By Rami Abou-Sabe
“We’re gonna let this one fly,” Vanessa Carlton announced as the delicate riff to her 2002 smash hit soared over The Sinclair. The diverse crowd gasped as Carlton delivered a stirring rendition of “A Thousand Miles” to open her Monday night (Mar. 6) show.
Reaching down to grab a long-stemmed glass of red from beside her keyboard, Carlton coyly revealed to the crowd “I had a bit backstage too.” The 36 year old singer has come a long way from Be Not Nobody and Harmonium, but her sweet brand of piano-driven angst is unchanged.
Bathed in blues and purples, the songstress treated adoring fans to a nearly two hour performance full of personal anecdotes and fuzzy nostalgia. Pulling from her storied 15 year career, Carlton leaned heavily on early-aughts classics and intimate story telling to draw the crowd in.
Since breaking from her major label the singer has spread her wings, revealing she felt “trapped in the machine” earlier in her career. Carlton opened up about her experimentation with psychedelics and how it has changed her music, both sonically and lyrically.
The piano player has embraced layered production techniques, and utilizes electronic looping on stage to flesh out the sound.
The highlight of the night, “White Houses, took on a special meaning at the Cambridge performance. “Jenny’s here tonight!” Carlton announced excitedly as she paused the song mid-performance to reference the second verse (Jenny screams out and it’s no pose / Cause when she dances she goes and goes).
The crowd roared with appreciation as a smile took over Carlton’s face.