After a rocky start, including an iffy opening band and half an hour of extensive sound set-up, the hip, young teen audience that mostly makes up her fan demographic were glad to see what they came for; a breathtaking performance delivered by Ingrid Michaelson. However, the indie pop singer also appeals to the over 21 crowd, and the upstairs balcony that caters to this group was as jam-packed as the floor level.
The Roseland Theatre, a decent, albeit slightly scruffy venue, could barely contain the raucous cheers as Michaelson took to the stage, but that was after the long hour and a half wait. My friend and I arrived right as the doors opened at 7 p.m. and we took a spot on the crowded floor level, which is a pretty great view.
The opening band, Harper Blynn, was both loud and mediocre. Their sound was so overdone I could’ve sworn I had heard them before. It wasn’t that they were bad necessarily, they were just spewing out the boring alternative sounds that we’ve all heard before, with uninspired lyrics and poseur guitar playing.
After Harper Blynn hopped off the stage, an extensive sound check with a background of Avril Lavigne songs ensued. At some point, a chant of “Ingrid, Ingrid!” started up in the crowd, but the sound guys paid no attention to the screaming fans.
And then, musicians finally took the stage. Not Michaelson herself, but her band took up their positions and began the introduction to a song from her new “Human Again” album, “Fire.” We were cheering, but it was not so much for her back-up musicians as for the star herself. I knew when the screams reached a deafening crescendo that Michaelson herself had taken the stage. While her musicians continued vamping, Michaelson said something in greeting into the microphone. What she said remains a mystery because of the deafening roar of appreciation from the audience.
The band went right into the song, and though the fierce tune was lively, the thundering drums and crashing guitar chords seemed to barrel right over Michaelson’s amazing voice, although you could tell she did her best to hold her own against the blasting background. However, one would think that the music should work with the singer to make her voice sound as good as possible, not be in a contest with it. “Fire” was a great song to start out with though, as the audience could immediately switch from tapping their feet and checking their watch to swaying back and forth and somewhat singing along with the catchy refrain.
Through the rest of the set, music was not the only entertainment Michaelson provided. She chatted with the crowd, cracking jokes and telling irrelevant yet hilarious stories as if she was hanging out with her best friends.
Michaelson admitted that because of a mean tweet about her last concert not having enough of her old songs (this news was met by violent boos from the audience), she was going to do a few more than usual. This was met with wild approval and the rest of the set was dotted with our old favorites, performed as beautifully as a fan could possibly imagine.
As the non-singing background musicians sat out for the acoustic portion of the set, we could fully appreciate Michaelson’s gorgeous voice, and also the talent of her background singers, Allie Moss and Bess Rogers. They performed one song in particular that captured the audience, and it was special because it was not a song they have ever officially recorded or put on an album. It was called “San Francisco” and the trio cast an utterly magical spell with their marvelous harmonies.
Almost everyone left the concert saying the same thing: “I wish I could be Ingrid’s best friend.” The energy and devotion she has in her music is infectious, spreading to her hip young fans like the “boho” trendy clothing you could see so much of throughout the audience. What is it about Michaelson that we love so much, besides her amazing voice and heart-warming song writing? In a way, she is each one of her fan’s sweet best friend.