02. Baby Can I Hold You
04. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
05. Fast Car
06. Don’t Dwell
07. Another Sun
08. The Promise
09. Talk to You
10. Say Hallelujah
11. Telling Stories
13. Stand By Me
14. Talkin’ Bout a Revolution
15. Come As You Are
16. Give Me One Reason (Give Me One Reason Reprise)
Setlist submitted by: Michael K. Watts
Michael K. Watts, 10/22/05: It is so nice, as always, to have a new Tracy Chapman album, Where You Live, and to have her hit the road in support of it.Tonight’s show was the final stop of her three-week tour of the United States.
The Hammerstein Ballroom provided a semi-intimate setting of standing room only on the floor and seating on the balcony levels. The only problem with Hammerstein is that the bar areas in the back make for a noisy chatter area. The conversation is then amplified as it bounces off the low ceiling and can be heard throughout the venue.
Opening act Ben Taylor, son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, was not pleased with the noise and kindly asked people to keep their voices down on two occasions.
Otherwise, tonight’s crowd was enthusiastic and respectful, with no obnoxious outbursts.
Like her past tours, Tracy invited local charities to set up tables at her shows so that fans can support charitable efforts in their communities. She encouraged people to stop by the Habitat for Humanity table before they left.
Tracy entered in her usual unassuming way, like she was just one of the band. She wore a black, long-sleeved, button-down blouse and blue jeans. Unlike past tours where a 5-6-piece band backed her, this tour has her touring with only a drummer and a guitarist, similar to the simpler way that her latest album was recorded.
She was in good voice, as always, though she seems to put forth very little effort to achieve an amazing vocal performance. She sang with her eyes shut or partially shut mostly, as she often does.
She didn’t talk much this time around. In the past she’s been chatty between some songs, but she had very little to say this time around. (Remember the long story of her trip to a New York museum that went on and on?)
“Why?” was a more midtempo rendition than the upbeat original.
“Baby Can I Hold You” was also slower than the original.
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” her cover of Bob Dylan’s classic, was a duet with Ben Taylor on acoustic guitar and Tracy on strumstick.
“Fast Car” was better tonight than last night. The fuller sound system helped, and Tracy seemed to get into the ad libs at the end more so tonight. The audience started hand-clapping (to the beat, fortunately) toward the end, as well.
“Don’t Dwell” also translated better tonight with the sound system adding extra reverb to her voice and really making the haunting sound of her vocals come alive in the venue. Very nice.
“Another Sun” had a similar effect as “Don’t Dwell.”
She performed “The Promise” without the band and delivered an even more emotional performance than last night. Nice. One audience member was in tears.
“Say Hallelujah” was performed blues style–an excellent performance. The crowd loved it.
“Telling Stories” was received very well.
“America” started off with Tracy standing at the microphone with two big conga-style drums (but bigger) to her left and right. The song’s instant start found Tracy tapping the two drums with her left and right hands while she sang at the same time, her guitar hanging from her neck and shoulders. A light in front of her projected a huge shadow of this dexterous feat onto the backdrop behind the stage. It was the coolest moment of the show. Fortunately for her, she stopped tapping the drums and the light went out after the first few verses. (We all know Tracy doesn’t do well with lights!)
“Stand By Me” became a swaying sing-along for the audience.
Her cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” got great response from the crowd, who also sang along with her.
“Give Me One Reason” was performed in its original form, and then Tracy’s traditional reprise of the song followed. Unlike the hyper-bluesy reprises she has done in the past, this reprise was more of a honky-tonk rockin’ rendition with blues undertones.
Set List Analysis:
Tracy has never been one of those two-hour show performers, and as the years have gone by, the shorter her shows have become (or so it seems). When you combine that with her now seven-album repertoire, it makes hearing some of her past gems like winning Fantasy 5. You might hear your picks performed, but don’t count on it.
It’s interesting to note that she performed the same number of songs, 16, for both last night’s show and this one. But tonight, “For My Lover” was replaced with “Why?;” “Smoke and Ashes” was replaced with “Telling Stories;” “Before Easter” was replaced with “Talk to You;” and “Lovesong” was replaced with “Come As You Are.”
The first album still gets the highest share of Tracy’s set list this time around, since it was the one that established her as an artist and sold the most copies. But no “Mountains O’ Things” and no “For My Lover.”
The Crossroads album was ignored, as it often is… though, the title cut has been included on some recent shows. “All That You Have Is Your Soul” would have been nice to hear but no go. The Matters of the Heart album was also ignored, with songs like “Bang Bang Bang,” “I Used To Be a Sailor,” and others sorely missed.
New Beginning, the second best selling album of her repertoire, was featured in “The Promise” and the obligatory “Give Me One Reason.” Telling Stories showed up in its title cut, a song that has emerged as one of her modern-era anthems. “Nothing Yet” would have also been a nice addition.
Let it Rain saw nice set list inclusions of “Another Sun” and “Say Hallelujah.” It would have been wonderful to hear “You’re the One” and “I Am Yours.”
Where You Live surprisingly only got four slots in her set list: “Change,” “Talk to You,” “Don’t Dwell,” “America.” Normally, she has done 5 or more songs from the current album on tour. “3,000 Miles,” “Never Yours,” “Before Easter,” and “Be and Be Not Afraid” are songs which would have been wonderful to hear.
Performing covers has been a concert tradition of Tracy’s for many years. This time around she opted for a cover of Bob Dylan’s classic “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” and Nirvana’s gem “Come As You Are.”
As Tracy’s tour continues to Europe, it will be interesting to see how she varies her set list there. And, God willing, if she tours the United States next year, maybe we’ll get to hear some more of her cadre of material.
“If you knew that you would die today,
Saw the face of god and love,
Would you change?
Would you change?”
VENUE: Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 – USA (Capacity: 1 200)
OPENING ACT: Ben Taylor