catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 1, Num 6 :: 2002.11.22 — 2002.12.05


Mann at the Riv

Aimee Mann played at the historic Rivera Theater in uptown Chicago on Saturday November 9th. The theater, with its gold and purple decor, arched windows and ornamented design, was an ideal place to see this brilliant singer/songwriter.

The show started with a tripped out score coinciding with alternate fading in and out of stage lights. The lights rotated in a nice rainbow pattern. This opening was very similar to how P. T. Anderson filmed the opening credits to his new movie Punch Drunk Love. Mann did work with Anderson on the soundtrack to his film Magnolia, so this beginning could have been more than coincidence.

Mann emerged from backstage with her band composed of four guys. Except for the drummer, everyone was wearing suits, including Mann who wore a blue suit with white pinstripes, a white button-down shirt, a gray vest and a striped tie. They opened the show with a song titled "The Moth," off of her new album Lost In Space. The song compares a moth and its attraction to a flame, to our attraction to the opposite sex. Sometimes the moth gets burned by the flame, but the moth is still in the game. After she played a few of her older songs, she told the audience that she had a new album out, and sarcastically said, "It's my most cheerful ever."

Her eighth and ninth songs were "Wise Up" and "Save Me" from the Magnolia soundtrack. When the keyboard player, who looked strikingly like the keyboard player in Spinal Tap, started playing "Wise Up," the fans responded with applause.

Songs eleven and twelve were "This Is How It Goes" and "Pavlov's Bell" off of her new album. She wasn't even sure if "This Is How It Goes" would sound good, since they didn't know it too well, but it sounded wonderful, and "Pavlov's Bell" was an electrifying ball of energy. The next song, the last of the first set, was one of her older ones called "Long Shot" off the album I'm With Stupid, which ended with a great guitar battle between the lead guitar player and herself.

The first encore consisted of two older songs, "4th of July" of off the album Whatever and "Red Vines" from Bachelor No. 2. The second encore started off with a new song called "Invisible Ink," for which the band took multiple tries to get going. Before the song started, she knew it would be a struggle, and said, "There is one time in every show that I take a chance to make myself look like a jackass."

She followed that up with the last song on her new album "It's Not." She told the audience that her lead guitar player thought this was the most depressing song she had ever written. In response she said, "It's always good to know that as depressing as I am, I can go one step too far."

The show ended with another song off the Magnolia soundtrack called "Deathly." When the song was winding down, the audience gave her a standing ovation. She played a total of 19 songs, 20 if you count a one minute amusing attempt at "Freebird."

Aimee Mann is one of the best singers and songwriters of our generation. Her lyrics are smart and thoughtful. She and her band are incredibly talented musically and the show was constantly entertaining. She interacted brilliantly with the fans on several occasions, showed a pure joy at being on the stage, and she seemed truly thankful for our applause and gratitude.

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