On Second Thought: Alanis Morissette – Live at Montreux (2013)

In 1995, she was trudging herself across a desert and screaming out an angst-ridden tune that was possibly about the dude from “Full House.” My teenaged-self went into overdrive at this Alanis Morissette, formerly never too hot but never too cold and now pissed as hell over Joey Gladstone.

Through the years, Morissette and my teenaged-self would transition again and again in ironic and not-so-ironic ways but that vision of the desert and “going down” on someone in a theater would always, always rattle around.
With Live at Montreux 2012 on Blu-ray, those angst-ridden feelings boil right back to the surface and Morissette is once more traipsing through and sending me into overdrive.

This vision is more mature but no less dangerous, pacing wildly and spewing seeming uncontrollable verses on stage at the Auditorium Stravinski in Montreux. Now Morissette has 60 million albums sold and seven Grammys to go with the one hand in her pocket, an Ottawa girl done good.

The Blu-ray charts the land between Jagged Little Pill and 2012’s Havoc and Bright Lights with exuberance. Morissette’s voice is greeted with a small but impressive roar from a moderately excited crowd whenever she ventures into the hits, like “You Learn” or “You Oughta Know.” She legitimately appreciates every moment on stage as a gift, beaming and often engaging with the audience.

Whether she straps on a guitar after ensuring the audience is having fun at the festival or veering fluidly into her upper registry before leading the crowd through a subdued but no less warm sing-along to “Ironic,” there are many moments where modern cynicism seems to dissipate in favor of what seems to be a more organic sense of torment and yearning. Things have changed — Morissette tosses in an updated line to the aforementioned “Ironic” about meeting the man of her dreams and then “meeting his beautiful husband” — but in many respects this is a natural progression for the artist who would ultimately even craft songs for film soundtracks (“Uninvited” and “I Remain”).

Live at Montreux 2012 finds Morissette and her impressive band going through 20 songs over the stretch of about 98 minutes. Some may quibble at her inclusion at what is ostensibly a jazz festival, but she cartwheels head over feet into the concert and never looks back. And when she closes with “Thank U,” it’s clear that few in the crowd care about trifles like genre lines.

The Blu-ray presentation is good, with lots of detail present in every image and clear color presentation giving a quality indication of the humble staging and largely blue lighting. The audio is presented in either LPCM Stereo or DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Both channels seem to do the trick to draw out the various flavors of the band, but the 5.1 obviously offers a more comprehensive audio journey.

There are unfortunately no bonus features on Live at Montreux 2012.

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Jordan Richardson

Jordan Richardson is a Canadian freelance writer and ne'er-do-well. He also contributes to his own Canadian Cinephile and Canadian Audiophile websites. Contact Something Else! Reviews at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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