A review of her Service Station show on April 17, 2008 in Spokane, Washington.
By Melody Alderman
Ani Difranco found herself waking up in a random parking lot in Eastern Washington this afternoon. According to her recollection of looking out the tour bus window, it felt quite surreal; like she could have been in a parallel universe. Being that this was my first Ani Difranco show since she gave birth to daughter Petah Lucia on January 20, 2007, I felt the same way.
I believe there is something in motherhood that brings about an inner calm. Within that, there is nothing to prove and no rush to be anything more than present. Ani's energy tonight demonstrated that there is truth in that perception. It's not that she's lost her edge. She still tackled issues she's passionate about, politically and socially, but there was something very warm about her. In the past, I've seen an occasional combativeness in her interaction with her audience but tonight, there was nothing but playful, enjoyable banter. She kept her cool among the regular shout outs and odd requests and even played along.
During a nearly two hour set list that Ani admitted to having re-written about six times, she delved into some of her best songs. From the brazen music industry exposing "Napoleon," to a tale of infidelity told in "Shameless," Ani offered her sarcastic fueled wisdom intertwined with a hopeful beauty that in the end, makes you believe that everything will be okay.
One of the highlights of the set arrived with her spoken word poetry. Her song lyrics already possess a very genuine realm of poetic influence. She is a natural at prose. Between her delivery and her respect for every word that is recited, listening to Ani voice her opinions about the war, the current government and her love for America (not necessarily intertwined with one another), was awe-inspiring. With such an intense and compelling stance, Ani managed to give praise to the country she is a part of, the one in which her "ancestor's gave their life so she could have a life," while still affirming the corruption of the current political system. A stance that was met with support and applause from the crowd.
In the end, I am inspired by the evolution of this quirky, gifted songwriter who continues to surprise, while remaining authentically true to herself.
sleepless and embarrassed
about the way that i feel
trying to make mole hills out of mountains
building base camp at the bottom
of a really big deal"
Song * Independence Day
Album * Little Plastic Castle
to seeing you again
you'll look like a photograph of yourself
taken from far far away
and i won't know what to do
and i won't know what to say"
Song * Untouchable Face
Album * Dilate
how to wage a cold war
with quiet charm
but i just want to walk
through my life unarmed"
Song * Angry Anymore
Album * Up Up Up Up Up Up