- Chapman: Grown Up, Pared Down – By: Phyllis Croom, The Washington Post, Saturday, July 26, 2003; Page C05
In the 1980s, when popular music reflected the unconstrained self-indulgence that appeared to have displaced the social consciousness of previous eras, Tracy Chapman arrived on the scene with a lyrical conscience. On Thursday night, Chapman began her filled-to-capacity show at Wolf Trap with the same modest authority that marked her debut nearly 15 years ago. Only this time, she was returning, it seemed, as the musical prophet proved true.
Outfitted with her signature acoustic guitars and quavering vocal style, Chapman compellingly reintroduced many of the songs that have made her a folk-rock stalwart. On such songs as “Fast Car,” “Crossroads,” “Why?” and “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution,” she still manages without copious displays of vocal acrobatics to present bleak realities with a redemptive melodious tone.
Although still strumming fearlessly, Chapman seems to have found a measure of maturity that has embodied her music with a leaner quality. Newer and older songs were presented with potent, but subtler rhythms. Even a rousing extended rock/gospel-infused presentation of “Give Me One Reason” seemed mellower. Although most pronounced on more personal compositions like her “Baby Can I Hold You” or the traditional folk number “House of the Rising Sun,” the singer’s pared-down playing and accompaniment was most effective in one of the evening’s most tender moments, when Chapman brought the crowd to its feet with the soul-stirring ballad “Promise.”
Washington Post: An evocative singer and songwriter, Tracy Chapman hit it big with herself-titled debut album in 1988. “Fast Car” and “Talkin About a Revolution” were big hits. Since then her career seems to have had more downs than ups, at least as far as album sales are concerned. Thankfully, Chapman is a steady and reliable performer who seems less concerned with popularity than following her muse. She’s at Wolf Trap Thursday, July 24. www.about-tracy-chapman.net Washblade.com: THURSDAY JULY 24: If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a “fast car” or asked of someone, “give me one reason” to stick around, then you’re obviously a Tracy Chapman fan. In concert as often as Sade, you don’t want to miss the soulful singer that mellowed your mood or made you even more depressed on those lonely nights. The performance is at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $36 in-house, $22 on the lawn. Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1624 Trap Rd., Vienna Va. 703-255-1900.
- DIANAV62, 07/26/03: I also saw her last night at Wolf Trap (7/24). I can honestly say that it was the best concert experience of my life. Yes, the weather was great and our seats were fantastic (14 rows back, center stage and not that close to the screaming guy) but I would have enjoyed it sitting behind a pole in the rain. She rocked. Her back-up singer and band were extraordinary. Her voice is that of a musical angel. My friend and I were blown away. I am a fan for life. I would love for her to come out with a Live CD. So many of her songs were very different from the CD’s. What a great version of “Rising Sun” (…there is a house, in New Orleans, they call the rising sun…). Amazing. Diana. Vienna, Virginia
- DEEPNWORDS, 07/26/03: It’s wonderful when you find an artist that is genuinely sincere about their music and matures as a person. When I first saw and heard TC was when she performed Fast Car on some awards show– when she won the grammy or AMA or one of them. All I thought was what a unique voice. Her delivery and passion in her music is evident the moment she delivers the first note. At Wolftrap live she was beautiful, confident and relaxed. She was worth every penny -even with the annoying guy screaming in between each song… Her covers, esp., House of the Rising Sun, needs to be recorded for a live CD. It brought the house down.
The best part of the evening for me was to see TC rock. To get in the music so that when it soared she soared. The shy woman on the scene with Fast Car is gone. Now we have the confidant “Dimples” mesmerizing us with still more untapped talent. Which just leaves us wanting more and more…well, at least I do.
VENUE: Wolf Trap (Filene Center & The Barns), 1645 Trap Road Vienna, VA 22182 – USA (Capacity: 7 028)
OPENING ACT: Joseph Arthur