I think it is a total shame that most people only know Joan Osborne as a “one-hit wonder” for her song “One of Us”, especially considering her roots are in blues and soul music, and the vast majority of her music reflects those roots – not the pop sensibilities of her biggest single. She is a bad-ass vocal force, a powerful embodiment of expression, and a genuine, comfortable performer.
It is a shame that only 450 people got to witness last night’s event at the Egg, a show where Joan and her band took the audience from foot-stomping blues to tender, gentle, and often sexy love songs. On stage, she is joyful, confident, and communicative, both with her band and with the audience; she seems genuinely happy and grateful to be doing what she is doing.
While most of the set was made up of the cover tunes that make up her new album, Bring It On Home, she made each song her own. She took on Slim Harpo, Ike Turner, and Otis Redding songs as if she had been singing them all her life, and got the unfortunately older crowd on their feet several times (I say “unfortunately” not as a judgment, but more as a comment to the fact that I truly believe that if younger people were to have attended the show, they would have been equally blown away… As it was, at 35, I was possibly the youngest person in attendance). To me, however, the best part of the night was when she performed some of her own, as-yet unreleased songs (“This Is Where We Start” is the video I’ve included here).
Joan Osborne is one of my favorite performers in the world, and last night she demonstrated, yet again, why she is.