The acclaimed singer-pianist celebrated the 20th anniversary of “Come Away With Me” at the Grand Rapids amphitheater on Sunday night. Review, photos + bonus coverage of Japanese Breakfast in Kalamazoo.
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As the sun set on a sold-out Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park crowd, Norah Jones’ intricate piano melodies were matched by twinkling fireflies and silhouetted clouds.
Her 21-song set — following soulful opener, singer-songwriter Emily King — included hits such as “Happy Pills,” “Don’t Know Why” and “Come Away with Me,” the title track from the album celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Backed simply by a bassist, drummer and guitarist, Jones kicked things off with “Just a Little Bit,” highlighted by her signature style of rhythmic and percussive piano playing as she sat behind a baby grand piano.
Evening highlights included “I’ll be Gone,” which was sonically painted by sweeping pedal steel and “Happy Pills.” “Sunrise” opened with a hushed yet crisp drum intro.
Rounding out the main set, “Begin Again,” unfolded as one of the most rocking songs of the night, enhanced by soaring guitar solos.
The high point for many of those in attendance came when the 43-year-old singer and her band performed a particularly groovy version of “Don’t Know Why.” So it baffled this reviewer to see some folks bee-lining it for the exit immediately after the song, thus missing a powerful encore featuring “Nightingale, “Black” and “Turn Me On.”
Jones gave a perplexed look from the piano as well, before addressing the rest of the still-attentive audience: “Thanks for staying y’all.”
Up Next at Meijer Gardens: Rick Springfield performing with the Grand Rapids Symphony at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Tickets, $77, available online here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Norah Jones and Emily King at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker
JAPANESE BREAKFAST AT BELL’S BEER GARDEN IN KALAMAZOO
There was yet another sold-out West Michigan show that wowed fans on Sunday.
People from all over the country rained down upon Bell’s Beer Garden in Kalamazoo — as did the weather — for a sold-out show headlined by Japanese Breakfast, with Las Vegas’ The Linda Lindas opening.
The concert went off without a hitch despite a sprinkle of rain that fell from the sky throughout most of the show that served as the final night for The Linda Lindas accompanying Japanese Breakfast on tour. To that end, they appeared on stage decked out in Japanese Breakfast tour merch (and fans would later see Japanese Breakfast following suit by wearing Linda Lindas T-shirts).
After the youthful Linda Lindas’ power pop-punk impressed attendees with a powerful 45-minute set, Japanese Breakfast (led by Michelle Zauner) rolled out a 90-minute show featuring a heavily back lit stage that draped the band and crowd in colorful light, with the haze from the rain adding to the mood.
Besides performing songs from across their own catalog — from “Paprika” to “Posing for Cars” — the crowd was treated to Japanese Breakfast’s interpretation of The Cranberries’ “Dreams.” – By Derek Ketchum
PHOTO GALLERY: Japanese Breakfast, The Linda Lindas at Bell’s Beer Garden
Photos by Derek Ketchum