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In concert: Sara Bareilles at 9:30 Club

sara bareillesSara Bareilles comes alive more in concert than on album. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Mark Jenkins

Give Sara Bareilles credit for not being Celine Dion. The California singer-songwriter has the octave-vaulting voice for it, and she opened her Monday night 9:30 Club show with a tune called "Vegas." She's not headed there directly, though. For now, Bareilles is too rowdy for the cabaret-pop that's her logical fallback position.

That's more apparent from the musician's live persona than her recordings, which often blandly rework motifs established by such pop-folk singer-songwriters as Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell. Bareilles proved to be more physical than such wispy ballads as "Kaleidoscope Heart" -- she banged out her first five numbers while standing -- and feistier than "Love Song," the breakout hit that jauntily scolds the record company execs who told her to write one. Her onstage patter relied heavily on a certain expletive, and she undercut "Basket Case," the evening's most doleful offering, by dedicating it to "everyone out there who's sad. Or drunk or on their period."

sara bareilles

Backed by a four-piece band, and joined onstage periodically by opening acts Holly Conlan and Greg Laswell, Bareilles revealed influences that ranged from 1970s Top 40 to contemporary art-rock. The doo-woppy "Gonna Get Over You" might have been Elton John and the taunting "King of Everything" suggested 10cc, while the 90-minute set's only cover was a stark version of Radiohead's "Nice Dream." The capacity crowd cheered even such unexpected moves, and the singer responded enthusiastically to the applause. "Kaleidoscope Heart" may be about being "broken," but in front of an adoring audience Bareilles put herself back together neatly.

sara bareilles

sara bareilles

sara bareilles

By Click Track  | October 19, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Sara Bareilles  
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Next: In concert: Duck Down anniversary show at Liv

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