SameDiff BNL

Speechless Morissette Gets Help From Friends At Hoedown

By JOAN ANDERMAN, The Boston Globe, December 4th, 2001.

Question: How do you transform a run-of-the-mill radio station holiday concert into a fabulously lively event, at least for 15 minutes?

Answer: Arrange for the fates to plague a pop star with severe laryngitis and hope that instead of canceling she invites other people to sing her songs. For extra excitement, make it the first time her band has ever performed together live. Leave it to Alanis Morissette, she of the expanded mind and nasty cold, to pull out a four-song set without the benefit of herself. It's a good thing Barenaked Ladies have been doing an Alanis sendup in their shows for years. Apologizing afterward to "the lord of tuning and timing," Ed Robertson, Steven Page, and Jim Creegan sang vivacious three-part harmonies on "You Learn," pogoing madly while Alanis whirled her hair sidestage. Page then loosed a vaguely Middle Eastern/ faux-operatic version of "Uninvited."

As if things couldn't get any weirder, Morissette next handed out lyric sheets and hugs to whomever wanted to come up and sing "Thank U" and "You Oughta Know." Four girls did a frankly tremendous job of shrieking this anthem for the dumped, especially Lauren Giordino of Boston, who confessed during intermission that she had performed this very song once at karaoke. "This is something you can't even dream of," said a shaking, sweat-drenched Giordino, 21.

Due to deadlines, I caught only the first 15 minutes of BNL's set. Though brief, those opening moments — which included the songs "The Old Apartment" and "Pinch Me" plus one of the group's "spontaneous" raps, which last night name-checked Boston, Kinko's, baking, and several dozen other off-the-wall references — were proof that these guys are still managing to enjoy themselves, thanks to an bottomless supply of goony cleverness, good nature, and fun loving pop tunes.