Sara Bareilles Serenades Boston: The Blessed Unrest Headlining Tour

Becca Damante '17 | Sara Bareilles belts it out at the Orpheum Theatre on Oct. 6

Becca Damante ’17 | Sara Bareilles belts it out at the Orpheum Theatre on Oct. 6

Becca Damante ’17
Layout Staff

Sara Bareilles’ concert at the Orpheum Theatre this past Saturday was nothing short of magical. Having just wrapped up a co-headlining tour with OneRepublic, Bareilles was clearly ecstatic to begin the first night of this tour to promote her newest album, The Blessed Unrest. The evening was filled with breathtaking ballads, entertaining banter with the audience, raw and vulnerable performances and lots of swearing.

At the beginning of the concert, Bareilles walked out dressed in jeans and a T-shirt to introduce the opening act, Harper Blynn. A band of four from Brooklyn, Harper Blynn had a unique upbeat indie rock style, different from previous openers Sara has featured. They sang about ten songs, including their new single “Go” and “Bound to Break,” a favorite of Smith student Olivia Rossetti, who also attended the show.

After Harper Blynn had finished, Bareilles came back on the stage in an adorable black leather and white tulle dress that she deemed perfect for prom. When someone in the audience jokingly asked her to marry him, she teased, “I’m already wearing the dress for it!” Her set opened with the powerful “Chasing the Sun” from The Blessed Unrest , which was musically intense in the best way possible.

Earlier this year, Bareilles’ band of almost ten years had separated after Bareilles made the courageous decision to move from Los Angeles to Manhattan. Her new band had big shoes to fill as they made their Boston debut, but they definitely surpassed my expectations. The new band includes drummer Steve Goold, bassist Chris Morrissey, guitarist Rich Hinman, keys player Misty Boyce and cellists Cara Fox and Claire Nunn, who sang with Boyce behind Bareilles. Although the previous band members were missed, the introduction of strings players and female vocalists really made Bareilles’ music come to life.

Bareilles’ set featured a good number of ballads. Perhaps the most spectacular of them all was “Manhattan,” a song Bareilles wrote from the perspective of the lover she parted ways with after six years. The haunting melody and poignant lyrics, “You can have Manhattan, but I can’t have you,” made for a completely vulnerable performance. She also did a great rendition of “Come Round Soon,” which was completely reimagined from the original version; Bareilles played the electric guitar with so much raw emotion – it was absolutely spectacular. Equally amazing was her cover of Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank,” featuring two of the members of Harper Blynn. Their voices fit together in a unique way, and the arrangement of the song was magnificent.

Bareilles’ set also included a number of upbeat and mid-tempo songs, including the cheery “Little Black Dress” and the quirky “Cassiopeia,” which featured Bareilles clanging on the cymbals. But “Hercules” was definitely a favorite of mine. Bareilles explained, “Last year was a relatively difficult year for me personally … but I spent a lot of time sort of asking for strength and hoping that somehow I would be transformed into something bigger and stronger than what I felt like I was in that moment.” “Hercules” embodied just that, as Bareilles sung out, “I was meant to be a warrior. Make me a Hercules.”

The crowd jumped to its feet when Bareilles started “King of Anything” towards the end of her set, clapping and singing along with boundless energy, and remained standing through the anthemic “Brave,” which Bareilles explained was written for a friend who had been struggling to come out. For her encore, she began with “Once Upon Another Time” with a harmonium, an instrument that is similar to an organ, but sounds like an accordion. It was absolutely breathtaking. She finished the night with the catchy “Eden,” which is rumored to be her next single.

All in all, the night was definitely entertaining. Bareilles has a way not only with music, but also with the audience. She cracked jokes, sang “Happy Birthday” to a fan, slipped a few swear words and told several funny stories. I would highly recommend that you attend one of her concerts if you can – she rearranges her own songs every time I see her, which shows the true mark of a talented and gifted musician.

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