Alanis Morissette (12)
Alanis Morisette performs at the Palais on 22 January. Picture: Chris Dynia

Review: Alanis Morissette at Palais Theatre, Melbourne, 23 January 2018

A long time coming.

Alanis Morissette’s Australian tour has been billed as ‘intimate and acoustic’, but promoters should probably have called it ‘Alanis Morissette with a 3,000-strong choir’.

It’s been 19 years since the Canadian star graced Australian stages on her Junkie tour and the crowd at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre didn’t hold back, singing at the top of their lungs on nearly every song.

The 43-year-old delivered a short and sharp set, with a heavy lean towards her 1995 breakout album Jagged Little Pill.

Morissette performed no less than eight tracks from the best-selling record, which – at the age of just 21 – cemented her as one of the most influential alternative rock artists of the 1990s.

One way to tell if you’re listening to quality music is to strip it right back and see if it still works. Tonight, Jagged Little Pill was stripped to bare bones, carried by two acoustic guitars and Morissette’s masterful vocals.

No surprises here – the songs bloody work.

Morissette was sure to include album’s biggest hits including ‘Ironic’, ‘You Learn’, ‘Hand In My Pocket’ and ‘You Oughta Know’.

The latter, of course, landed her with the less-than-accurate but persistent label of ‘scorned woman writes angry rock songs’ – but tonight’s performance of the break-up anthem was decidedly joyous.

Morissette’s impressive pipes had their finest moment during ‘Mary Jane’, with barely time for a breath between her lengthy trademark wails.

Punters whose fandom extended beyond the Jagged Little Pill era were treated to a smattering of other material including ‘Heart of the House’ and ‘Thank U’ from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998) and ‘Hands Clean’ from 2002’s Under Rug Swept.

It was a good time, not a long time, with Morissette wrapping up the evening just an hour and a quarter in. But for fans who waited two decades for this moment, it was 75 minutes of bliss.

Morissette has made a career out of not doing what others think she should do, resulting in songs that are lyrically unique and vocally unparalleled. Seeing them performed live was something special.

With talk of a new album in the works, hopefully it won’t be another 20 years before we do it all again.

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