Before her Sydney show on January 24th, I had no idea that Alanis Morissette was a queer icon, genuinely no clue! I knew she kissed a girl in *that* episode of Sex & The City, but that’s about it. On arriving to ICC in Darling Harbour, I took in the enormous crowd and couldn’t help but notice, queer men and women everywhere! It was easily one of the most diverse concert audiences I’ve experienced to date. After the show, I checked into the whole thing and feel a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know how beloved Lord Alanis is to our queer community! She has officiated gay weddings, experimented with her own sexuality, been nominated for gay icon awards, had same sex themes in her music videos, her best mate is gay…it goes on and on. ANYWAY!
Having not been to ICC in a few years, I had no idea the entry procedures had tightened up has much as they have, and in the hour+ it took to get into the venue, I missed support artist Angie McMahon, fucking devastated. Angie is an amazing artist who is undoubtedly going to have a huge year – please get familiar!
Alanis was magic. In typical “An evening with…” fashion, Alanis played a stripped back ‘best of’ acoustic set. Most of the set were the big tracks from Jagged Little Pill (playing everything from the 1995 record, aside from Not The Doctor and Forgiven), and at certain points through the night it became obvious that this record is the one people were there to hear. When Alanis did break away from JLP tracks, people noticeably took these moments to head to the bar during Guardian (Havoc and Bright Lights, 2012) and Precious Illusions (Under Rig Swept, 2002). There was one noticeable exception to the rule, Uninvited, written (in 15 minutes apparently) for the soundtrack to the 1998 film City of Angels, AKA my favourite Alanis Morissette song – I think it must be a fave of many as people stayed put. It was an obvious crowd favourite, evidenced not by excited screams and cheers, but by the absolute collective attentive stillness of the 7000+ people in the room.
There were moments through the night where Alanis seemed to show an awareness of her place as a queer icon, with several conversational and lyrical references made to queer relationships and love. My partner swears at one point Alanis held up two peace signs and then made them, uh…scissor. I didn’t see it, but she swears it happened!
The night ended in a trend that I personally am loving. It’s the thing artists are doing where instead of leaving the stage and then returning for an encore, they’re acknowledging that whole thing as a bit of a wank, and just playing the final song and finishing the show. Excellent. Ending the set with Thank U (Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, 1998), the song at that point encapsulating the main theme of the evening; Alanis’ grattitude and love for her fans.
Awesome evening and so lovely to have an artist who, just through being herself, has created a diverse and completely inclusive community of fans.
Photo By Don Arnold.