Everyone has that one album that got them through their first year of college.
For me, it was “Jagged Little Pill,” Alanis Morissette’s hit album from 1995. It's the pinnacle of angst as a young woman. It’s raw in capturing Morissette’s emotions.
It’s one of my favorite records of all time.
So, when the opportunity to see her perform “Jagged Little Pill” live fell into my lap, I had to take it.
Back in March, Morissette announced she would be extending her world tour as a celebration for the album’s 25th anniversary. Garbage, a popular rock band from the 90s, would tour with her. In my excitement, I noticed she would be performing on July 19 in Bethel Woods, New York, just three hours from my hometown.
I knew immediately I had to go.
I was quick to text my best friend, Grace, and plan a trip with her and both of our mothers. My mom has been a fan of Morissette’s since she was a teenager, so I surprised her and paid for her ticket.
We arrived at the location, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, around 6 p.m. It was a gorgeous outdoor venue and the site of the original 1969 Woodstock.
There didn’t appear to be many people in the crowd when Garbage opened. Lead singer Shirley Manson even strolled through the desolate seating area as the band performed “Stupid Girl.” It was the closest I’ve ever been to a celebrity and yes, I’m still processing it.
Garbage played an amazing set for about an hour as seating gradually began to fill, and my anticipation grew. I refused to even get water with my friend, as I just couldn’t miss the moment when Morissette appeared on stage.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the beginning chords of “All I Really Want” rang through the air, earning a loud reaction from the crowd. A montage that highlighted “Jagged Little Pill” and the impact it had was played for the audience before the band started up with “All I Really Want” again.
Then, out came Morissette.
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Playing the harmonica.
As soon as she began to sing, the adrenaline rushed through me. Her voice hadn’t aged at all; in fact, it sounded just like listening to the recording.
Flashing lights accompanied the three large screens onstage behind Morissette. Visuals of people protesting and hands throwing up peace signs played as Morissette sang of desperately wanting justice in her rocky relationship.
The silence that usually follows the lines “Why are you so petrified of silence? Here, can you handle this?” was filled by cheers from the now-enormous crowd.
Following “All I Really Want” was “Hand in My Pocket,” one of my favorite songs from “Jagged Little Pill.” Hearing it performed live will forever remain unmatched. And, of course, I can’t talk about this song without mentioning Morissette’s harmonica skills – they simply blew me away.
When Morissette performed “You Learn,” the entire crowd joined in singing the uplifting tune. While everyone in the audience was strangers, a strong sense of community and an overwhelming taste of marijuana filled the venue. I can’t smell, but that doesn’t spare my other senses.
For the endearing “Head Over Feet,” Morissette brought out her acoustic guitar. Again, she absolutely killed it on the harmonica for this one. The woman is truly a jack of all trades.
After playing a few more songs, Morissette sang “Wake Up,” which was accompanied by an epic electric guitar solo and some intense headbanging by the grunge-singer. I genuinely can’t express how much awe I was in at this point.
As soon as “Ironic” began, the crowd erupted into a frenzy. Everyone was singing along and was then caught off guard when Morissette sang, “It’s meeting the man of my dreams / And then meeting his beautiful husband,” as the song originally says “wife.” Still, this earned a massive applause from the audience.
Morissette closed the main show with her iconic hit “You Oughta Know.” Fans were dancing, jumping and throwing their hands in the air. I’m sure the sound of everyone’s voices could be heard from miles away.
I happened to look behind me and couldn’t believe how many people I saw around me. The only other place I have seen so many people is Disney World at Christmas time.
Morissette ran off the stage, and boy do I feel bad for the people who left; they were going to miss the encore.
“Thank you so much! Bless you. It’s so great to be here with you,” Morissette said over the thunderous applause that followed her reappearance. The lights dimmed, and the band began to play “Your House.”
The second to last song was “Uninvited,” in which Morissette spent nearly an entire minute headbanging, jumping around and twirling in the midst of flashing lights.
The crowd went wild. “Thank you for being here, this song is for you! Bless you!” Morissette exclaimed before the band began to play “Thank U.”
Behind Morissette, several tweets in which fans expressed what they were thankful for appeared onscreen. The audience clapped to the rhythm as Morissette sang. Many people were emotional, including my mother.
It made me indescribably happy to see her so happy. I’m so glad we were able to bond over the music she loved in her teenage years – the same music I now adore.
Attending this concert was truly a euphoric experience, and I am so grateful I was able to do it with some of my favorite people. It truly felt like a full circle moment, as I was listening to the album that got me through the previous year live.
If it wasn’t obvious enough, Alanis Morissette is one hell of an entertainer. If you want to see for yourself, I highly recommend buying tickets to see her in concert. You won’t regret it.
Rating: 10/10. I’d give this concert a 100 if I could.