O2 ACADEMY SHEPHERDS BUSH
17TH FEBRUARY 2012
American Rock star Melissa Etheridge has sold over 27 million albums, won two Grammy's, an Oscar, had 10 albums, raised 4 kids and survived cancer. The last time this inspirational rock chick played the UK was in 2010 after the release of her 10 studio album Fearless Love. The enthusiastic and very excited audience,(some coming from the USA, Europe and South Africa,) were desperate for Melissa to take to the stage, chanting her name in anticipation. Once Etheridge and her fantastic band took to the stage of the Shepherds Bush Empire they did not disappoint and kicked off the evening with a fiery performance of the title song from that album.
Despite her huge success in America she has yet to have a hit single in the UK, but still retains a fairly large following here. Melissa talked openly about that fact and the irony that when she was struggling to be signed to a label back in the 80's, it took an Englishman by the name of Chris Blackwell from Island Records to sign her and another Englishman producer Hugh Padgham, to give her the big breakthrough in the US, she used this introduction to lead into the brilliant song about love, lust and obsession 'Come to My Window'.
During the evening Etheridge played some songs from the recent album along with some old favourites including the anthemic 'I Want to Come Over' and I loved the unexpected segue into Peggy Lee's 'Fever' during 'Nervous'. Although I was still a little disappointed that the the last two times I've seen her, she has yet to play one of my favourites, 'Angels Will Fall'. But to those who are new to Etheridge's music any of the above songs would serve as a good starting point.
She finished off the evening with an extended version of 'Bring me some water' another classic Etheridge song, which included duelling guitars and guitar sex...(think Barberella meets the Lawnmower man) it works well as a crowd pleaser and fits into the song well. As is fairly customary her show ends with an encore of the equally lengthened 'Like the Way I Do' which she sings with such fire and passion you cant help think there is some autobiographical element to the song. This aggressive, angst ridden, string breaking rock song is a fan favourite and leaves the audience screaming for more.
Melissa Etheridge is a rare breed of female guitar toting,singer songwriters who can stand their own ground alongside the men in the rock world. Her gravely voice is instantly recognisable as are her honest and brave lyrics and catchy melodies. She has the ability to play to the gallery and get the audience worked up while at the same time making you feel like you are the only person in room and she is singing just for you. I thoroughly recommend any music fan who hasn't discovered her to check out her music.