Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne
One World Theatre
Austin, Texas

Located along the scenic Bee Caves Road, One World Theatre, outwardly, hardly looks like a typical concert venue. The Tuscan-style villa was nearly filled for the night's performing artist, the multi-platinum selling recording artist and seven-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne.

Osborne appeared on stage and opened with the somber "This is Where We Start," accompanied by pianist Keith Cotton. After her song, she thanked Austin for having her, and commented that although she typically performs with a full band, she'd only brought a pianist that night, a decision inspired by her recent experience with a radio fundraiser that requested only piano and voice samples. Osborne then swung into "St. Teresa" as she donned a guitar and played it both melodically and percussively. She introduced her next song as an unreleased track on a work-in-progress album tentatively titled Love and Hate, describing the following song, "Work on Me," as "seductive." The audience reacted very warmly, wildly applauding her performance; Osborne responded to the applause, saying, "So, Austin likes the sexy ones; note to self," and the crowd laughed.

She conversationally talked about her experience as the "chick singer with the Grateful Dead," and how she always prayed that they would put "Brokedown Palace" on the set list; they never did, but she now has the liberty to perform it on her own, which she did. Afterwards, she went straight into her upbeat song "Spider Web," which got the audience clapping and stomping along to the beat.

As Osborne took up her guitar again, she brought up her experiences back in New York, where she got her start singing in blues clubs. Since then, Osborne said, she had been trying to avoid covers in order to write more of her own songs, but now, she says, "I just don't care, I can sing whatever I feel like." She then covered a Van Morrison song called "Tupelo Honey."

Osborne shared a little about her trip to the Grammy's for her album Bring It On Home and went on to sing "I Want to be Loved" and "Champagne and Wine" from that album. The audience cheered for more blues and she sang Ike and Tina Turner's "Game of Love."

She told the story about how she got her start in New York blues clubs: her friend dared her to sing a certain song on stage. The pianist thought she was pretty good and invited her to their open mic night, which she attended; then she started visiting other clubs' open mic nights. She met many other artists and bands, and eventually she put together her own band, and the rest is history. And it all was, as she puts it, "at the fault of this song." That song, which she's never recorded, is Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child."

Thanking the crowd again, Osborne ended her set with "One of us" and "Only You Know and I Know."

A resounding standing ovation was seen and felt throughout the venue, as Osborne and Cotton both returned to the stage to play Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love," a song that Osborne described as a "prayer to send you all out into the night with."

by Olivia Lin