Written and Photographed by: Julie Ann Shaw
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Norah Jones’ debut album, “Come Away With Me,” and three years since Jones’ last tour. The outdoor Greek Theater was a surprising venue to find Norah Jones, given that her alternative-pop jazz sound echoes beautifully in indoor venues. I was worried that the experience would be lost in the vastness of Griffith Park. Thankfully, I was worried for nothing as the giant forest-like park served as the perfect environment for such an intimate and soul-energizing evening.
Opening for Norah Jones was Puss n Boots, an alternative pop country band formed by Sasha Dobson and NorahJones as a way to experiment with different kinds of music than they usually do as solo artists, along with Catherine Popper. While introducing the band, Jones had to repeatedly assure the audience that she was, in fact, the Norah Jones that everyone had come to see. “No, really, I am Norah Jones.” Of course, she was as sweet as anyone could be about it. Before their last song, the group joked with each other and the audience that they hoped Norah Jones, as the main act, doesn’t get angry with them for running late and kick them off her tour. Puss n Boots was a special guest opener for this show, not the regular opener for the rest of Jones’ tour.
After a delightful opening act, Jones returned to the stage in a new outfit, as if she were a different person than the one who was just on stage with Puss n Boots making us smile. Jones opened with “Just A LittleBit” as she stood at the mic with her band behind her. Jones headed to her signature piano for her second song and serenaded us with “I’m Alive” and “What Am I To You?”
Throughout the evening, Jones moved from piano to keyboard, to guitar, and back to her piano. For some reason, if you were really paying attention, you could see her looking at one of the monitors displaying the slow with a slightly concerned look on her face every so often. It wasn’t until she stood behind her keyboard, where she could see the monitor with relative ease, that the look became obvious. After “Something Is Calling You,” Jones finally revealed that she thought wearing polka dots would be a good idea before the show, but would catch glances in the corner of her eye on the monitor would freak her out. Like, really freak her out. You could tell from her voice that she was serious but was trying to have a good sense of humor about it and laughed. The audience reassured her that she looked amazing and that they all loved her for her candor.
Jones continued her set with “Sunrise,” “To Live,” “Feeling The Same Way,” “Thinking About You,” “This Life,” “Little Broken Hearts,” “Rosie’s Lullaby,” “All A Dream,” “Humble Me,” and “It Was You.” The lights constantly changed from one color to another, always in soft, pastel colors. They mainly highlighted Jones, with her band remaining in the shadows for most of the set. Despite being in a somewhat large outdoor venue, the show’s entirety was designed to create an extraordinarily intimate and calming atmosphere. Everything about this show took away from the world, its problems, the darkness, and the challenges that await tomorrow and allowed me to experience absolute and true calm right down to my soul. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else existed. Norah Jones and her piano were the only things that existed in those two hours.
Just when I thought Jones couldn’t possibly make this evening any better for humanity, she played “Come Away With Me,” one of the most beautiful songs delivered by the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. “Happy Pills” followed, and then “Don’t Know Why,” which made me feel all the emotions all at once and forever. Of course, Jones couldn’t let us leave without an incredible encore. The first encore was the Danger Mouse song that one was featured on, “Black.” The night’s final piece was off the album “Come Away With Me,” “Nightingale.”