You don’t have to be flashy to shine

Several weeks ago, Andy and I had the pleasure of seeing Sara Bareilles in concert. I confess, I’m not always one for live performances, because I dislike sharing the experience with a crowded mass of drunken boors and flash-happy tweens. Fortunately, Sara’s fans were a calm, courteous lot, and so I was able to enjoy her tremendous vocal talent, along with her clever, heartfelt lyrics.

sara bareilles concert 001

To be honest, she didn’t “work the crowd” the same way I’ve seen Ed Sheeran or the Spice Girls do. But Sara engaged us by being a storyteller. She shared the inspiration behind her songs. She revealed personal triumphs, struggles, and future aspirations. She took us back to her roots with a special a capella performance. She even gave us a sneak peek of her work-in-progress.

(Did you know that she’s doing a musical adaptation of Waitress? OK, I know nothing about the movie besides what Sara told us, but her song “She Was Mine” was soooo good.)

sara bareilles concert 002

Moved by her artistry, I shed a few tears during the concert, and at the end of the night, I walked away with a feeling of warmth and genuineness. From Sara, and from her music. I was reminded that you don’t have to be flashy to shine. Find your passion and share it with the world. Focus on what you’re good at. Connect with others, heart to heart. That is so much more than enough.

Just for fun, here’s a brief clip of Sara singing one of my favorites, “Gravity”:

(And here’s the link for anyone who can’t see/play the embedded video.)

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14 Comments

  1. Well now I’m sorry I missed this concert. I love her music, but am not a fan of hearing music live. I like the cleaned-up/polished versions. I do, however, LOVE hearing the back story on what inspires writers or songwriters to come up with their material. I would have loved to hear that, and Gravity, which is also one of my favorites of hers.

    She’s writing a musical version of “Waitress?” I hope Keri Russell is in it. :)

    • Juliann-
      We’re in the minority together! I usually prefer studio versions too! But I have to say, with someone as supremely gifted as Sara Bareilles, live vocals and music are such a treat.

      I’ve never seen Waitress, but I love Keri Russell, so now I want to! Can she sing, haha?

  2. It sounds like a fantastic concert! I agree with you — flashy shows can be awesome, but sometimes they feel more like a production than a concert. The cozy/intimate quality you get from a toned-down show makes it so much more personal. Glad you had a great time!

    • Shari-
      With concerts, I feel like I want one of the two extremes: EITHER a stripped-down intimate experience with the music and vocals as king, OR a mega-show that’s all about feeling entertained. Like acoustic Ed Sheeran versus Spice Girls reunion tour, you know?

      That said, I can deal with the stuff in the middle — and even enjoy it, just depending on the venue and crowd.

  3. As I write this, I’m watching Lorde on another screen. Just her, a keyboard player, a drummer (both doing pretty simple stuff), and all those Lordes singing backup on tape. Terrific.

    It applies to movies, too. I like a big 3D special-effects sci-fi zombie wirework movie as well as anybody (well, more than some people :-) ), but a few days before Lauren Bacall died I happened to watch To Have and Have Not (not that big a coincidence — it’s definitely in my all-time Top Ten). After she died, I rewatched The Big Sleep, too.

    Both were directed by Howard Hawks. Even for the time he was not a flashy director — no odd camera angles or artsy lighting. Just a smart script, endlessly quotable dialogue, good (or great) actors, and no nonsense. That’s a pretty good formula, then and now.

    • Anthony-
      Oohh, I bet Lorde is great in a minimalist concert setting.

      And yes, so true that this applies beyond music and writing. I love seeing some of the blockbuster actors do offbeat character work — like, say, Bruce Willis in Die Hard vs. in Sixth Sense. Or Angelina Jolie in Salt vs. in A Mighty Heart.

  4. I’ve never seen (or wanted to see) any of the Die Hard movies, but I’ve enjoyed Bruce Willis in quite a few pictures, from the zaniness of The Fifth Element to his heartbreakingly low-key performance in Moonrise Kingdom.

    • Yes! The Fifth Element is one of my favorite movies actually. And he was great in Moonrise Kingdom (even if I thought the film overall was a bit overhyped and overdone).

  5. yogadog

    I loved Moonrise Kingdom. It was the only movie I’ve ever seen that made me realize how desperately I wanted a bullhorn.

    I’m not big on the flashy over-the-top live concerns. I much prefer the stripped down shows. The best concert I attended was at an outdoor theater here in Northern California that was having trouble with spontaneous combustion from underground methane pockets. For that reason, it was keeping electrical stuff to a minimum. I saw Tom Petty, with nothing but an acoustical guitar, get the entire audience on its feet singing “Twist and Shout.” Happy memories.

    • yogadog-
      (Btw, I never know whether to refer to you by your username or your real name…!)

      That sounds like such an awesome concert! And what a funny backstory to it. :)

      LOL you + bullhorn = perfect.

  6. I resisted seeing The Fifth Element for a while, because I didn’t get that it was funny. Once I figured that out, I was right there.

    I confess that I didn’t think Moonrise KIngdom was over-anything (and I’m not a big Wes Anderson enthusiast in general). Maybe it’s partly because I was about that age, at that time, in a very similar place. The movie is not even remotely realistic, but it does capture some things. Anyway, I wrote about it on my blog: http://u-town.com/collins/?tag=moonrise-kingdom

    • Anthony-
      Oh, Moonrise Kingdom definitely captures some things. Some great things. I just knew SO many people who said it was basically the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I hate hype. It always ruins things for me.

  7. Ah, the Spice Girls reunion tour!! That will always rank right up there with my favorite concerts ever. I wish they’d do another one!!

    • Shari-
      I know, right?! I can’t imagine any age at which I wouldn’t be willing to go see them again.

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