By now it’s clear that the musicians I love most in the world are the awesome badass chicks that played Lilith Fair in the 90s. In the past year alone I have seen Sarah McLachlan and the Dixie Chicks in concert and both experiences were absolutely epic. So when a couple of months ago I saw that Paula Cole would be performing her album This Fire in its entirety at the City Winery in New York City I bought my ticket immediately and without a second thought!
I’ve been quite busy lately, so although the concert was on October 9th (a month ago), I am only writing about it now. But the concert was freaking amazing. I was in heaven and it was all I could have hoped for and more. For those who only know Cole’s music because of a theme song for a WB television show called Dawson’s Creek are truly missing out on an amazing performer, songwriter, singer, and artist. Paula Cole rocks so hard and so well, she will knock your socks off!
I got to City Winery and was surprised that the seat I booked was actually at a table (six feet from the stage!!!) and that I would be experiencing the magic of her voice while sitting next to five other strangers while having wine and dinner. But no matter, I was here for a reason and one reason alone: to hear Cole do her thing! (Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this was a dream of mine that took 20 years to realize, which is how long has passed since This Fire came out in 1996.)
Although I am such a fan of her music and singing, I clearly haven’t kept up with what she looks like now, so I was surprised to see her long black hair now cut to shoulder length and totally grey (even though she is still in her 40s). She is still quite shy and gets emotional when speaking to the audience, but you can just see how appreciative she is of her fans and the people who have loved her for more than two decades. Whenever we cheered she was visibly taken aback and constantly thanked us audience members for our passion. But whatever shyness affects her when speaking turns into strength, vulnerability, ardor, and grit when performing.
After a few covers, including a Bob Dylan cover, Cole launched into the album that made her a star. She sang the songs in album order and switched up between being behind the piano, or front and center on stage. A couple of performers joined her (including a music student taking over for Peter Gabriel’s part on the duet “Hush, Hush, Hush”), but mostly it was just Cole, her guitarist and drummer.
She completely went wild on some of her biggest hits, she went sultry and sexy on some songs, and even invited audience participation on some of her biggest hits. She closed the show with a wild performance of a Dolly Parton classic and gave me the show I wanted and never thought I’d get. It was an amazing experience and a dream come true. I am so glad I got to see her live. She was truly amazing. What a show!
1. Chickadees (And Sipping Tea)
2. New York City
3. Rhythm of Life
4. Ballad of Hollis Brown (Bob Dylan cover)
7. Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?
8. Throwing Stones
11. Nietzsche’s Eyes
12. Road to Dead
14. Feelin’ Love
15. Hush, Hush, Hush
16. I Don’t Want to Wait
17. Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)