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Alanis Morissette - Manchester Arena, Manchester, 20/6/2022

  by Shirley Procter

published: 31 / 7 / 2022

Alanis Morissette - Manchester Arena, Manchester, 20/6/2022


Gen X icon Alanis Morrissette visits Manchester to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of classic album ‘Jagged Little Pill’. Shirley Procter reviews

The arena lights go out and the crowd roars; a video starts playing on three large screens. It starts with pictures of Alanis Morrisette at various awards ceremonies, and then moves to others singing ‘Ironic’. The video ends, the stage lights up and Alanis bursts onto the stage, in a ball of energy. ‘All I Really Want’ lands first with everyone singing along. The song finishes and she says to us “Thank you so much, it’s so great to be here with you!” The twenty-fifth anniversary tour of classic album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ finally gets underway following a series of Covid related delays. It’s hard to believe the album is now 27 years old; the songs are as fresh as they were in 1995, and Alanis is just as spectacular, easily reaching the high notes. There’s videos playing on the background screens of marching bands as she starts to sing ‘Hand In My Pocket’, the crowd taking turns with her to sing along to the whole thing! The song ends, and she introduces the drummer. The lights fade to red as the intro to ‘Right Through You’ starts, prompting another mass singalong. The visuals switch to middle aged men leching at a woman and drinking, concluding with the woman, a female boxer punching them. “You Learn” is next, bathed under a mixture of yellow and orange light which slowly sweeps across the stage and audience, as the crowd roar their approval. ‘Everything’ up next is a slower number, Alanis appearing in the spotlight with others beaming into the crowd, as the screen broadcast a dancer inside a church building, backed with religious iconography. Album deep cut ‘Mary Jane’ follows, accompanied by a video of someone diving into the sea, interspersed with pictures of Alanis. By now the first few rows have crowded to the front of the stage, and the entire arena is standing. ‘Diagnosis’ from the singer’s most recent LP ‘Such Pretty Forks in the Road’ comes next, followed by an introduction to guitarist Jason Orme. Switching to guitar and harmonica, Alanis introduces long standing guitarist Julian Coryell prior to ‘Head Over Feet’. Bathed under pink and purple light ‘So Unsexy’ is backed by images of Alanis and her family growing up. Another track from the new album ‘Nemesis’ swiftly segues into ‘Jagged Little Pill’ ballad ‘Perfect’. The lyrics make me feel so sad for the children in this song. Both my children know all they have to do to make me proud is to breathe in and out; that’s all I can ask of them; and I’m very proud of them. Moving into alt. rock territory ‘Wake Up’ sees the singer playing electric guitar in tandem with the lead guitarist, almost having an axe battle! ‘Not The Doctor’ follows, the expressive lyrics superbly crafted with not a single unnecessary word. As the opening bars of ‘Ironic’ start Alanis holds her microphone to the crowd who sing loudly. When she reaches the re-written lyric, “It’s meeting the man of my dreams / Then meeting his beautiful husband” the couplet is greeted with a cheer. Drummer for the ‘Jagged Little Pill’ tour, the track is dedicated to the memory of late sticksman Taylor Hawkins who joined Foo Fighters following the tour’s conclusion as the screens broadcast multiple images of the era. “Smiling”, a slower, gentle track follows, which in complete contrast is followed by ‘You Oughta Know’ a song which is absolutely anything but, featuring one of my favourite lyrics “Did you forget about me / Mr. Duplicity?” What a name to call a cheater! Almost the entire arena are on their feet for the song as Alanis leaves the stage and the crowd go wild, cheering, clapping, demanding more. The lights stay on and the band reappear, Alanis runs back onstage, saying “Thank you so much, thank you for coming back”, telling us how wonderful the tour has been. ‘Your House (Forgive Me Love)’ is sung acapella with the stage covered in rainbow lighting. Fan favourite “Uninvited” concludes with Alanis saying “Thank you so much, everybody, we love you. This is for you”, as ‘Thank U’ backed with a video playing thank you messages becomes the last song of the night. Her voice is as good as the last time I saw her playing at The Ritz in Manchester, to a significantly smaller audience! Post-Covid, post missing Glastonbury, this was a surprise gig for me – and it was great!

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Alanis Morissette - Manchester Arena, Manchester, 20/6/2022

Alanis Morissette - Manchester Arena, Manchester, 20/6/2022

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Alanis Morissette and 'Jagged Little Pill' (2009)
Alanis Morissette - Alanis Morissette and 'Jagged Little Pill'
In our regular 'Soundtrack of Our Lives' column, in which our writers describe about the personal impact of music in their lives, Sarah Johnson writes about discovering Alanis Morissette as a 12 year old shortly after its release in 1995 and its continued effect on her

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