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Volume 33
Issue 32

 
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The talent and lasting power that Aimee Mann has created for herself over the last 20 years cannot be denied
The talent and lasting power that Aimee Mann has created for herself over the last 20 years cannot be denied
by Richard Kennedy - SGN A&E Writer

Aimee Mann

@ The Pier, August 6


Aimee Mann's newest album, The Forgotten Arm, is a brilliantly written concept album that follows the journey of a boxer with a drug-problem, and his small-town girlfriend through the life of their relationship. The songs from this album were showcased last Saturday at The Pier. Mann, clad in faded blue jeans and a yellow tank top (success has never gone to her head), narrated the story at the beginning of her show with the first three songs. "So they pack up their troubles in an old Cadillac&so wake me up at the border, when we get to Mexico, I'll tell you a secret, I don't even know," she begins the sad story with.

Near the middle Mann played a small block of songs from her back catalog. "Wise Up" and "Driving Sideways" are quintessential Mann songs, filled with melancholy lyrics and simple, quiet arrangements to showcase them. "Prepare a list of what you need - Before you sign away the deed - Because it's not going to stop, 'till you wise up."

I had last seen Mann perform at the Zoo, and it was excellent to see her in a less "family-oriented" venue. Instead of children running around, the audience was very energetic, and standing to the sides of the seated area. Almost halfway through the show they gave in and walked en-masse to the front of the stage. I'm sure the people in the front row found this a little frustrating, but it brought the energy up ten-fold. In fact, even Mann looked surprised and pleased at the excitement to get closer to the stage. Much to her biggest fans surprise she performed her cover of the Harry Nilsson classic, "One," that night. It's very rare that she does this song anymore so it was a great treat for us to hear it.

Eventually Mann came back to the narrative she had begun the show with. By the end of the relationship the couple had split, realizing that what they got themselves into wasn't what they envisioned at the beginning of their love affair. "I Can't Help You Anymore" closed the show with Mann at the keyboards. Her lyrics offer what many of us have felt when our heart breaks, "Cause baby look what I've done, the ruins just go on and on, I've got to let it go now or it will drag me under."

As usual Mann offered up a generous amount of encore songs, even taking requests from her "more than willing to offer" audience. "Sugarcoated" from her mid-90's I'm With Stupid was of course in the mix with its guitar heavy chorus, "Now I have given you rope, you should be hanging for days, but you keep spinning it out." "Deathly" was, for me, the song I waited for. "Now that I've met you, Would you object to, Never seeing each other again? 'Cause I Can't afford to, Climb aboard you, No one's got that much ego to spend." Her lyrics can beautifully represent not only the sadness we feel in human relationships, but also the guilt that comes from self-sabotage, something that very few lyricists can do so eloquently. I still think most of her fans would agree with me that to see her in a more intimate club setting, or at the very least in a theatre would be preferable. She did offer up a great summer show though, bringing the sometimes-stuffy Pier crowd to its feet. The talent and lasting power that Mann has created for herself over the last 20 years in the music business cannot be denied. She will always be welcomed back to Seattle with open arms.
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