Venue: Sound Board in Motor City Casino
City: Detroit, MI
Date: March 11, 2014
Review by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur
As the crowd filled in nearly every crevice of Motor City Casino's SoundBoard Theater, the anticipation rose as the 9:00 neared. As country tracks blasted through the venues sound system, the chatter was obvious, but not overpowering - that was reserved for the moment the lights dimmed and Jennifer Nettles and band took the stage. Jumping quickly into the lead single and title track from her debut solo album, "That Girl," Nettles took control and took the crowd on a cool ride through not only her career, but into some of her influences as well. The setlist held a few surprises but the greatest surprise of all was the inclusion of every track from the disc she released earlier this year (my review HERE). Running through the set, Sugarland - Jennifer's "other" project - was well represented and early with "Baby Girl." Later in the evening she included "All I Want To Do," "Something More," and "Stay." Each of these songs was slightly arranged slightly different than the original, but well suited to the rest of the set and the vibe of this show. Some of the tracks off the disc really adapt well for the stage, including "Know You Wanna Know," "Good Time To Cry," and the entertaining "Jealousy," which Nettles played up with motion and facial expressions. After playing several solo tracks, Jennifer demonstrated to the audience where some of her influence lay, when she pulled out to 1970's classics, Ambrosia's "Biggest Part Of Me" and a few lines of "Weekend In New England" from Barry Manilow, whom Nettles referred to as "The Man." The former was a fabulous cover that captured the spirit and groove of the original, while including her vocal stamp. The latter was followed up with her own composition which has an identical name to one of Manilow's tunes, "This One's For You." Throughout the show, the simple stage was highlighted by killer lighting the accentuated each song well. The band backing up Jennifer on this tour is more than capable and complimented her vocals, occasional guitar, and piano. Another great moment of the evening was the inclusion of "Demons," an Imagine Dragons cover, whom I was told by a few around me that this was better than the original - I disagree in that I really enjoy both, as Jennifer and band put their own spin on the track. Show opener Brandy Clark joined Nettles on stage for "His Hands" which is the special edition bonus track from That Girl. Jennifer perfectly captured the sentiment of the audience near the end of her set when she played "Thank You." The crowd tonight was as thankful she brought her show to this venue as she was to be playing for them. Closing with "Like A Rock" might normally be a gutsy move in Bob Seger's hometown, but Jennifer took this song, made it her own with a bluesy rendition that did the song justice and capped the show nicely. If this, or any subsequent tour of Nettles' hits your town, do yourself the favor and pick up tickets to see her - her energy is contagious and her performance entertaining - don't miss out!
Set list: That Girl - Moneyball - Baby Girl - Me Without You -Falling - Biggest Part Of Me - Weekend In New England - This One's For You - Jealousy - This Angel - All I Want to Do - Good Time to Cry - Demons - Something More - His Hands - Stay - Know You Wanna Know - Thank You - Like A Rock