01. In the Dark
02. Across the Lines
03. Say Hallelujah
04. Baby can I Hold You
06. Another Sun
07. Behind the Wall
08. The Promise / Save a Place for Me
09. Let it Rain
10. Fast Car
11. You’re the One
12. She’s got her Ticket
13. Telling Stories
14. Give me One Reason
15. The House of the Rising Sun
16. Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution
17. Get Up Stand Up
18. Proud Mary
Submitted by Julian M.
- Tracy Chapman, Brighton Centre, March 10 – By: Hannah Richards, Brighton & Hove, 11 March, 2003
The soulful voice of Tracy Chapman blasted out with the kind of pathos and politics Tony Blair would do well to listen to.
Since exploding on to the music scene with her multi-platinum debut album, Tracy Chapman, in 1988, the singer has won four Grammy Awards and captivated audiences all over the world – Brighton was no exception.
Wearing jeans, boots and a loose shirt, Chapman looked and sounded as relaxed as if she’d just wandered on to the stage to jam with a few friends.
The delighted capacity audience swayed, sang and clapped along to powerful, husky tracks from her new album Let It Rain, including the passionate Another Sun and upbeat love anthem You’re The One, during a two-hour set.
Old favourites that have become classics were seamlessly mixed in.
The audience cheered and whistled at the opening bars of Baby Can I Hold You – stunning as nature intended, without a member of Boyzone in sight.
The room hummed as hundreds of voices sang along to Fast Car, which made me – and many other members of the audience I’m sure – recall past loves with emotion.
The haunting final bars of Save A Place For Me were greeted by a moment’s stunned silence before the hall erupted with pleasure.
An incredible reggae version of She’s Got Her Ticket followed by Behind The Wall, sung a cappella and spot-lit, proved, for any doubters, the powerful range of Chapman’s talent.
Her social commentary lends a depth to her songs that could seem contrived in a lesser artist.
However, the new tracks are lighter than previous work, bringing a warm humour and sexiness to her repertoire.
The audience was on its feet and many were dancing at the front of the stage by the first of two phenomenal encores, the Bob Marley classic Get Up, Stand Up, sung, as Chapman said: “For all those who stand against war.”
Power, politics and passionate harmonies mixed with blues, soul and rock beats – absolutely outstanding.
- Tracy Chapman, Brighton Centre, Revolution of the heart – By: Fiona Sturges, The Independant, 14 March 2003
At one time, there seemed to be no getting away from Tracy Chapman – everyone had her self-titled first album, from schoolchildren and students to old folkies on the lookout for the next Bob Dylan. When she performed at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert at Wembley in 1988, her insistently trembling voice and talk of revolution moved the masses.
But the Cleveland-born singer-songwriter never matched the success of her debut and slowly faded from view, though she never really went away. Her 2001 retrospective compilation shifted more than 350,000 copies in the UK, and, while Ms Dynamite may now be the thinking person’s protest singer, Chapman can still pull a crowd.
At 38, she’s instantly recognisable with her shuffling gait and shy smile. The screams of, “Tracy, we love you,” seem slightly misplaced – she’s the sort of artist who should inspire quiet reverence rather than hysterical yelling – although they attest to her abiding appeal.
You sense, however, that Chapman would prefer it if we weren’t here. For the first half-hour she seems hunched and awkward, and between songs says nothing. When she finally plucks up the courage to speak, it’s about the weather. “We’ve been on tour for a month, but it didn’t rain until we got to Britain,” she mumbles. “Ah, but summer’s on its way,” replies one punter hopefully. There ends the idle chit-chat.
Chapman’s singing is something else, though. Hers is the kind of voice that can magnify any mood. One minute it’s rich and powerful, the next it’s so vulnerable that you want to drag her off stage and drip-feed her sweet tea. Going on the strength of the cheers that accompany the old songs, it’s clearly nostalgia that brings the people out. “Behind the Wall,” the a cappella song that describes a neighbour listening through the wall to the domestic violence next door, has lost none of its potency, while “Sorry” and “Fast Car” are similarly stirring. I guess it’s inevitable that the newer numbers, some of them out-and-out love songs, fall a little flat.
Chapman’s shift in focus is thrown into sharp relief as her gritty politicised tracks contrast with songs from her latest album, Let It Rain. “Across the Lines” (“Who would dare to go/ Under the bridge/ Over the tracks/ That separate whites from black”) is deeply moving, though the relentlessly upbeat “Say Hallelujah” (“Have mercy/ It’s a wonderful life/ Eternal rest for the weary/ Mourners party tonight”) fails to engage.
Still, our host looks as if she’s enjoying herself at last and even cracks a joke at the expense of the band. Tracy Chapman laughing? It’s a strange sight, but maybe one we’re going to have to get used to.
- TRACY’S TOO GOOD FOR THE WOOLLY HAT FANS – By: David Bennum, The Mail on Sunday, March 16, 2003
Tracy Chapman, The Brighton Centre. (Four stars out of five)
Think of Tracy Chapman and it’s hard to escape images of earnest collegiate types in wholemeal sandals and vaguely ethnic woolly hats. So it was with a sinking heart and heavy tread that I trudged down to Brighton seafront to view Ms Chapman in concert.
The most prominent lettering on my ticket read: ‘STRICTLY NO SMOKING (and no fun either).’ Or at least it did after I’d embellished it while waiting for the show to start amid the convocation of social workers, basket weavers and stress counsellors gathered in the stalls. On tonight’s evidence, when Chapman sings of ‘the line that separates whites from blacks’, that line might easily be drawn across the front of the stage.
So why did I come? Because I remember Chapman’s first, sublime hit, Fast Car, and it would be insolent to dismiss the woman who wrote it as no more than a worthy dullard. And also because her first full British tour, after six albums, is sold out across the board. Chapman still matters very much to a lot of people.
Her latest CD, Let It Rain, left me puzzled as to the reason. It’s pretty enough but, like most of her records, it meanders freely across the greyest of areas, the one between the subtle and the insipid.
Well, it turns out that I’m wrong as wrong can be, and perhaps even a bit wronger than that. Chapman, rapturously received from the off, delivers a performance of such fierce and focused intensity that it illuminates her oeuvre from within.
These must be the songs as they were meant to be heard. On Say Hallelujah and Another Sun, Chapman echoes both the sombre composure and the grainy contralto of Sixties gospel-folk great Odetta. Baby Can I Hold You, a near-flawless piece of pop craft, has restored to it all the bittersweetness leeched out by Boyzone.
On record, You’re The One has a certain fey jollity; here it’s beefier and more ambiguous. It could be an anthem for those (among them several of my own friends) who habitually choose their lovers from the growing ranks of the functionally insane.
Fast Car is Born To Run without the bombast, a quiet hymn to dreams of escape – and it evokes another Springsteen song, The River, in which those dreams are slowly ruined.
As the evening builds into a barnstorming rock-out, the similarities to Springsteen become ever more pronounced. At their best, both portray archetypal American lives from ground level, combining broad brushstrokes with telling detail. In this light, Talking About A Revolution sounds more callow than ever. Maybe on the campuses which provided Chapman’s first fan base, they talk about revolutions, but the folk who inhabit her most impressive work fight tyrannies far more mundane than governments.
As extended Stars In Their Eyes encore (tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be Bob Marley and Tina Turner) is sluggish and embarrassing, and reinforces my conviction that only people who play reggae all the time should be allowed to play reggae at all. But even that can’t take the shine off this extraordinary show.
Submitted by: Amoghavajra