special acoustic performance
city: madison, WI
venue: barrymore theatre
array of singer-songwriters, Beth Orton has placed herself prominently
near the top. After several spectacular albums, including Central
Reservation and this year's Daybreaker, the British
32-year-old has quickly become recognized for her superb songwriting
and singing talent, garnering guest spots from artists including
Ryan Adams and the legendary Emmylou Harris.
For the latter
part of 2002, Orton embarked on a special North American tour
consisting of a handful of acoustic shows. Featuring Orton on
guitars and vocals, cello by Ollie Krause, Ali Friend on upright
bass, and Ted Barnes on guitar, the tour's shows embraced a slimmed-down,
night of November 17th, it was made clear to a full-house of Madison
concert-goers just how well Orton's songs translate to sparse
arrangements. Rifling through a large selection of songs from
past and present, as well as quirky between-song banter, Orton's
set came off superbly. With the entire set lasting for nearly
two hours, her emotional renditions of songs inluding "Carmela"
(from Daybreaker), "Blood Red River (from Central
Reservation) and the audience-requested "Sugar Boy"
(from her debut Trailer Park), Orton made it overtly
clear the show would go on for as long as the audience would have
have to tell us when we start milking it, or we'll play all night,"
Orton quipped during the band's second encore.
And the foursome
continued to play on through the night, including a beautiful
solo rendition of "It's Not the Spotlight" (featured
on the Stir of Echoes soundtrack). It was as excellent
a show as anyone in the crowd could have hoped for, and Orton's
friendly demeanour spread throughout the audience, who rose to
give her a roaring standing ovation at night's end.