Aimee Mann at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Thursday 31st of January 2013
Aimee Mann is someone very comfortable on stage. It’s clear that the 30 years she has spent there has turned her into a master of the art. The first evidence of this can be seen when, half way through support Ted Leo’s set, she enters to play a few songs with him. The dynamic between the two is quality and it adds somewhat to Leo’s middle-of-the-road rock set.
Unsurprisingly, it is when she comes out for her headline slot that Mann really comes into her own. Opening the last show of her tour with ‘Disappeared’ – a song that talks poignantly of an “Irish goodbye” – she plays with a smile on her face and a gentle sway to her songs. Her distinctive voice is in good form too and doesn’t tell of a few weeks on the road.
Her speaking voice does, however, and her expletive laden opening interaction with the fairly full Bord Gais Energy crowd is in a slightly deeper, more gravelled tone than you’d expect. “Did you bring your children?” she asks. “I hope not. I plan to curse… a lot.” She also encourages the audience to shout up requests. Effortlessly making the audience comfortable in the room with her charm and her anecdotes – including brainstorming musical ideas with Aaron Sorkin – before her songs even come into it.
And she certainly knows how to construct a set list. When the opening salvo seems to be growing somewhat generic – everyone a nice, mid-paced folk rock song – she changes the direction of the night. The duo of Oscar nominated ‘Save Me’ – “I don’t resent Phil Collins (Oscar winner the year of her nomination),” She says with a smile on her face – and ‘Wise Up’, played without the support of her band, slows the show down and brings some genuine emotion to the show. Later, again just when it’s needed, she plays her most rocking song of the night in ‘Soon Enough’.
Finishing before the encore with ‘It’s Not Safe’, Mann takes the time to introduce the band and thank all those in attendance. It re-emphasises the charm she has exuded all night, making it the venue a lovely place to be for the evening. When the band return, they come back with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Honesty is No Excuse’ with Ted Leo band to assist on vocals. Mann then embraces some of the suggestions from the crowd and plays ‘Red Vines’, ‘Today’s the Day’ and ‘Freeway’ at the request of audience members before ‘Deathly’ ends the show.
It’s been endearing, charming and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Hopefully Mann won’t leave it another five years before she comes back to Dublin.
Aimee Mann Photo Gallery
Photos: Yan Bourke