February 17, 2010
The Melting Point
Goodwill filled the room even before the music began. The standing-room only, sold out crowd was buzzing around The Melting Point with anticipation. I even overheard one guy saying how this show was “fate” and that God made it possible for him to attend on this Ash Wednesday. The rest of the crowd was no less passionate, excited and happy. The happiness wasn't confined to the audience. It was clear that all the performers felt at home and relaxed. It was so relaxed that an a capella opening number from Miss Carlile and her band broke down in laughter, with the audience laughing nearly as hard.
Throughout the night, beautiful harmonies and pristine arrangements were accompanied by a charisma that I didn't notice the last time I saw Brandi live. Whether she was covering Bob Dylan's “The Times They Are A-Changing” or playing her own songs, the energy was electric even when the performance was not. For the song “Dying Day”, the mics and amps were all put away in favor of a completely acoustic take. Not only that, but the truly unplugged performance was filmed as her next video, making the whole event even more special to the Athens fans.
Indigo Girl Amy Ray opened the show with her solo band, which is a more rockin' affair than Indigo shows. Amy and her crew evoked Neil Young's Crazy Horse sonically and spiritually. When Brandi Carlile joined them for the last two songs, there was an almost Fleetwood Mac vibe. The pairing of Amy and Brandi was ideal and so was this bill.
The Melting Point has really stepped up to the plate, offering a dining and listening experience that had been lacking in Athens. Tonight, everything came together perfectly.
Chris McKay / concertshots.com