Remember when Alanis Morissette played God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma? While we’re not
deifying the Canadian-American singer-songwriter, her performance Friday night at ACL
Live for season 49 of Austin City Limits was the best church service I’ve been to in a
while. From the first note of her signature harmonica, the crowd became a congregation
– led by a nearly half–century voice that seems to have remained as strong as when we
first heard it in 1995.
She was dressed in a sequin white blazer, black satin pants, and kicks that helped her shimmy,
spin and glide across the stage – she also donned a sparkly black guitar for a riff-off
during “Head Over Feet.” I thought she was taller; then she started singing and became
larger than life. Starting with “All I Really Want” seemed to open the 30-plus-year
floodgates of memories. “And what I wouldn’t give…to find a soulmate,” I sang,
clutching my wife’s hand with an appreciation for the struggles that Jagged Little Pill
embodied for my teenage self.
Her lyrics were as precious and as biting as I remember. Her notes were on-point –
sustained but softened lest she blow the roof off the venue. If this is what she can do in
a room full of hundreds, I can’t imagine what the hundreds of thousands of festival-
goers should expect in the non-confines of Zilker Park.
The “ay-yai-yai-yai” opening of “Ironic” brought a majority of the faithful to their feet, with the angsty opening chords of “You Oughta Know” finishing the job. She closed with “Uninvited” (a personal favorite) and finally with “Thank U,” before sweetly thanking us for being with her for the evening.
Then – like her godly character – she happily skipped off stage to save the next set of souls.
Alanis plays the American Express stage, on both Saturdays of ACL Fest.
This article was contributed by Andres Cantu. “A.C.” is a San Antonio native, 20+ year Austinite who’s a little bit emo and a little bit stoic – lover of the F word, Y’all and ‘…’ Follow him on social at @iamAC3