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Alone is just as alive and
intoxicating as a full rock show

Melssia Etheridge
The Venue At Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, IN
June 18, 2009
Melssia Etheridge

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Publicity photo

Seeing Melissa Etheridge "Live and Alone" is a completely different experience than catching her with a full backing band, but no matter what the setting, she's truly dynamic. Part of that versatility stems from an ability to hold the audience in the palm of her hand to the point where they'll listen intently to every spoken word observation and sing along loudly even the most obscure album cuts. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the singer/songwriter is a trailblazer for all women in rock capable of extreme intensity on electric guitar, the utmost pensiveness in unplugged environments and plenty of proficiency on piano.

It's not all that often that artists play for two hours and fifteen minutes these days, especially when it's just them and the aforementioned instruments. But that's exactly why The Venue at Horseshoe Casino was packed to the brim, also re-confirming its place as one of Chicagoland's most acoustically inviting rooms as she switched places. Not only was the mix on cue with the utmost precision, but it seemed tailor-made for both Etheridge's aggressive anthems and soft spoken reflections.

After opening with "Lucky," the civil rights and environmental advocate unfurled messages of self-assurance and survival at full steam, from the potent pair "Message To Myself" and "Nowhere To Go," to the gripping "I Need To Wake Up" (as seen in Al Gore's famed flick "An Inconvenient Truth"). Sure, there were plenty of topics she could've discussed (social issues, sexuality, battling breast cancer), but Etheridge let the music do all the talking.

"Come To My Window" and "I Want To Come Over" were lusty calls for love, the brand new "Indiana" spoke of a small town girl conquering her dreams, while a rough necked treatment of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" certainly spoke for anyone struggling with current societal boundaries of any subject matter. Yet the most moving moment was hands down "Run For Life," which found at least half the audience rushing towards the stage in unison to signal either hopes of conquering or curing cancer.

But there was still plenty of partying to be done, including a blistering version of "Bring Me Some Water" and the shout-a-long "I'm the Only One." Ironically, Etheridge closed the two dozen tune engagement with a cover from her main career muse: the iconic Janis Joplin via the timeless "Piece of My Heart." With just her six string and a sea of voices behind her, she tore up The Venue and literally transformed it into time portal to the psychedelic era. By her final strums and vocal improvisations outside of the classic track's unforgettable framework, it was apparent Etheridge is just as important as a prominent activist as she is a groundbreaking artist.

For an upcoming concert schedule at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, visit and stay tuned to this very site to win tickets to select shows. Before a show, may we also recommend the superb, multi-course Village Square Buffet, covering a variety of authentic Asian, Italian, Latin and American cuisines overlooking the scenic lakefront.

Related articles:

Melissa Etheridge - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2002

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