CD Review: Alanis Morissette - Live At Montreux 2012

The Canadian star's fourth appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival is the basis of this new live set.
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Alanis Morissette was once considered the Canadian Debbie Gibson. She released two dance pop albums in her native Canada before undergoing a radical career makeover. 1995's Jagged Little Pill was the result of those efforts and it struck an emotional chord, especially with female listeners, selling over 30 million albums worldwide and making Morissette a bona fide superstar. A four-time guest of the Montreux Jazz Festival, her 2012 appearance in support of Havoc And Bright Lights was recorded and makes up the new live album, Alanis Morissette - Live At Montreux 2012.

The show opens with "I Remain," a moody track from the Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time soundtrack. Keyboards drone with Middle Eastern overtones as Morissette delivers a dramatic vocal. That vibe continues into "Woman Down," from Havoc And Bright Lights. Distorted keyboards courtesy of Michael Farrell play out over this somewhat dance-infused track.

Not surprisingly, six of the CD's 15 cuts are from Jagged Little Pill, the first of which is "You Learn." Morissette's vocals are playful over this laid back track and Farrell's organ punctuates the track. All of the tracks from Jagged Little Pill take on a more organic, rock feel in this show than their studio counterparts. For instance, "Head Over Feet is more up-tempo and rock oriented while "You Oughta Know" has a wah-infused guitar intro.

While Morissette may have gotten famous for her "angry woman" songs, "Guardian" from her newest release is a jangly pop anthem showing she is not all piss and vinegar. The crowd is into the performance throughout the show and it is mixed so you can hear them. This is especially evident on "Ironic," as they take the vocals for the entire first verse.

After an acoustic and reworked "Hand In My Pocket," the shows closes, appropriately, with "Thank U," from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. Morissette sounds as if she was having fun throughout and the crowd returned the favor.

After more than two decades in music and nearly as long as an international star, Morissette shows herself to be an artist still willing to take chances and stretch out her music, especially in a live setting. Fans of Morissette will not be disappointed by Alanis Morissette - Live At Montreux 2012.