- Tracy Chapman to perform at Brown – By Katherine Boas, Herald Staff Writer , Brown Daily Herald ® on Wed, February 9, 2000
Four-time Grammy Award winner Tracy Chapman will perform at Brown April 7, according to Danah Beard ’00, producer of the Vagina Events, a six-week program aimed at preventing violence against women.
The concert will be co-sponsored by the Brown Concert Agency (BCA).
“The general goal of the events is to bring to light how women are treated in our culture,” Beard said.
“It makes a natural leap to Tracy.”
Beard added that Chapman’s concert “is just kind of a fun finale” to the six-week program.
“This is not just for a party,” she said. “This is for a cause she very much backs up.”
The Vagina Events — which begin with the return of the Vagina Monologues, opening Thursday at the Rites and Reason Theater — are sponsored by the Brown University Women’s Center (formerly the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center), the Brown Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance (LGBTA), and the Rites and Reason Theater.
Chapman’s latest album, “Telling Stories,” will be released Feb. 15.
- Tracy Chapman lights up Meehan – By Kuang Chiang, Contributing Writer , The Brown Daily Herald, April 10, 2000
The most intriguing part of Tracy Chapman’s concert Friday night in Meehan Auditorium was that only after she started telling stories did she really become the Tracy Chapman the crowd was waiting to see.
Prior to this pivotal moment in the latest stop on her aptly named “Telling Stories” tour, Chapman performed several of her most famous songs, including “The Promise” and “Smoke and Ashes.”
Yet there was something missing to the first segment of the show. The beauty of her lyricism and melody was there, but something was lacking.
What was lacking was the story – the reason and the substance behind her most recent album, after which the tour is named. Chapman paused mid-way through the program and told the audience, “I was trying to decide if I should tell you a story.”
After several moments of raucous pleading, and even a suggestion that Chapman retell a story that she had shared in Boston, she stated that she wanted “tonight to be fresh for everybody.” And as soon as she came up with a story to tell, the night did, indeed, become fresh for everybody.
Chapman entertained the capacity crowd at Meehan with a story from her undergraduate days at Tufts University, when she played the streets of Harvard Square to earn extra money. She said an Argentinean woman, who later turned out to be a fan of female black singers, invited Tracy to perform at her home in Buenos Aires.
“I was in college, so there’s my excuse,” Chapman said, adding that she was pleasantly surprised that the stranger’s invitation was legitimate. “I even got paid – she charged her friends,” Chapman remarked with a laugh, noting that “sometimes it’s OK to trust in the kindness of strangers.”
Chapman continued her set, which included an improvised beginning to “Fast Car,” the song most people credit for launching Chapman to stardom. The one-minute beginning was, by far, the most musically pleasing portion of her performance.
By playing a subtly structured prelude to “Fast Car,” Chapman choreographed an intricate melody that danced between major and minor, theme and variation. Everyone in the audience knew what was coming next – the song everyone loved – but exactly when and how she was going to start was a mystery.
Therein lay the freshness she was aiming to accomplish. The audience had the supreme privilege of witnessing Chapman as an artist during creation – they were privy to the process that produces the music. It was that sharing and telling of the story that made her performance as beautiful and as moving as it was.
After those intimate moments, Chapman’s concert was a true delight. She had made her connection with the audience, putting her at home on the stage, and sharing a musical conversation with the crowd.
The second half of the performance included “Telling Stories,” her most recent single, and “Gimme One Reason,” the grand finale. Chapman repeated the last words of the latter song – “and there ain’t no more to say” – as the audience went wild. And as she gently shook her head until she was finished, the product was truly magnificent for everybody.