In concert on August 21: San Francisco @ The Fillmore

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Tracy Chapman at the Fillmore

  • A new, mature Tracy Chapman By Greg Archer, San Francisco Examiner, August 20, 2009

Looking forward: Four-time Grammy winner Tracy Chapman, on tour supporting her most recent album, “Our Bright Future,” plays at The Fillmore this weekend.

SAN FRANCISCO — Back in the 1990s, Tracy Chapman was part of the music motherlode.

Along with Tori Amos and Sarah MacLachlan, she helped give birth to an estrogen-laced singer-songwriter brigade that encouraged the masses to look within, embrace emotions, accept what was so and, at times, just look up and cry, “Now what?”

More than 20 years after her breakout hit “Fast Car,” the four-time Grammy winner, a longtime Bay Area devotee, may still be accepting what is so, the only difference now is that she seems to be doing it with more confidence.

Longevity will do that to you.

Bottom line: (Not that she needed a push but …) Chapman has come into her own — as an artist and a woman dedicated to learning more about herself.

“For me, it’s always been about the music first and foremost,” Chapman says about her career. “I started playing guitar when I was 8 and I love singing. It’s so much a part of the fabric of my life that I cannot imagine a time when I wouldn’t do it.”

Chapman has been back in the spotlight in the last year after the release of a new LP, “Our Bright Future,” last November. She and her band, San Francisco natives, hit the Fillmore on Friday and Saturday.

She says that the secret to her success has much to do with her loyal fans, many of whom supported her work even when some of her albums weren’t that commercially lucrative. Those would be the albums between 1988’s “Fast Car,” which sped up the charts, and 1995’s “New Beginnings,” which offered up the single “Give Me One Reason,” another Grammy-winning outing.

“Our Bright Future” is her first album in four years. On it, Chapman evokes a sense of grounded maturity.

“I get really excited about the creative process,” she says. “When I am writing songs, at times it feels as if you get to make something from nothing. I don’t have a schedule for topics I can write about. I write and then I find moments to play what I am inspired by.

“I am not always sure where the song comes from,” she adds. “For me, it’s always a bit of a mysterious process.”

One thing that remains clear is Chapman continues to evolve, both professionally and personally.

“There’s so much to learn in life,” she says. “I feel I’ve learned a lot of things but I am always excited about finding out new things about myself. That, for me, is the best.”

Tracy Chapman
* Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
* When: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
* Tickets: $50
* Contact: (415) 346-6000;


Venue: The Fillmore
Opening Act: Gaby Moreno

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Comments 4
  1. Tracy was AMAZING!!! (as always…) :)
    Here are the songs that she played (completely out of order and I might be missing one or two…)

    Baby can I hold you
    Mountain o’ things
    I did it all
    You’re the one
    Save us all
    Something to see
    Our Bright Future
    Sing for you
    Say Hallelujah
    Give me one reason (with additional rock version)
    Smoke and Ashes
    Proud Mary (cover song – Tina Turner)
    Fast car
    The Promise
    Talking ’bout a revolution
    Change (audience’s decision)

  2. I attended the show last night. It was spectacular. Tracy blew me away. I hadn’t seen her since 99 at Bumbershoot in Seattle. I was really glad that she spoke quite a bit, something she didn’t do in 99. I can’t remember the set list, but I do remember the encore had a rousing Proud Mary and that she ended with an audience selection of Change. She appeared quite happy to be back home. I’m sure tonight’s show will be emotional.

  3. Hey, sorry D…… Proud Mary is NOT by Tina Turner…….she covered it…..

  4. I wish I could relive the moment when Tracy sang the opening song “Halleujah.” I have always loved her music, but never experienced anything see her live!! She has grown into herself and it is exciting to such an incredible talent sing and speak to very meaningful things that deeply affect my life. I would see her anytime, anyplace to recapture those exhilarating moments. She is my new favorite artist.

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