a World
04. The Rape of the World
05. Open Arms
06. I’m Ready
07. Crossroads
08. Behind The Wall
09. I Used to be A Sailor
10. Build up to The Love That You Had
11. The Love That You Had
12. The Promise > Save A Place For Me
13. At This Point in my Life
14. Fast Car
15. Smoke And Ashes
16. Tell It Like It Is
17. Why?
18. Give Me One Reason
19. Take Me To The River
20. ??
21. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

December 05, 1996 – New York, NY – z100 Jingle Ball, Madison Square Garden
01. Fast Car
02. Smoke And Ashes
03. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution
04. Tell It Like It Is
05. Give Me One Reason
06 Take Me To The River

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