Melissa Etheridge – den Atelier, Luxembourg; February 25th, 2019
Yesterday, as I stood and waited outside the venue in Luxembourg, I tried to to remember when I’d seen Melissa Etheridge for the last time and I could not figure it out. I know I had tickets in 2012 or 2013, but chose to see Martin & James instead, but the last time before that? 2007 or 2008? I was on the ‘Skin’ tour, I know, and then, maybe the ‘Lucky’ tour. Back home now I checked – it was 2004 so I had not seen her in 15 years. Wow. Either way, I was much looking forward to the gig and having a 25th anniversary of ‘Yes I am’ tour was fine with me. What can I say? It was a great show – very relaxed, highly energetic and pure fun! I’m really glad I went. An evening of memories, stories and classic songs. 😀
In the morning, when I woke up in Berlin around 5:30 and decided it wasn’t worth trying to go back to sleep, I didn’t feel like it though. The thought of spending eight hours on trains and another very short night ahead made me doubt my decisions. Did I really have to go all the way to Luxembourg to see her? Wasn’t there an easier way? She does play in Düsseldorf, but my friend B. was going to Luxembourg and invited me to her place. Also, this was a standing only venue, while Düsseldorf was all seated and the seats at the front already gone. So here I was, taking a trip across the country. It went surprisingly well though. I slept on the first train, then made all my connections and even had functioning electrical outlets for the final hour of the journey. Upon arrival in Luxembourg the first obstacle: There were no lockers at the train station and their luggage storage closed at 9:30 – are you kidding me? Tried three hotels and all told me the same thing: We can only store your luggage if you have a room here – bummer. My friend B. was on her way by car, but she had to work, so she’d arrive just before the door opened. Finally I gave up and went to the venue. Asked the staff there and they did not even raise a brow, just said “Sure, you can store your luggage at the wardrobe when we open.” That was unexpected!
Thus, I settled down and waited, watched people and looked forward to the show. B finally arrived around 6:30. So far, so good. Doors opened pretty much on time, B. went in and I handed my suitcase and bags over to the wardrobe ladies. They were great and did not even make me pay for each bag. 🙂 Walking in I realized B: had scored a spot in front row for us. Yay! Got us drinks, bought a T-shirt, talked and enjoyed being there. I liked the venue already, too bad Luxembourg is so far from home.
We did not know if there was a support act, but there was. Her name was Lucy Spraggan and she was pretty damn awesome. I really enjoyed her songs and during “Tea and Toast”, a story about an old couple, I even shed a few tears. I thought about buying her CD after the show, but never got around to it- will have to find that online. She had good songs and a good sense of humor, for instance when she presented a bluesy song that she’d written, because someone yelled at her for not playing Blues at a Blues bar. 😀 Her stories were cool and I enjoyed her music. She even got a little sing-along going. It was a good start.
The stage was ready for Melissa within 10 or 15 minutes, but she made us wait until 21:00 before coming out. Most of the front row were regulars, who had seen many shows already, so they knew the drill. As one man and a woman (managers?) walked across stage they started cheering, knowing this meant the start of the show. We heard Melissa’s guitar before she entered the stage and she stepped out there playing it. First song was ‘All American Girl’ which I remembered partly, but I immediately realized that I don’t know her CDs well enough to even know which song is on which album, even though I own them all. It was a great and rocking start though and I was already smiling.
Then Melissa started talking, telling us we’d have fun and that she’d never played there before. “We are here to discuss love and music” she said, but we needed the backstory before celebrating the album, because back then she was “in love with love” and launched right into ‘Let me go’ – funnily enough I had that one filed under ‘I don’t wanna be’. 😀 Apparently the 80ies were wild times full of relationship drama and the more of it the better. Weren’t we all out for more drama in our 20ies? Sometimes I know I still am. 😉 I Enjoyed hearing her tell those stories, because they all seemed to come with a wink and connected the songs nicely. ‘I want to come over’ started with the realization that “I had become a stalker”. Already I was singing along and swaying with the music. 🙂
Not only did Melissa rock the house, her band was great too, playing flawlessly. I remembered more of the lyrics than I thought I would and I could feel the songs too. Generally I think I can relate better to some of the later albums, but these older songs are amazing too and deserve the celebration. They were performed with passion and honesty that made them feel real. Her life may have changed a lot since she wrote them, but I am sure she can still access those feelings she had when she did. It certainly sounded like it. ‘If I wanted to’ brought the first sing along of the night and I happily watched the fans singing every word and having a party.
We all had fun that night and there was a great energy in the room. Before ‘Silent Legacy’ she told us how she came out 25 years ago, same time as the album and noted how there were gay people and not gay people at the show and diversity was as it should be. She mentioned how many people had thanked her for the song and how much that meant to her. I’d totally forgotten about it, but it is beautiful and was played beautifully too. Somewhere along the way, Melissa started talking to the fans at the front and mentioned how one had their 100th show the next day, one had seen her 300 time and then saw a sign about ‘Indiana’. She joked that if she was from Indiana this would be the only safe place to see her “because we’ve lost our minds in America”.. She was asking for the song though and did not get her wish (“No, I’m not gonna do that to my band”).
Instead, “we have to do this song” lead to a version of ‘You can sleep while I drive’ that moved me to tears. It has always had special powers over me. “You know I’ve seen it before, this mist that covers your eyes. You’ve been looking for something that’s not in your life…” I never said those words out loud, but I’ve thought them many times. :’) It is such an amazing and often misunderstood song. I felt it that night, it brought back many memories. Sometimes leaving is the better option, sometimes staying is…
‘Resist’ and ‘Ruins’ were two songs I did not remember at all, but that didn’t matter in the least. ‘Talking to my Angel’ brought more tears, even before it started, because she mentioned how she’d written it to her father after he died of cancer. Judging by her description he must have been a very lovable man. We also learned that she’d been cancer free for 15 years now. 🙂 The song is great, and included some beautiful pedal steel guitar. I need to listen to that more often. <3
Afterwards ‘Come to my Window’ rocked the house, then we got one last song from “Yes I am” with ‘I’m the only one’, including a great harp part and Melissa brought the set to a close and the house down with ‘Bring me some Water’. She introduced her band before they said goodbye and of course they came back when we asked them to. 🙂 ‘like the Way I do’ is probably the one song she can never leave off of the setlist. It rocked hard, had everyone singing and dancing along, plus we were treated to Melissa playing the drums – there could not have been a more perfect ending to the show!
Before the encore a nice security guy had given us bottled water so I could quench my thirst. After getting my things I was hungry though and luckily they sold fries outside. We had some and then headed back to B.’s place, with me falling asleep while she drove. 🙂
All American Girl
Let me go / I want to come over
Don’t you need
If I wanted to
Yes I am
Chrome Plated Heart
You can Sleep while I drive
Talking to my Angel
Come to my Window
I’m the only one
Bring me some Water
Like the Way I do