Review and photo by Patrick Dunn
It was a historic night for music in the Twin Cities as Live Nation opened the latest addition to their growing chain of Fillmore Theaters in downtown Minneapolis. The privilege of being the first headlining act to perform to a capacity crowd on this distinguished stage was awarded to Brandi Carlile, a fantastic choice considering her connection to this area over the years. She said the venue just “felt right” and performing in it reminded her of when she used to play small shows here 20 years ago to some of the same people she recognized throughout the audience.
For the first of 3 sold-out shows (1,850 capacity), Carlile chose to deliver her gift in the most personal and vulnerable fashion, an acoustic trio show with writing partners and longtime bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth “the twins”. This format fully delivered on providing a heightened feel to this occasion as Carlile embraced the platform and shared a bunch of stories that typically wouldn’t come out in a full band show. She also chose to scrap the canned set list and perform material from her first album to current including a selection from her involvement with supergroup “The Highwomen” plus one from recent producing gig for country music legend Tanya Tucker. Some of the evenings most engaging songs included “The Eye”, “Raise Hell”, “Wherever Is Your Heart” and “The Joke”.
The Fillmore itself lives up to the hype and will be an incredible place to see first rate performers in a more intimate setting. The stage itself is big and should accommodate large production touring bands. Everything is new including state of the art lighting and a fantastic sound system. Also, having an in-house restaurant (Trax Burgers and Bar), adjoining hotel and Caribou Coffee all located right off a light rail stop should make this a destination local and visiting music fans’ will look forward to experiencing.