- Grinning all the way to the encore – By Ed Power, Independent.ie, December 11 2008
Tracy Chapman The Olympia, Dublin
[singlepic=1075,294,220] Tracy Chapman is full of surprises tonight.
For one thing, she hardly stops smiling, even while performing songs which, on paper at least, read like a miserablist’s manifesto. She’s also chatty and relaxed — sipping tea and spinning anecdotes with lightly worn charm. You start to wonder if a look-alike hasn’t locked the real Chapman in a closet and slipped on stage instead.
Chapman is playing her first solo acoustic tour in over a decade.
She starts with a recent track, a religious-tinged shout of acclamation, ‘Say Hallelujah’. She soon slips into greatest hits mode, explaining that ‘Across The Lines’, from her 1988 debut, was inspired by the racially divided Cleveland of her youth and bashing out an effervescent ‘Subcity’ on electric guitar.
Some drunken party-crashers shouted for ‘Fast Car’, which propelled Chapman from the folk clubs of Boston to the international stage. She delivers with a tender intensity that makes the song feel fresh despite its over familiarity.
She pays homage to the R ‘n’ B of her youth on a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Proud Mary’ before re-imagining ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ as a paean to New Orleans and an admonish-ment of the establishment that left the city to drown.
For the encore, she leads the audience through the girl-power singalong of ‘She’s Got Her Ticket’.
By the close, the room is on its feet and Chapman is grinning; her reputation as acoustic pop’s foremost misery guts demolished.