Last Monday night, I was nursing a broken heart, so I headed to The Greek Theater with my best friend, Kerry, to see my favorite pop pianist, Sara Bareilles. Last summer I saw Bareilles co-headline The Greek, and the soulful singer returned to Los Angeles this week to headline her own Little Black Dress Tour. I knew I was in store for a night of upbeat, sassy send-off songs and painfully emotional ballads with playful commentary in between, and the songstress reassured me that I’m not alone in my heartbreak.
Bareilles opened with the tour’s anthem, “Little Black Dress,” the perfect uplifting break-up song. Her beautifully powerful voice filled The Greek, and she took vocal liberties on some of her biggest hits. “King of Anything” featured impressive vocals runs, and during the audience sing-along of the chorus of “Love Song,” she told the crowd, “Give me that attitude! Fuck him!”
Even with a large backing band featuring a cellist, violinist, guitarist, and keyboardist, Bareilles took center stage with her crystal clear voice and foul mouth. She had me crying during the emotional “Manhattan,” then laughing at her sarcastic wit and acid tongue, then back to weeping as soon as she began “Gravity.” She then began a soaring acoustic cover of Sia’s “Chandelier” with some of the most impressive belting I’ve ever heard and lyrics that hit me hard (“I’m just holding on for tonight”).
A former LA native, Bareilles exuded gratitude, explaining, “It’s been years since I began my career here at UCLA, and I never thought it would look like this.” She also paid tribute to Robin Williams, who had passed away that morning, explaining that when she wrote The Blessed Unrest, she was struggling through her own hardships. She reassured the audience that despite how heavy your burdens can feel, things eventually get better. I rested my head on Kerry’s shoulder as Bareilles began “Hercules,” a song begging for strength, in Williams’ honor.
The highlight of the night for me occurred when Bareilles explained she had written the music for a Broadway adaptation of the film Waitress. She debuted the tender song “She Used To Be Mine,” and I was crying from the get-go. It was as beautiful and poignant as any Broadway ballad I’d heard and garnered a standing ovation from the entire Greek Theater.
I’ve been playing Bareilles’ rousing break-up song “Gonna Get Over You” nonstop this week, and her improvised vocal run of “motherfucking douchebag” during that track was a welcomed addition. After more upbeat tracks, including “Chasing The Sun” and “I Choose You” (one of the couples featured in the proposal music video for the track was in the house, so I was naturally a blubbering mess), the opening chords of her current hit “Brave” rang out, and the audience jumped to their feet to dance. During the breakdown, I loudly sang along with thousands of Bareilles’ fans who maybe were fighting their own battles as well.
An a cappella trio of Bareilles and her two backup singers opened the encore, transitioning into “Bright Lights and Cityscapes” and the equally mellow “Satellite Call.” As she sang out to the thousands in The Greek, “Tonight, you’re not alone at all,” I felt every word.
While I may be on the mend for a bit, Sara Bareilles’ powerfully emotional and uplifting performance reminded me that I’m not alone, and if the talented Bareilles can craft heart-touching, catchy songs during her own heartbreak, I can get through this, too (with the help of her music, of course). Now, off to get some Ben & Jerry’s with The Blessed Unrest on repeat.
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