Melissa Etheridge took the stage Tuesday night at the Louisville Palace along 4th Street completing her final show pushing the release of her 12th studio album, 4th Street Feeling. Decked in black boots and a shiny guitar strap, she sneaks onto the lava lamp littered garage of a stage and comes out with a bang, cranking into the new tune “Shout Now” complete with a harmonica and a filthy, gritty shuffle. “Are you ready?” she asks the crowd to loud applause before strapping on a 12-string banjitar, a guitar-banjo hybrid, and grooving into “Falling Up,” an upbeat fun, folky rock song. As most seasoned artists do, she sprinkles her hits throughout her set list, and eventually moves into “I Wanna Come Over,” a crowd favorite vocally in which she strips down into an acapella glimpse of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.”
“When I was younger I had a 1964 blue Chevy Impala and I miss putting in those 8 tracks and cruising around 4th Street back home,” she told the crowd while discussing the new songs. 4th Street Feeling is based around her journey back to Leavenworth, Kansas where she grew up and it’s not the same Impala but the famed car is featured on the new album cover. “Even more so, I miss not only the car but the back seat that car had, “ she said with a grin while flowing into the tune “You Can Sleep While I Drive,” a song she wrote which was later covered by country music artist Trisha Yearwood. Etheridge continues to do what she loves to do and a highlighted moment came when she swore to Louisville fans that she would never retire after discussing an interview she did earlier in the day at 91.9 WFPK. “People are using words now like legendary and retire in interviews,” she laughed. Nonetheless she can still hit the high notes and she continues to do it with ease in front of her trippy, psychedelic 70’s stage set.
Overall, the concert was great. Etheridge’s new songs are throwbacks to the music she loved growing up. You can hear sprinkles of Motown and blues-soul flavors hidden within the songs, meanwhile she sings her heart out on stage and it is obvious that she has a blast doing so. She’s in better shape now than ever due to healthy living after fighting off cancer. “I’m now cancer free,” she tells the crowd while encouraging attending cancer survivors to raise their hands from their seats. The last stop of her 4th Street Feeling tour went out with a bang, and included screaming guitars, drum solos, and a personally autographed copy of her cd which she handed down to super fan Angie Eberhardt. What does Melissa have planned since this is the end of her latest tour? She plans to go back home and enjoy the holidays with her family and something tells me that we haven’t heard the last of her yet.
photo courtesy Brandie Story