Jenny Lewis and her band kept us On the Line for a two-hour show Friday evening and the audience undoubtedly seemed to agree that the show was off the hook.
As the third stop on her tour that began March 22, Lewis stopped by the Palace Theatre to put on a performance that mainly centered on her new album, but also provided the audience with music spanning her entire career.
Her fourth full-length album, On the Line, which was just released on March 22, has already garnered an impressive reaction from fans near and far. The album chronicles some of Lewis’s deepest emotions related to significant relationships in her life. For the album, Lewis collaborated with artists including Beck, Ringo Starr, Benmont Tench (the Heartbreakers), Don Was, Jim Keltner, and Jason Faulkner.
Fans waited outside well before the doors of the Palace opened, eager to get inside and snag a spot close to the stage action.
“I love the album, the tarot album art, and the commercials that she put out about it,” said fan Aaron Lane while waiting in line. “It made me more excited for the show. Jenny Lewis has a cool persona and I’m excited to see her bring that vibe.”
When the show began, and Lewis and her band stepped on stage, the glimmer of Lewis’s rose-gold dress could be seen emanating through the darkness as she approached her piano. Lewis performed against a backdrop of ’70s styled curtains and matching decor, which included two rotary style phones that also sat on the stage.
She began her set with “Heads Will Roll,” a song from her new album. Her seven-piece band, which included a cello and a fiddle, backed Lewis as she opened the night with flare and fervor. The fans immediately erupted with excitement as Lewis sang a verse from this song, as it included a Minnesota reference.
“Took a little trip up north
In a borrowed convertible red Porsche
With a narcoleptic poet from Duluth”
Lewis continued her fifteen song set with “Wasted Youth,” “Party Clown,” and “Head Under Water'” and transitioned between songs with little conversation.
At one point, one of the phones on stage started ringing and Lewis walked over and answered it.
“Hello? Well, hi,” Lewis said. “What’s up, St. Paul? How are you guys doing? Thanks for coming.”
Lewis performed crowd favorites from her previous albums The Voyager and Acid Tongue and took the time to revisit several Rilo Kiley songs as well as music she previously collaborated on with the Watson Twins.
Much of the music provoked the crowd to sing and sway along. Lewis kept the crowd engaged song after song with her mellow, funky, country-esque and sometimes gospel notes.
During “Born Secular,” Lewis eventually left the stage in order to showcase the talent of her band. As she left, the song ended with a powerful guitar solo.
Towards the end of the bass heavy “Little White Dove,” the crowd was surprised with a balloon drop consisting of gigantic sized blue and pink balloons. The balloons provided the crowd a way to interact until every last balloon either popped, or ended up on stage.
Before her last song, “With Arms Outstretched,” Lewis asked fans, “I’d like to have a little experiment here. Let’s turn off all of the stage lights. The flashlights on your phones — if you have them, can you shine them on my dress?”
Lewis proceeded to perform in the darkness, only lit by the phones of her fans and accompanied by a single guitar. The crowd enjoyed the spectacle and kept their arms outstretched for the entirety of the song.
Lewis and her band left the stage to passionate cheering and applause for an encore, which Lewis and her band provided after their 15-song set.
The three-song encore ended with an upbeat “See Fernando,” which had the crowd dancing, singing and clapping in unison. At the end of the encore, Lewis and her band gathered together and bowed to the gratified crowd.
Fans left the show pleased. “I liked the mood. It was very reflective,” said fan Erin Shadwick. “I found myself singing to every song. She went deep and the crowd was really into it. The whole concert felt so mellow and she brought all of her old songs down to that level. It was cohesive and artistic.”
Serengeti, a Chicago-based hip hop artist, opened the night with a seven-song set that enabled the crowd to get moving to his profound grooves and beats. The audience was provided with powerful storytelling lyrics that set the stage for Lewis’s show.
The On the Line tour continues for the next eight months throughout the U.S. One thing is for sure- Minnesotans are some of the first to say they heard the magic of Jenny Lewis during a night of emotional catharsis and listening to Lewis’s journey of reconciling her past.
- Heads Gonna Roll
- Wasted Youth
- Party Clown
- Head Underwater
- Silver Lining (Rilo Kiley song)
- Happy (Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins cover)
- The Voyager
- Born Secular (Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins cover)
- Little White Dove
- She’s Not Me
- Red Bull & Hennessy
- Just One of the Guys
- On the Line
- Rabbit Hole
- With Arms Outstretched (Rilo Kiley song)
- Portions for Foxes (Rilo Kiley song)
- See Fernando
Marla Khan-Schwartz is a writer who is mostly inspired by dessert, deep conversation and a bold glass of red wine.