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Thursday
Nov192015

Review: Melissa Etheridge Rocks Campbell Hall

Melissa EtheridgeMelissa EtheridgeUCSB Arts & Lectures brought Grammy-winning musician Melissa Etheridge to campus on Sunday, Nov. 15, for her "This is M.E. Solo" tour. 

Etheridge made a dramatic entrance to Campbell Hall, strumming riffs behind the scenes on her acoustic guitar and then walking out on stage, which was colorfully decorated with eight of her unique guitars, each with its own personal stand and lava lamp. The audience loved it.

Etheridge's signature powerful vocals and confident 12-string guitar work carried her through selections of her hits and personal favorites. She also employed her looping skills before each song, quickly creating a complex rhythm using a djembe, tambourine, and cajon.

During a few songs, she would also loop the acoustic guitar, playing long electric guitar solos over her background riffs, displaying impressive chops! She even played a harmonica and grand piano on a few numbers. 

Etheridge said she hadn't performed in Santa Barbara since 1989, when she did a gig at the Santa Barbara Bowl, but she loves the town (she got married here), and visits often.

The audience enjoyed her between-song banter. She shared life reflections, including how she made many "mistakes" in her 20s and early 30s, which she now prefers to call "lessons."

Etheridge won over the audience more with two decisions unusual for well-known performers. She waved away the ushers, letting people dance in the aisles to her upbeat hits. She also allowed cell phones during the show, so many audience members were snapping frequent photos and video.

At the end of the show, she made sure to take a "melfie" (Melissa Etheridge selfie) with the audience, which she posted on her Twitter account for Nov. 16.

Another excellent show from Arts & Lectures!

For more great Arts & Lectures performances, check out its Events page.

Pink Martini will be at Campbell Hall on Dec. 3 and Itzhak Perlman & Emanuel Ax at the Granada Theatre on Jan 21. 

Melissa Rapp, Guest Reviewer, contributed to this article.

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