A few thoughts about Brandi Carlile’s sold-out performance Sunday at the Varsity Theater:
• She remembered playing at the Varsity in 2006 and mentioned her Twin Cities debut at the 400 Bar, which officially closed last week (though she probably hadn’t heard the news).
• Carlile really likes us. She gushed about Minneapolis and St. Paul several times and said she had to make “ Minne” the final stop on her New Year’s Eve tour, which included Portland, Ore., and Seattle.
• Phil and Tim Hanseroth, her longtime sidemen, no longer look like identical. Tim still has a shaved head under his fedora but Phil was sporting black hair under his fedora.
• Carlille added a few covers that were not heard at her 2012 tour opener at the Minnesota Zoo. She did a backwoodsian Irish reading of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and a Prince-like version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” (without any mention of the local connection, he wrote the song for the Family but Sinead O'Connor made it famous). As an extra encore in the 105-minute set, Carlile and company offered Johnny Cash’s always rollicking “Folsom Prison Blues.”
• She explained that after performing just before Christmas at a women’s prison in her native Washington state, “That Wasn’t Me” has taken on new meaning to her.
• The woman sitting next to me was nine months pregnant. She’d also been to the Vikings-Packers game earlier. She said the baby – a boy – preferred the concert.
• As they exited at the end of the night, all 900 concertgoers were offered commemorative posters with the date and venue printed on it.
• Here’s hoping Carlile does something extra special at Monday’s New Year’s Eve show at the Varsity. Suggestion: How ‘bout a mashup of “Auld Lang Syne” with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”? Just wishing.